The British gospel group, The Kingdom Choir (TKC), will bring their soulful music to the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Sept. 8.
Although around for nearly 25 years, TKC ascended to international stature after singing, “Stand By Me,” at the royal wedding of Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex. Now, local fans can hear that song and more tracks from TKC’s album of the same name.
Their show will feature renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” to more contemporary cuts like Beyoncé’s “Halo,” Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” John Legend’s “All of Me,” and Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
The stop in L.A. is just one 30+ concerts that TKC will make in the United States and Canada. Other Southern California shows will take place in Santa Barbara on Sept. 9, and in San Jose on Sept. 10.
While their North America tour schedule is daunting, TKC “will be fine,” said conductor and founder, Karen Gibson. In a Sentinel interview, Gibson agreed, “Our schedule is challenging, but we will do it by God’s grace. I believe it.”
In fact, Gibson is anticipating viewing the sites across America. Although she visited the nation in the past, she said, “I’m looking forward to getting familiar with some of the states that I have never been to before in my life, and to [visiting] Canada, of course. I just love the scenery, going from state-to-state and seeing the changes and beauty and individuality of each state. It is absolutely gorgeous!
Just driving around makes me happy.”
Gibson’s happiness has soared even higher since TKC’s world debut before two billion viewers of the royal wedding. The event counts among one of the most memorable performances of her 30-year career, which also includes singing for Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Queen Elizabeth II, former President Bill Clinton, pop legend, Elton John and British rockers, The Spice Girls.
“But, it was like a fairytale to sing for the prince and duchess. It felt really magical and almost surreal,” recalled Gibson. “Looking back on it now, it just felt like the time really whizzed by very quickly. We all thought it would just be ‘in the moment.’ We didn’t think this ‘moment’ would just carry on and on until we are touring America. It’s just crazy to us, but we are very grateful.
“I got to meet the prince and duchess and they were very nice people. They were regular, down-to-earth, very friendly and very much in love,” she said. “The royal wedding is something that will never leave us and we will always treasure that moment.”
Like many artists, Gibson’s musical journey began in childhood. Her mother enrolled eight-year-old Gibson and her nine-year-old sister in music classes. After starting with classical piano, the sisters next learned to play the oboe and clarinet. Their interest in vocals didn’t ignite until their late teens.
“We started singing because of The Winans. In 1983, I think they released their debut album and on the album was the song, “The Question Is.” We just fell in love with it. We would gather around the piano and sing it and that’s how I got into singing. I was about 18-years-old,” said Gibson.
She sang her church choir as well as informally gathering with friends to share their vocal talents at events around London. Soon, they were asked to sing for a radio program that was recording worship services of Black Pentecostal churches in the area.
Their popularity attracted the attention of a television program executive, who invited the group to sing for the show’s 35th birthday.
After accepting, Gibson was asked for the name of the choir and she realized that they didn’t have one.
“The producer said ‘you better get a name by tomorrow.’ When I went to bed that night, I dreamt of the name, The Kingdom Choir, and that is when we became a proper entity. It was all by accident,” she said with a laugh.
But, it’s no accident how the world has embraced The Kingdom Choir and their heighted fame has triggered thoughts about the message TKC wants to share with people. With their legacy in mind, Gibson plans to focus on spreading love, hope and inspiration through their music.
“I think that the world is in dire need of those three things. Love, hope because there is a lot of hopelessness, and inspiration. We need to be inspired and see things that will push us to do great things,” noted Gibson.
“We are looking forward to releasing more of our music into the world. The support from Black Americans has been incredible and we are just so grateful and surprised by it and we would just like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who communicated by Instagram, Facebook or sent emails. It’s been really lovely and great!