The Legendary King of Contemporary Walter Hawkins, Passes Away

Walter Hawkins

24 Feb The Legendary King of Contemporary Walter Hawkins, Passes Away

Walter Hawkins, the Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, composer and pastor of Oakland’s Love Center Church, died at the age of 61on July 11th at 2:48PM PST in his home in Ripon, CA. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for the past two years.

During the 1970s, Walter Hawkins personified a new wave of gospel artists such as his big brother, Edwin Hawkins of “Oh Happy Day” fame, and André Crouch, who brought a youthful contemporary vibe to gospel music. Walter cut a series of best-selling “Love Alive” LPs that remain gospel classics to this day. His songs have been recorded by a who’s who in music ranging from Aretha Franklin and “American Idol” champion Ruben Studdard to Vickie Winans and M.C. Hammer.
“The impact that Walter Hawkins had on gospel music was so profound and far-reaching that it is now, and forever shall be, part of gospel’s DNA,” says gospel music historian, Bob Marovich, who edits The Black Gospel Blog.

Walter was born on May 18, 1949 in Oakland, CA and came up in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) denomination. He became a master pianist as well as a dynamic singer with an operatic vocal range. With his big brother, Edwin, already making a name for himself in 1969 with “Oh Happy Day” which became an international hit in the Gospel world as well as in the secular scene, Walter was well on his way at making a name for himself as well.

While studying for his master’s of divinity degree from the University of California at Berkeley, Walter recorded his first LP “Do Your Best” in 1972. An October 1972 Billboard magazine reviewer wrote, “Walter Hawkins is a pianist of enviable accomplishments while his vocal prowess is in no way disputable. He’s gathered around him an exceptional crew of sidemen and vocalists and the total effect is completely invigorating.”

The next year, Walter became a pastor and founded the Love Center Church in East Oakland. After forming the Love Center Choir, he recorded their first album as a church family. He used $1,800 he borrowed from his mother-in-law to complete the project. It was the first in a series of LPs named “Love Alive” and it debuted on Light Records in 1975. The album featured his then-wife, Tramaine, leading “Changed” and “Goin’ Up Yonder” which became two of the biggest gospel songs of the decade. A runaway smash, the “Love Alive” album sold a staggering 300,000 copies. The five “Love Alive” LPs featured classic gospel songs such as “I Love the Lord,” “Be Grateful,” “I’m Goin‘ Away,” “Thank You, Lord” and “Until, I Found the Lord.”

In the `80s, Walter recorded a number of solo LPs and produced a number of artists, including Tramaine. Although, he had earned nine Grammy Award nominations during his career, he only won one for his performance on “The Lord’s Prayer” LP in 1980 (he also performed on the televised Grammy Awards ceremony that year). In 1990, he released “Love Alive III” which became the biggest seller of the “Love Alive” album series. The radio favorites were “There’s A War Going On”, “I Love You, Lord” and “He’ll Bring You Out.” The LP remained at the #1 on the Billboard gospel album sales chart for 34 weeks during the almost 100 weeks it spent on the survey. The album went on to sell over a million copies. The 1993 “Love Alive IV” also hit the #1 spot on the album sales chart and spent a year on the survey as well. In between projects, Walter was ordained a Bishop in October 1992.

As elder statesmen in gospel, Walter became a favorite for cameo appearances in recent years. The Mississippi Mass Choir had a hit with him on “Hold, On, Soldier” in 1993 and Donald Lawrence & the TriCity Singers watched him steal the show on “Seasons” from their “Go Get Your Life Back” CD in 2002. The 2001 “Love Alive V” CD featured a huge comeback hit with the ballad, “Marvelous.” Walter’s final solo CD “A Song in My Heart” won a Stellar Award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year in 2006. He was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

After surgery for pancreatic cancer in late 2008, the Hawkins Family (Walter, Edwin, Tramaine, and sister, Lynette) staged a successful, multi-city Hawkins Family reunion concert tour. At the time of his death, Walter was planning a new “Love Alive” CD concert recording for this fall.
Walter delighted in being a pastor as much as he enjoyed singing. “Early on I thought my ministry and my music were apart from each other. But now I see they work hand-in-hand,” he once said. “I can go a lot of places with my music that I can’t go as a pastor and vice versa. The purpose of both is getting the message out to people. I’ve had some material blessings and its okay to have them, but to be blessed with peace of mind and joy in your life, that’s when you will be truly fulfilled.”
Walter is survived by his two children, Walter “Jamie” and Trystan Hawkins; daughter-in-law, Myiia Hawkins; two grandchildren Jamie-Daniel and Jahve; a host of nieces and nephews; the Love Center Church family and Choir; and his siblings Carol, Freddie, Edwin, Daniel, and Lynette.

