These artists always have the stellar music directors behind them, such as, Alex Ward, Noel Hall, Aaron Lindsey, Soundcheck, Luther "Mano" Haynes, Daniel Weatherspoon, Kevin Bond, Bobby Sparks and a host of others.
But one thing that is always crucial and so often out of the limelight are the background singers. Who hasn't heard a great vocal arrangement and said, "Oh I love those background vocals"? Who hasn't seen an artist perform alive and come away with head shaking as a result of background singers who just killed it? It's those background vocals that bring out so much in a song and a live performance.
Do people truly understand the importance of the backing vocalist? Imagine Donnie McClurkin without his sisters and the other talented singers that sing behind him. New Breed adds even more to the Israel Houghton experience. And RFC really compliments Fred Hammond. The Peculiar People added more spice to the already talented Tonéx. Background singing is an art as well as a special ministry.
In this series, we want to highlight a few singers who have sung backup for some great artists. Stay tuned as we speak to Queenie Lenox, Duwane Starling, Anthony Evans and Danielle Stephens to discover what singing behind someone is all about. ( Click here for more in this series.)
Interview With Anthony Evans
Anthony Evans is a talented tenor, and the son of Pastor Tony Evans of Dallas. Evans has traveled the globe singing backup for the renowned vocal group Truth and mega artist, Kirk Franklin. In 2004 he released his solo debut on INO/Epic Records, titled Even More and he still finds time to sing backup for Kirk. Evans gives his take on background singing.
GOSPELflava.com: What has been your most memorable experience as a background singer?
Anthony Evans: That would be with Kirk Franklin, when he had us come to sing background for U2. It was of my first experiences with Kirk in general, actually. That was alot at one time; all of a sudden I was taking what I had only before seen on TV directly in my face and I was singing with these people. That was my most memorable experience. The whole thing has been great. Lots of fun memories.
GOSPELflava.com: What would say are some keys to success in the backup singing area?
Anthony Evans: In any role in music, it's important to maintain humility. You have to really ask the Lord for that. All the singing comes from your heart and you're not trying to make yourself known. Really realize what you are singing even though it maybe only some "oohs" and "aaahs", or just part of a line. Realize that you're still communicating the Gospel. Really focus on what you are singing and don't get lethargic with what you have going on.
GOSPELflava.com: How did you get your break?
Anthony Evans: It was a fluke really. I met Kirk at church six years ago. He said, "When you're done with Truth, come sing with me." I was like, "Yeah yeah." I finished a couple years later and I was at rehearsals for him two weeks after that. It was just kind of a random thing.
GOSPELflava.com: What's the most rewarding part of being a background singer?
Anthony Evans: It's the same as if you were an artist. It's being able to use a gift that's not yours, giving it to other people. That goes across the board with any ability that anyone may have, whether it's singing, speaking, hospitality, whatever. It's being able to give something that was given to you, to other people. It's the most rewarding thing about singing in general.
GOSPELflava.com: How about the most difficult part?
GOSPELflava.com: What are some pitfalls to watch out for in background singing?
Anthony Evans: Basically you need to be careful not to become calloused to what you do. It's all revolving around the same point. You can become calloused if you get caught up in the fact that people aren't fixated on you. As a background singer, you're there to support. One of the general pitfalls of being a musician is that we learn how to entertain people. We learn how to "move them" into church, while we ourselves may not internally be going there. Sometimes we can just "learn" how to do 'it', and by 'it', I mean church. If you do that, then you just become another voice, and the thing that makes it special or spectacular is gone. After a while, runs are going to get old.
GOSPELflava.com: Which artists stand out for you as always having good background singers?
Anthony Evans: Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams. CeCe Winans has Jerard and Jovaun Woods and Leanne Palmore. That's a different breed of singers. Jerard and Jovaun are amazing. Leanne is great. Donnie's sisters, Andrea and Olivia, are no joke. Sharee Magee came from Mariah Carey to Donnie. She decided that she didn't want to do the Mariah stuff anymore, but that's the level that these singers are on. They kill. Donnie's sisters have done Michael Jackson sessions in LA. It's just a different breed of singers. I'm honored just to be on stage with some of these crazy people.
Stay tuned for more in this series on background singers...
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