West End Theater Star set to release gospel album – Keep The Faith ® The UK’s black and multi-ethnic Christian magazine
Singer and actress Rachel John became a West End sensation when she appeared in the hit musical Hamilton and received a nomination for a prestigious Olivier Award.
Christian since childhood. Rachel has long had the ambition to record a gospel album at the denominational headquarters of the church in which she was raised.
Rachel realized that ambition during the pandemic when West End and Broadway performer Ramin Karimloo suggested she record a live album at New Testament Assembly, Tooting, London. His first gospel album From my lips to God’s ear is the result and features her gospel songs that she has listened to and sung throughout her life.
Rachel commented, “I’m so excited for this release. It contains some of the songs I grew up with, including classic hymns that were sung at worship services and prayer meetings at my childhood church, the New Testament Assembly, in Leyton. These songs have a special place in my heart and it was such a pleasure to record them.
Songs featured on the album, released on a new label, Westway Music, include classics Blessed assurance, how great you are, and When I walk the marvelous cross.
The album was recorded live at New Testament Assembly, Tooting. A decor that Rachel loved. She said, “Not only did I get to sing my favorite songs for this album, but I recorded the songs live, like myself. As an actress, when I sing on stage, it’s always in someone else’s character, and even though I love my job, it was just good to be me while singing on stage for a change, singing songs that I love and that have had a big influence on my life.
Rachel is a versatile performer and has appeared in many successful plays over the past 17 years, since making her West End debut in Disney classic The Lion King. Rachel went on to play major roles in We Will Rock You, Sister Act, Memphis, The Bodyguard and The Girl from The North Country. But it was in December 2017, when she made her debut as Angelica Schuyler in the original cast of Hamilton’s West End, that her career hit a new level and she became a theater star. She is also on the worship team at the church she attends.
Neil O’Brien, managing director of Westway Music, said: ‘I was introduced to Rachel last year during lockdown by Ramin. When I watched the movie, heard the music and saw Rachel’s performance, I could hear a great album and we got to work on making something out of it that would really do the performance justice. The album was mixed by Tim Hamil under the direction of our A&R manager Rhydian Roberts and we believe we are releasing a stunning debut performance that demonstrates how Rachel John is one of the leading singers of her generation and someone we know will shine brightly in the future.’
Members of the UK gospel community are excited for the album’s upcoming release.
Bishop John Francis, senior pastor of Ruach City Church, said:
“Rachel is one of the best in the UK. She sings these songs with a rich, sweet tone that will soothe your soul and bless your life.
Muyiwa Olarewaju, station manager of Premier Gospel and presenter of international TV show Turning Point, said
“This album effortlessly blends classic gospel lyrics and chords with contemporary production. It’s a must-do Sunday morning and will see you throughout the week as well.”
Author, gospel promoter and music consultant Roy Francis said:
“A very engaging album, with many well-known songs performed with a deep sense of spiritual integrity and faith.”
Juliet Coley, host of the legendary gospel music show People Get Ready, said:
“Rachel has a great voice and it was great to hear her unique take on the anthem classics.”
It is Rachel’s desire that the album fill people with hope, inspire and encourage them, and give them a taste of the music that has had a major influence on her life.
Written by: Marcia Dixon
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