Gospel artist and worship leader, Praise Peterson reaches for international audience with new US deal. He speaks to us about his career and plans to take over the world through his music.
Tell us about your deal with Allen Carr and Lunjeal Music Group
I’ve just recently been signed by the record label Lunjeal Music Group, headed by Allen Carr. The label is also home to Jekalyn Carr, she is a Stellar Award winner and Grammy nominated gospel artist. We signed a 3-year and album deal and the first project is called Songs from Heaven and it was recorded live in Pretoria. The album has Same Power as the first single and its already being mixed and mastered in the States, and will be released within the next few weeks. The album will be released later in the year and will be dropped on major radio stations in the US.
What are you looking forward to from the deal and exposure in the US?
The US market is big and influential and whatever blows up in the States will definitely influence the whole world. My sound has always been international and people struggle to identify me with a particular country, they would ask if I’m from Congo, Nigeria, South Africa and other places and I think it’s because I have the international appeal and approach to my music. The aim is to get a wider reach and access vast areas with the music. It’s also a door for me to open up for other African artists to be signed over there. There is a lot of talent here in Africa but sometimes it goes to waste. So this door is to create the contacts and relationships with people overseas and also bring up talents here in Africa.
Tell us about Praise Peterson
Praise is a humble man, originally from Zimbabwe, but raised in South Africa. I’ve been married to Angel Peterson for the past 8 years and we have 3 kids together – 2 boys and a girl. I’m a worship leader and recording artist and I’ve been in the industry for about 15 years. I worked as a studio engineer for Kunle Ayo, the Nigerian guitarist for about 2 years and I got to do other studio gigs after that. I am currently a worship leader at the Enlightened Christian Gathering under Major Prophet Shepherd Bushiri.
Which of your songs will you say is your biggest and most impactful so far?
The song that has really broken ground for me internationally is Same Power. I have managed to get international recognition from the song.
What differentiates you from other Gospel artistes?
I wouldn’t say I’m different, but we are all unique. We are all doing and pushing the same thing, carrying the message of Jesus Christ through music. I’ve always pushed to make sure I’m not tied down to a certain group or stereotype. I want my music to bless someone in Egypt, Lesotho, Australia, the UK and all over and I think we are making progress with that as we get responses from songs we release from different parts of the world. I really do try to balance out my sound and so it covers everyone.
Apart from being a musician, you are also a producer and run a studio, how is that going?
Its going very well. I just launched a new studio and it is the third studio that I have had since 2009. I took a break for about 3 years. I had a much smaller and medium studio in the past, but this is a better and much more professional one. We just finished recording UK based artist and worship leader, Savanah in November. We also just did a project here in South Africa. I’ve been a studio engineer for the past 10 years so I still do mixing, mastering and producing.
How do you see Gospel music in South Africa and Africa?
Gospel music in South Africa is becoming very lucrative and we are managing to reach out. The industry is progressing and a lot of new talents are coming up. I’m really loving the new sound that is coming out. It was more of a stereotype because people thought we had to stick to a particular type of sound; dress, act and sing in a certain way. We are reaching out to a much wider audience and people who wouldn’t normally listen to gospel music are doing so now and being blessed. Africa on a general is doing very well. Look at West Africa – Nigera for example, they have The Experience every year where over 700,000 people show up for a gospel concert. Travis Greene and Tim Godfrey, Frank Edwards and Don Moen are examples of beautiful collaborations with international artists. We are beginning to get a lot of recognition now. before we would want to sound like Americans, but now they want to do music and affiliate with us. It shows progression and growth for African gospel music.
Where do you see your music and career in the next 5 years?
I just want to reach out to the whole world. I have pushed for this platform and deal so it can allow me to reach out there. We want to be out there, on different radio stations in every country and in all the continents. We want to travel the world with the band and minister and also win more souls for Christ through music. There is a plan to establish a record label as well and in the process raise African artistes that are coming up.