Bermuda’s gospel music fans are in for a live concert explosion during Heritage Month, when brothers Jerome and Marvin Stovell take the stage for their first-ever performance together as solo artists.
Also known as Jae Jerome and Geneman, the two will host the ‘Brother 2 Brother’ Gospel Event, with two shows on Saturday, May 7th, at Better Covenant Christian Fellowship, on the corner of King and Reid Streets in Hamilton – one at 6:30pm, with the finale at 9pm.
This concert marks the first time the popular duo will take the stage together since performing in the mid 1990s as Destiny.
The show will feature original music from their recent recordings – Jae Jerome’s ‘Inner Man’ EP [Extended Play], and Geneman’s ‘Arise’ EP.
In a Bermuda Real interview, Jerome Stovell noted ‘Inner Man” is a “real solo project”, as he wrote and recorded all of the songs, composed all the music arrangements, performed lead and background vocals, and produced most of the EP.
“As a songwriter, I never stop writing, I’ve been writing this newer material for the past two to three years,” said Mr Stovell.
“From song selection through to the completed project, ‘Inner Man’ took just over a year. It’s a time-intensive process, as I write, arrange, and perform all the music and vocals (except for a couple of featured musicians/vocalists), record and produce all of the material.”
‘Inner Man’ is the first of two EPs which will ultimately be released as a full album by the end of 2016. It is described as Gospel Fusion, featuring “a smooth blend of R&B, Pop, Jazz, and Reggae”. It is the end product of many years of performing and producing music with family, and other group members spanning decades.
His website [jaejerome.com] describes themes covered on this six-track EP as “inspirational”. His “genre-blend music may be somewhat unique but the themes are familiar…They touch on ‘total surrender’ (Give It All), ‘keep the faith in life’s struggles’ (If You Hold My Hand, and ‘God, man’s ultimate soul-satisfier’ (He Lives In Me/Healer).
‘Inner Man’ treks life’s “spiritual” journey…with both its victories and challenges”.
The “overall message is one of Hope – a confident hope that there is One who’s power and love eclipses our own; One who welcomes us, though we be battered and scarred; and One who is the ‘True Healer’ of the broken”.
With “a touch of old-school soul” in his words: “It’s music for the soul.”
The first EP was rated three out of five stars in a recent Journal of Gospel Music review. It’s available online via iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon. Music Box on Reid Street in Hamilton carry CDs; autographed copies are available upon request.
The select tracks are currently in rotation on stations across the globe. Those stations include WVOD, Synergy 1, NIA Gospel, Rejoice America Radio, Jam Vibes Radio in the US, UGN Jamz in London, on Funk Jazz in France. So Arise Radio in Antigua, and on Africa Gospel Media Radio in Dublin, Ireland.
In Bermuda, CD sales have been modest. “I only brought in 300 as most don’t buy CDs these days,” Mr Stovell said. “We’ve sold around 200, and I will look to move more at the concert on May 7th.
“Online sales have been the same as most elect to buy singles. I’m just finishing an online promotion with a couple of US online radio stations, we get updates every six weeks.”
Geneman’s fourth new 12-track album ‘Arise’ is also available on iTunes and at local outlets.
Both he and his brother are gearing up for what promises to be a “very special show”, which will be recorded for YouTube and Vimeo.
To facilitate the two-part EP, he also set up his own label and production company – SouthBreeze Music. Asked if he’s considering taking a couple of local artists on board, he said:
“I haven’t fully decided yet – ‘Inner Man 2’ is on track for a late fall release, so we’ll see.”
Locally he said air play has been generally good. “But to push sales a song really needs consistent air play on the drive-in and drive-home shows for at least three to four weeks.
“Hott 107.5 and Magic 102.7 have my songs in rotation,” he said. He noted however, that music on Bermuda Broadcasting Company stations is not programmed on live shifts. “So it’s still based on whether or not the DJs likes or plays your music.
“What might help is a daily local music hour across all local stations,” he said. “This would have to be made mandatory, though possibly part of a larger initiative to give more exposure to local recording artists.
“We really need to rebuild our music culture in this country, although I’ve had some success, to date, local air play has been sporadic,” said Mr Stovell.
As for the upcoming show, the statement said: “The 90-minute show will feature alternating, solo sets from each artust, with the opening and closing songs performed as a duo.
“The combination of Jae Jerome’s smooth R&B gospel tracks and Geneman’s soothing roots reggae gospel rhythms, promises to be a very unique and exciting music experience for all.
“The show will be backed by an eight piece band, in addition to a trio of background singers.”
The have also opted for a smaller, more intimate venue. “The set will be staged to create more of a small-club, ‘unplugged’ look and feel, instead of the usual church/concert hall motif. This will allow performers to get ‘up close and personal’ as they interact with the audience.
“The event will accommodate 150 attendees per show, and will be professionally video recorded.”
Those who hail from the Khyber Pass, Spice Hill, and Cedar Hill areas of Warwick would know the Stovell family of the late Mr Harold Stovell, who passed at the age of 58, and Mrs Muriel Stovell, who is “still going strong at 83”.
Their five children in order, are Jerome. Tyrone, Judith. Terence and Marvin. Over the years they have participated in various gospel music ventures both together, and apart.
Destiny was comprised of family members with the exception of two vocalists – Jerome, Tyrone, Laurima (Ty’s wife), Marvin, Tonya Iris, and Valerie Smith.
Concert tickets will be available at Covenant House (Reid Street level), in Hamilton, and other city outlets in due course. Regular admission will be $40, $70 for patrons, and $150 for Platinum sponsors.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ceola Wilson
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