Contemporary gospel artist Kyle Marshall has left his fears and worries behind to follow God’s calling for his life. He began his musical journey as a chaplain turned worship leader and is now pursuing music professionally. He kick-started his God-given mission by raising $10,000 to fund his first EP,The Power of One, which is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2016. Marshall recently gave his fans a taste of what’s to come from the anticipated body of work with his hit single, “Magnify,” which can be downloaded via iTunes.
“I want to have music that brings in contemporary elements of worship, but have that same base of a gospel song that we can appreciate spiritually and emotionally,” he says after discussing the criticisms of new-age Christian music. Rolling out had a chance to speak with him further on the progression of gospel music, the concept behind his EP and how he is handling the challenges of his new career.
When did you decide music was something you wanted to do with your life.
In comparison to most musician vocalists, I did not start singing until I was 18 years old. I became the Chaplin of the University of Delaware gospel choir and that is kind of what I did through my undergrad years. I didn’t start doing music formally on my own until I moved to Texas in 2005. I started leading worship at the church I was attending, so it was a late process. I thought I was going to become a pastor and the more I studied in seminary I realized I didn’t want to do that. In the meantime, music became a growing passion of mine. After about eight years of leading worship, I developed this space in my life where I questioned what I was doing. I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere and was in a spiritual slump. I had written about thirty songs that I recorded at home and at church. My dad who is a pastor in Philadelphia took me under his wing and discipled me all over again. In that time, I felt the Lord share with me that he wanted me to do some music on my own and it was a very intimidating feeling. I have some friends who are in the industry, so I know what it takes to put out music. The recording process is much different than worship on a Sunday morning. With all the fear and pessimism that I had, I made the decision to go ahead and do it. In November 2013, I raised 10 thousand dollars via the website I created to record the song I am currently working on now.
You speak highly of your father and the spiritual guidance he has instilled in you. Who were some of the other musical influences you had to help you along the way?
My mother sings, but didn’t sing that much growing up. I would say everyone in my family can pretty much hold a tune, but none of them do it formally. My dad is the patriot of the family who is a first generation Christian. He is the one who serves as the catalyst for Christ in our family, but when it comes to music I think that is going to be me. Outside of my family from a musical standpoint the first CD I ever bought was Kirk Franklin and I am blessed to call him a friend. He is an older brother to me and I got to know him before I got to know the artist side of him. As far as other genres, vocally I love Genuine and Sisqo. There is a passion they both displayed in their vocals, which I think today’s r&b is missing. I am not saying I am going to go around singing what they were singing about, but I just appreciate their authenticity.
How would you describe your sound?
One thing that I want to shoot for is helping gospel music progress. I want to be able to say that you will feel the essence of gospel music and see it going somewhere positively. My sound is in between John P. Kee and Hillsong, which is what I would consider to be an Israel and New Breed.
Every new generation of contemporary gospel music inevitably suffers some form of backlash from traditional listening audiences. What do you say to those critics?
I don’t think we should confuse the message with the messenger for lack of better words. What we see in the bible traditionally is different authors carrying the same message through 66 books of the Bible, but at the same time each one is going to put their own touch on it. We say the word of God is God-breathed, but it is not absent of that particular personality. For me as an artist, instead of taking it as a point of rejection I recognize the foundation of where gospel music began. It comes for particular struggles, pain, joy and victories of God. It is time for people to listen to the essence of what’s being communicated in the song. If we can align ourselves biblically you may not necessarily feel me all the time by way of my musical structure, but you can at least appreciate the space that I’m coming from. I can’t mimic the same style of music from fifteen years ago and still be received the same way in 2015 the way I would have in 1995.
As a gospel artist and road musician, what are some of the challenges that you face day-to-day from being in various church settings? Do you find it difficult to get fed spiritually?
When you are used to your ministry at home it is hard to be spiritually fed on a regular basis. It is hard to make sure that you’re taking enough time for yourself between you and the Lord to keep your oneness with Him because you’re doing ministry and work with adversity on top of that. Whether I am on the road or at home I try my best to make sure I am on top of my vertical relationship with the Lord. I have probably failed more times than I am willing to admit, but the blessing about the Holy Spirit is that He always props us up.
Your newest single, “Magnify,” is truly a breath of fresh air. What life events inspired the song’s conception? And what does the song mean to you today?
I come from a super outgoing family. If you had to look at all of us I am the passive one in the family. When I have the opportunity to do ministry I am a completely different person. I wanted to find a song that gave me the chance to let go from a public worship perspective. I realized I didn’t have an expression to let all of me out to represent the God that I serve. The song has a lot of high energy, is loud and it’s because that is how I feel when I am in that zone of worship. The song “Magnify” represents what’s on the inside of me.
Do you have a date set for the album?
I debated whether or not I was going to do and album or an EP. I think that for a number of reasons it made more sense for me to do the EP. I have been working very hard to complete what am calling ‘The Power of the One.’ I hope to have that to everyone by the end of the first quarter of 2016. I am really excited about it. There are four other songs that talk about love, joy, heartache, pain with some really cool people who I am hoping to feature.
What has been the most exciting moment of your career thus far?
I would say the most exciting moment for me was watching the people respond to the call that I felt God placed in my life. This was before my time as an artist. When God places something on your heart the most challenging part of it is wondering how people will respond. There was one particular person named Melanie, who was the first one to donate a significant part of my donation process. Watching people support was very surreal for me. God had a plan for me and He confirmed the support though those that love me.
For more information on Kyle Marshall, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @iamKyleMarshall or check out his website www. BeginMe.co