James Hall In His Own Words
GOSPELflava got a chance to speak with the innovatively unique trendsetter, Professor James Hall, whose new disc WAP New Era drops on October 30th. Hall spoke candidly about the choir’s 28 years and his experiences working on the new project.
Professor, tell us about the new CD
Our new CD WAP (Worship and Praise) New Era hits retail and digital outlets on October 30th, I know there are a lot of people who want to know why I gave it that title. It is a new era for us; Worship and Praise has been together for 28 years, and with that being said, I don’t have a lot of the faces that were there 28 years ago, a lot of people have retired or got too old to be doing all the travel and being on the road, but I am grateful to God that I do still have a good amount of people that have been with me for over 20 years. There’s a lot of new faces in the group, but the sound is still Worship and Praise.
Of course in coming into this new era, this is the first project that we’ve done without my brother, Melvin Crispell, we lost him over a year ago and that was a huge blow and a hard felt loss for us, it was hard to even begin working without him on this project, but God always makes a way and he sent me a great co producer in Troy Chambers. Troy came and brought a whole new flavor to the game. I’m grateful for what he brings and our joint efforts in collaboration is amazing. We will always salute and remember Melvin, because he was with us from the beginning, we even have a song on the project that we dedicated to him, its actually the first song he ever wrote but we never recorded it. So that was our tribute to Melvin.
Another difference with this project is that we went into the studio. We aren’t really known for studio projects; we have always done live projects in big arenas and big churches, but it was really cool to get up close and personal with my singers as we put it all together. Overall, its been a great process.
Are there any personal favorites on the disc?
One of the songs that I like to rock a lot (when I listen to it like I got it and its from another artist, which is really funny) is the first track, He’ll Answer. He’ll Answer is one of the first songs I wrote for Worship and Praise. This is a song we were singing 28 years ago. It was the type of song that a local choir does as part of their set that become popular and everybody wants to hear it, so we sang it and then we stopped doing it as we started to do other music. We haven’t done it in over 25, 26 years, then I had a reunion about 3 years ago and we sung it and the people were like OMG, where did that song come from and I was like really? I might need to pull that song out, so it made the album.
King is our radio single. Its a great song that is written by Zeke Listenbee and the song was sent to me sometime last year. A friend of mine in the industry said James, you need to check out this song, I know you said you wanna do something different and maybe you want to do something with this song, so I said ok send it to me. I got it and as soon as I started playing it it I was like, nope, no thank you, this is not for me. I was in my car, and I played it again and played it again and the more I listened, the more it grew on me and the mor it grew on me, the more I was inspired to what it could become, not that the song wasn’t great already, it just needed to be “James Hall-ed” up.
In the final mix, I was happy with the song because gave us a new flavor, you know the industry has gravitated more towards the praise and worship, so I wanted to do something in the praise and worship arena. Troy and I worked together to intertwine the praise and worship with the gospel, so King can be sung by the praise team or the choir and render the same result.
I had a few people when we leaked the single who didn’t listen all the way through and were like, ” aww man James Hall iss changing on us, and as they gave the song some more time, people were like hup, Worship and Praise showed up.