You can almost always tell which secular artists have deep church roots. The Pentecostal church has a host of popular gospel artists hailing from the thousands of churches across the country, but what about the ones who’ve chosen to sing secular music? Here’s a great article from the Christian Post about just that:
Pentecostal Denomination Opens Up About Musical Legacy
John Legend, M.C. Hammer and Babyface brought up in PAW churches
What do music icons John Legend, M.C. Hammer and Babyface all have in common? They were all brought up in the strong musical tradition of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), an organization that, according to a spokesperson, has not often promoted its “longstanding legacy of musical greatness.”
Timothy Moore, a spokesperson for the denomination, told The Christian Post earlier this week that relatively few people know about the Pentecostal roots of some of their favorite musical artists. John “Legend” Stephens, for example, got his start in El Bethel Temple in Springfield, Ohio, while Stanley Burrell – a.k.a M.C. Hammer – attended Christ Temple Community Church in Menlo Park, Calif., and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds attended Grace Apostolic Church in Indianapolis.
The denomination isn’t just the launchpad for the careers of popular secular artists either. It has also seen the rise of gospel artists like Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond, Dietrick Haddon, Jonathan Nelson, Anthony “Tonex” Williams, Byron Cage and more.
PAW also boasts the oldest black-owned gospel music label in the U.S., Tyscot Records, which was founded by Leonard Scott and Craig Tyson in 1976 as a way to record a local church choir project. Tyson once served as the accompanist for the PAW national choir.
W. James Abbington, an author, musician, choir director and clinician, says the high value placed on music in PAW churches is likely a major factor in creating such a strong pool of musical talent within the denomination.