Darrell Hines Live In Stores & online June 15, 2010
Darrell Hines has been composing and singing for over 40 years. At 4 years old, he received his first opportunity to perform live when he shared the stage with Mahalia Jackson. From that day forward, Darrell embarked on a musical journey to share his gift with the world.
At a young age he and his sister Phoebe toured the country singing at churches and conventions. His parents moved the family to Los Angeles when he was 12 to focus on a music career, which afforded them the opportunity to sing for Bill Cosby’s Christmas Party and the Michael Douglas television show. “Music has been in my life, my whole life,” stated Hines.

When tragedy hit years later, his dream was derailed by an accident that literally cost him his life. While working for an airline company at General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, WI, Hines was struck by lightning and lay dead for 45 minutes. When he was revived, his renewed chance at life provided him with a mandate to minister hope, revival, and a determination to recover from life’s unexpected setbacks.

More than 30 years later, Darrell Hines has remained committed to his love for musical expression. Simply sitting at the piano and giving life to melodies have helped to inspire, replenish, and provide him strength in times of need. In similar fashion, it is his hope that Darrell Hines Live! will do the same for the listener. His work with such gospel greats as Pastor Marvin L. Winans and multi-Stellar Award winning vocalist Vickie Winans (who recorded his “Everything Will Be Alright”), attests to his musical aptitude.

Beau Williams gave national attention to Hine’s “He Wouldn’t Let It Be” when he re-recorded it in 1989. According to Vicki Mack-Lataillade of Central South Distribution, the driving force of artist development on this project, “I first approached Bishop Hines about doing a solo project in the early ‘90s. Finally the time has come. The Body of Christ is looking for hope and is struggling to stay connected with each other. We believe the musical ministry from Darrell Hines Live! create’s an atmosphere which encourages the believer to hold on to each other and find their worth in Christ.”
Darrell Hines says, God anointed him to “share my gift of music with the world.” This in part was the inspiration for releasing his first nationally recorded music project: Darrell Hines Live! It yields a phenomenal listening experience. From the upbeat rhythm of “Hold On,” to the soul stirring lyrics of “Worth In Me,” and one of the first two singles, “All I Have,” this project has something for everyone. Songs like the other new single, “You Brought Me,” and “Gethsemane (Not My Will)” has southern gospel flair while “Heaven (Beulah Land)” is certainly not the Beulah Land of old. The vocals and harmonies are rich, and are certain to draw the listener in and provide an uplifting experience. “The album is not just good gospel music…” Bishop Hines says, “…Its life-affirming, life-breathing gospel music!” That comes from an artist who knows what it means in a very personal way, all too well.

Darwin Hobbs Returns with his first Live Album -Champion
Imago Dei Music Group (iD Music Group), a division of Max Siegel Inc., announced the signing of Gospel’s enchanting voice songwriter/artist/producer, Darwin Hobbs, to an exclusive artist contract. Through the agreement, iD Music Group will administer, control, and maintain all aspects of Darwin’s new project Champion. Darwin is known for his vocal abilities and unmistakable tenor with a unique display of vocal range. This will be Darwin’s sixth album. With this new venture Darwin expands his vocal ability and meets the fans demands with his most anticipated live album. Champion was recorded live in none other than Nashville, TN. iD Music Group will develop Darwin and his new project under the direction of industry pioneer and Chief Operating Officer of iD Music Group, Max Siegel. Max returns to the industry in hopes of reigniting his passion and creating a path to integrate music into the lifestyles of people around the world in a unique and positive way. Many celebrate the return of industry executive and groundbreaker Max Siegel. Once a high ranking executive of Sony BMG/Zomba Label Group, Max, has taken some of the more recognized names in the industry to the top. Darwin will be the first of many artists to work with Max Siegel and his top notch team at iD Music Group. “I’ve known Max Siegel for years, and what I know about him is that he’s a winner! For this and other reasons, I’m super proud and honored to partner with he and his team at Imageo Dei Music Group, as an exclusive recording artist,” stated Darwin. “It is one thing to have an amazing new album entitled Champion, but it is an even better reality for me to have a team full of champions working together to inspire the world with quality and relevant entertainment.” Darwin’s next album, Champion, will be released on June 22, 2010.

Juanita Bynum Releases a New EP on New Label, Scheduled for release June 22
Music World Gospel/Son Flower Records, a division of Music World Entertainment is set to release a new EP, “The Diary of Juanita Bynum: Soul Cry (Oh, Oh, Oh),” from world-renowned gospel recording artist Juanita Bynum on June 22. The music trilogy is the first of a three-tier project that will culminate in the release of her highly-anticipated CD/DVD, THE DIARY OF JUANITA BYNUM II, scheduled for release in January 2011.
“The song ‘Soul Cry’ was not a song that was written with pad and pen,” said Bynum. “The night it came out of me, it poured from my soul during one of the worst seasons of my life. Being overwhelmed beyond tears, I laid my face on the counter and began to sing. Every word, every line flowed uninterrupted as to assure me it was an expression from the souls of many around the world. This song voices the true sentiments of those who can relate to a soul’s cry—a pain that no human hands can heal and a cry that is rooted from a hurt unimaginable to the human life. The only sound I could get out of my mouth in that season was ‘Oh, Oh, Oh, hear my cry Oh Lord!’”

