In a new episode of Unsung, singer and Pastor Hezekiah Walker shares with audiences how he pushed boundaries of traditional church and worship to merge secular and gospel music.
Walker opens up about starting his church, Love Fellowship Tabernacle Church, in East New York in the early 1990s. During that time most leaders were intimidated to do ministry there because of the high drug use and major prostitution. However, Walker was drawn to the area for the same reason.
“I always wanted to go into the worst neighborhoods to make a difference, so my job back then was to come into a neighborhood and where everybody was scared to come into and make a difference in that neighborhood,” Walker shared.
The Grammy Award-Winning artist has often been able to draw different groups of people because of his relatability. In 1999, Walker collaborated with BBJay and Dave Hollister on “Let’s Dance.” Executive producer, Sean Combs once commented to Walker that “I can relate because you look like us and you make the word of God comfortable.’’
He explained the inspiration behind the song. “In our culture, we love to dance. “[So] let me put a song about dance into our gospel music.”
The gospel artists’ hit song “Every Praise” has become a phenomenon in the gospel industry. However, there were challenges during the creation of the song. “I had a lot of pushback from some of the choir members and I had a lot of pushback from some of the musicians as well,” Walker remembered.
Others also thought that the song would be too simple to be successful, but Walker reminded them that simplicity works. In 2019, “Every Praise” received the Soul Train Music nomination for Best Gospel/Inspirational Song and in 2020 the song went certified platinum.