Riverside residents will get to witness firsthand how gospel music has evolved when the Urban Gospel Industry (UGI) Awards & Conference comes to Riverside this July. Sponsored by Oakland, California based organizations Urban Gospel Alliance (UGA) and Healthy Communities, the event seeks to give a voice to artists who fall outside of the traditional gospel music realm and to emphasize how gospel music can transform communities - even when it’s packaged in an urbanized form.
The conference, being held at the Riverside Convention Center from July 14th - 17th, will feature workshops and showcases highlighting alternative forms of gospel music and _expression, including hip hop, spoken word, jazz, comedy, reggae, and urban contemporary. “We want to call attention to gospel music in all of its forms, and show the public how the genre has evolved,” stated Curtis Jermany, founder and National Director of UGA.
In less than a year, the organization has over 12 chapters nationwide with more being added soon. “Our local chapters are the core and the heart of UGA,” added Jermany. “The national office helps to direct the vision, but it’s the chapters that give the vision legs, that get to interact with our members and assist them in getting them where they want to be.”
And part of that vision is the 2004 UGI Awards & Conference, where UGA members, label executives, media representatives, and gospel music fans will converge on the city of Riverside to celebrate the art and transforming power of urban gospel music. “Our goal was to produce a conference that had just as much to offer to artists and industry personnel as it did to gospel music fans,” stated Jermany.
For artists and industry personnel, there are a variety of daily workshops educating participants on both the business and ministry of urban gospel music. Scheduled topics include “Keeping Ministry in the Music”, “The Role of Music Videos”, “Marketing How-To’s”, and “Booking, Press Kits, and Public Relations”.
Lending their expertise to the panels and workshops are several nationally recognized industry personnel. President of the Southern California Gospel Announcer’s Guild Bishop Ken Wells, CEO of PC Public Relations Phyllis Cadell, Bishop Sam Williams, Vice Chairman of the National Gospel Announcer’s Guild, and Gospel TV Personality and Entrepreneur Bro. Steve Harris are just a few expected to be on hand to help guide the careers of conference attendees.