The lyrics to “Soul Cry” are written by Bynum, with music by Bynum and Cory “C. James” Washington. The EP is produced by Washington, a new producer signed to Music World Entertainment. The CD is executive produced by Mathew Knowles. “The Diary of Juanita Bynum: Soul Cry (Oh, Oh, Oh),” will include the song’s main version, an instrumental, an instrumental with recitation and an extended version. Initially, the EP will be sold at Wal-mart for one month, Christian retail outlets and J&R Music World in New York City, followed by a wide release at major retail stores across the country. The EP will also be available at all digital outlets.
Bynum is set to appear at the ESSENCE Music Festival on Friday, July 2 and is scheduled to perform on Sunday, July 4 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Bynum will also appear at the Wal-mart booth on Friday, July 2, where she will be on hand to sign autograph copies of her new project. And on Saturday, July 3, she will be at the Music World/House of Deréon booth for a CD signing/meet and greet.
Grammy Nominated Singer-Songwriter-Producer DEITRICK HADDON Film Debut In
“Blessed & Cursed”

All-New Film Stars Sheryl Lee Ralph and Drew Sidora, Alongside Gospel Stars J. Moss, Mali Music, Jorel Quinn, Kierra Sheard, and IRROC Motion Picture Available Exclusively ON DVD July 27, 2010 Blessed & Cursed CD Soundtrack Hits Stores June 29, 2010 In a twist on the Biblical story of David and Saul, Blessed & Cursed depicts Dwight Hawkins’ (portrayed by Deitrick Haddon in his first ever acting role) struggle to realize his God-given purpose. Compelled to help his father after his dreams of becoming a Bishop are derailed, Dwight must choose between family obligations and pursuing his own dreams of superstardom. One day he receives an opportunity to become a psalmist at the city’s largest church but this new position is too good to be true as Dwight gets caught in a diabolical scheme of jealousy orchestrated by the church’s pastor. “I grew up in the church and unfortunately it wasn’t all great experiences,” Haddon says. “I intentionally brought these up in the movie. I feel this movie will be a witnessing tool to win people back into the church.” Haddon was inspired to pen the film script as he was preparing a sermon. “I’m a pastor now, so I’m doing more studying than I’ve ever done in my life,” said Haddon. “I was studying the story of Saul and David and the dynamics within their relationship…this movie just opened up to me.” Soon after, Haddon pitched the script to his manager, Holly Carter (Releve Entertainment), and Tyscot Records’ Vice President, Bryant Scott, and got the reels rolling. The film was shot in Haddon’s hometown of Detroit, MI. There are cameos by Haddon’s wife, singer DAMITA, soul legend Rance Allen, and TV personality Bobby Jones. This is the legendary Tyscot label’s first foray into film.
Phil Tarver’s New CD Release – ‘Place of Worship’ – In Stores June 29th

Eddie James New Album Now Available
Eddie James was born in Phoenix, AZ and accepted the Lord Jesus as his Savior at the age of 8 and began music ministry at age 9. With spiritual roots in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) denomination, God has established Eddie as a leader of music and ministry in the nation and around the world.

Eddie James recorded his first national album entitled Higher with The Phoenix Mass Choir that debuted at number 10 and went to number three on the national charts. Since then he’s recorded 10 other projects that have impacted our nation and our world. His group, ColourBlind, which is a culturally diverse group of five young men, released an album called The David Story. This album contains 12 chapters of the book of Psalms put to music. They also recorded a soundtrack to their musical production called Break the Walls, which is a musical production designed for high school and college youth today. It deals with the issues of drugs, violence, pre-marital sex, racism, and dysfunctional families. Eddie James along with ColourBlind has reached over 200,000 youth in America with this musical drama presentation. Through this message of hope, countless numbers of lives have been changed.

Eddie James has toured throughout America, Europe, Mexico, and Japan. His ministry has placed him on the platform with our nations greatest in the church as well as the secular world, such as Bishop TD Jakes, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Tommy Barnett, Marilyn Hickey, 4 Him, Kirk Franklin, Plus One, Third Day, P-Diddy, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Usher, Kelly Prince, and so many more.

Eddie James founded Eddie James Ministries in 1993. James is in full time ministry and travels all over the world leading worship, presenting concerts, dramas, seminars, workshops, as well as preaching the gospel. He also is on staff with Karen Wheaton Ministries as the Music and Performing Arts Director for her youth ministry called Chosen. Eddie James ministers at The Ramp, which is a youth center founded and established by Karen Wheaton. He also ministers with Karen Wheaton and Chosen on a monthly basis on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.