By Mikala McCurry
Ga’briel Carter is a passionate gospel lyricist who desires to be more than the “typical christian rapper”.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. I grew up in a military family, so we moved around quite a bit. I was actually born in Panama and lived in Arizona and New Mexico before coming to Millbrook. I attended New Life Academy where I excelled in basketball and graduated Salutatorian. All this time music, was an important part of my life. My parents bought my first drum set when I was two. I always looked up to the drummers I saw performing at church. At age 12, I joined the church youth group to play drums. Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and The Winans were all influential to me.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO EXPLORE A CAREER IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? I think everybody in my group of friends wanted to be a rapper when I was younger(hahaha). I’d be the one beating on my desks with pencils and trying to rap. We liked to get together and freestyle over YouTube instrumentals. Even the nerdy guy had bars!(hahaha)
After an experience in a christian competition called Fine Arts, I saw how this could be a lifestyle for me. This competition is what helped develop my gift and point me in a direction to use my gift for more than just a hobby. I believe that’s where the inspiration comes from. Music was something that brought people together. It gave me purpose.
WHAT ARE SOME STRUGGLES THAT YOU’VE HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR MUSIC CAREER? The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are having the patience to wait on the right moment and the courage to not be disappointed with obstacles you encounter. An obstacle I face is getting outside the boundaries of a typical christian rapper. I love to get booked at churches, but I would also love to perform at festivals and other secular events. I want my music to be heard as a universal sound that all people welcome. Patience is probably the hardest for me, but I have to check myself because it’s not on my time.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUTH ASPIRING TO WORK IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? I have 3 words: hold on tight. There are times when you are going to feel inadequate and want to let go of everything you’ve worked toward. People are going to state their opinions, and at times you won’t get the attention you think you need. You don’t need to listen to the naysayers nor do you need approval to be the type of artist or person you want to be.
It’s so important to have a strong team. You need as many people to help you as possible. I think what most people don’t know is how many jobs you’re doing at once just to be seen and heard. Not only are you writing the music, you have to find ways to get people’s attention. (If you want to become an artist or work in the music industry, feel free to contact me because I’m always looking for people to add to my team and this could be a great start.)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING ALBUM RELEASE PARTY.
“Back to the Basics” is my first album. The release party will be on August 11th, and it’s a double album release with R&B singer/entertainer Dion Hawkins. Tickets are available online at www.gabrielcartermusic.com: general admission is $10 and V.I.P. is $20. 20% of the proceeds from the Album Release Party will be donated to the Have A Heart 4 Children non-profit organization. Guest appearances include inspirational comedian De’Anthony Turner, singer DRI, and Dru Toney. The show will also feature mime performer, Ardrell Green, along with dancers Tristiana Mayes and Benjamin Singleton, rounded out with solo rappers 2nd Samuel, D Hall and Vy moon. The Glorybanger band will be in the house with Stancy Turner (Music Director “MD”) on drums, Javaris Thomas on keys, David Webster on bass, Karlton Sellers on lead guitar bringing it all together.
HOW CAN YOU USE YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE TO IMPACT THE COMMUNITY? In my small town, I would like for my experience to bring back hope to others. I want them to be proud of the kind of rapper that I became and help inspire other kids from my community to choose the same path. Music is a powerful tool in a community and sometimes–depending on what music the youth listens to–it can lead their lifestyle and shape the community.
I’ve had people bring gifts out of me that I didn’t know I had. I probably wouldn’t be playing drums, teaching drums or rapping if I didn’t have people that saw those gifts in me. I was fortunate enough to have people share their talent to help me to develop mine and I want to pay it forward to my community.
Currently, I’m giving music lessons to a variety of people of all ages from five to seventy-seven. I also donate a percentage of the proceeds from shows to local non-profit organizations. I donate my time to local churches playing the drums, because I believe in para-ministry.
WHAT WOULD MAKE MONTGOMERY, AL MORE ATTRACTIVE TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS? A lot of people my age are wanting to leave as soon as they are financially ready or have the chance to. I think what’s missing is the sense of a community to be a part of. I think that given the opportunity, most people would like to support their community through local business and events: They just need more opportunities. I think the recent investments in revitalizing the downtown area are a step in the right direction to convince more young professionals that Montgomery is a community well worth investing in.
Tickets for Ga’briel Carter’s upcoming Album Release Party can be purchased at the door or online at www.gabrielcartermusic.com .
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