The Gospel Guru Interviews Vashawn Mitchell
Six-time Stellar Award winner and Grammy nominated recording artist VaShawn Mitchell is back with a brand-new LP, “Created4This.” Indeed, the follow-up to his 2010 LP “Triumphant.” The LP, which is preceded by the project’s lead single “Turning Around For Me ,” in which is entered at #13 on Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Digital Songs chart.
The acclaimed songwriter is best known for his mega hit song “Nobody Greater”. Billboard magazine declared “Nobody Greater” the #1 Most Played Gospel Song of 2011. Mitchell was named Billboard’s #1 Gospel Radio Artist of 2011 and “Triumphant” was among the Top 5 Gospel Albums of 2011. The Gospel Guru caught up with Mitchell to discuss his new album, collaborating with Fantasia, and much more. Get into the interview below…
- Describe Vashawn Mitchell in three words. Praiser. Songwriter. Worshipper.
- What was your inspiration for “Created4This”? Man, you know I just believe that I can not duplicate what God did with “Nobody Greater” but what I can do is do it off of the sound and that is…you know a lot of people regardless of the denomination, culture, background, in church, out of church were singing “Nobody Greater “ because they were going through some pretty tough times and I believe the song kind of spoke to where people were. So after recession, when things are coming together this sound, this cd, these songs are kinda to empower and encourage people to understand who they are and what they’re created to do. So it’s a cd full of songs that will empower and encourage through praise, through worship, through slow songs, through fast songs…every song will encourage a person regardless of where they are in life that they can do and were created for this from birth.
- What is a standout or favorite song for you on the new album? My favorite track is the song “Greatest Man”. Me and Israel recorded it together… It was really by Steven McCoy out of Baltimore, Maryland and he let me change a few words to it. When I heard the songs I told him that this song would definitely be a staple in Praise & Worship, it is a timely song. It’s one of those songs that when you first hear it, even if you don’t know it you think you know it. So that would have to be my favorite, it kinda births different emotions, it feels good. It’s just about Jesus being the greatest man.
- It’s no secret that “Nobody Greater” was one of the biggest songs of 2011, do you feel any pressure with your follow-up to “Triumphant” and “Nobody Greater”? Man, of course…I did feel pressure. Now I think I’m cool because I know that I did what God said do. And that’s more important; people try to make me feel pressure. At first I was nervous and trying to write songs just like “Nobody Greater” and then I tried to get people to send me songs and they didn’t sound right. But when I sat down and birthed the concept for “Created4This” and the songs came together and the sound was birthed. I’m very content because I did what God said do, and when you do that I believe God blows on it…It may not become that “Nobody Greater” song that everybody wants but it will become the next sound, the next phase, and the next phase of my music and my ministry.
- How did your collaboration with Fantasia come about? I was sitting down and thinking about who I wanted to collab with…I really wanted this record not to be in the box, I wanted to come out the box. I contacted Fantasia and her mom, and asked them if they would do a song with me and they were really excited. I was like “whoa this might work” so I contacted them and realized that we have a lot of things in common. Her mom was such a great prayer warrior, she prayed for us and it just became a relationship now we’re family. I believe God does everything for a reason. It happened just by me contacting them, but our spirits connected so quickly. It was a match that was predestined to happen.
- Aside from being an artist, you’re an entrepreneur. At the top of the year you announced the signing of your artist to your label-imprint. How was it taking on that role? I have to say that, as “Vashawn Mitchell” has developed the last few years, I consider myself a business. Part of that is a worshipper, part of that is a singer-songwriter, another part of that is what we do as a business has to make sense. A lot of people don’t know I’m a partner also in my own records with EMI. V Man Entertainment pays for the records, EMI markets and distributes them and we take partnership in the deal where my company gets a royalty off of the total deal. So it’s nothing new to me to sit in marketing meetings, and on marketing calls, and develop press plans for artists. It’s even a greater accomplishment when you can do it for someone else and not feel some type of way and just be excited for someone else. I believe in this next season, this next generation of music in general we’re gonna have to reach out and teach others so they won’t make the same mistake that we made. A lot of people think I just showed up but I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now, “Triumphant” was my 6th cd personally. And I’ve produced about 4 cd’s with Bishop Trotter before that. It’s a process of accomplishments and failures, and some of those failures I don’t want artists like Anthony Brown, Steve McCoy, Tasha Cobbs, or people that I connect with to make. Apart of me being an entrepreneur is definitely sharing what I know with the artists, but also sitting in on those marketing calls and seeing what works and what doesn’t work…giving my ideas and in put. But also learning all I can about the industry I want to be apart of and not just singing and going home.
- How does Vashwn Mitchell define or determine success? Man, I determine success by the return. To me, not a financial return…but the return of hundreds and thousands of people being blessed by the ministry that you have put out. Success is not nothing I could have done, it’s really based upon knowing that God blew upon Vashawn Mitchell in this season to put out such a big sound that had a life of its own. I believe I became successful as an artist, as a singer, as an entrepreneur not because of anything I did but because God decided that I was the vehicle that he would use to birth such a huge sound in this season.