If you’re seeking a little pick-me-up, just listen to “Church’n With Friends” and you’ll find yourself rejoicing and praising God like never before.
“Church’n With Friends” is the debut album from Gary Sprewell and the songs will appeal to gospel lovers of all ages, according to Sprewell, who calls his music “old school with a modern twist.”
While Sprewell is a millennial, he’s been preaching for years, yet this is first entry into recording music. However, being a novice to the industry didn’t prevent him from calling upon a few acquaintances to sing with him on the project.
Special guests on “Church’n With Friends” features legendary vocalists Karen Clark Sheard and Bishop Marvin Sapp, along with rising stars Kierra Sheard, Chrystal Rucker, Dr. Myron Williams, and Johnteris Tate of the Soul Seekers. Harmonizing with Sprewell, the artists lift the name of Jesus with a range of selections including the main song, “He Promised.”
“As you listen to my album, you’ll discover the songs that we all know and remember, but there’s a little funk on them, just a little twist, a millennial touch to those songs. So, it’s old school with a modern twist,” said Sprewell, who believes grandparents and their grandchildren will enjoy the entire album.
“I think all ages will like my music and will be able to connect and relate to my music,” he insisted. “It’s not just the music. It’s the message and that message of the Gospel – that message of hope, that message that reminds us that the promises of God don’t fail, God doesn’t forget what He says, and that no matter how many delays come, no matter how many traumatic experiences we face, God is faithful – that’s really what I think is going to connect to the people. The message is going to connect and for my younger audience, the music will connect.”
Sprewell’s confidence in God’s redemptive power combined with the reviving effect of praise songs comes from his personal experiences growing up in Los Angeles. Raised in the House of Prayer Church of God in Christ on 84th St. and Avalon Blvd., he started preaching at the tender age of six and was ordained shortly thereafter.
He embarked on spreading the Good News Gospel and over the next two decades, he had travelled around the world – to four continents and 15 countries – proclaiming the message that Jesus saves. Along the way, he met people in the music industry and grew quite close to several of them, yet he never considered becoming a recording artist until the COVID-19 virus hit the world in 2020.
“The pandemic affected a lot of different people in different ways. One thing that kind of motivated me to do this project was that so many people I talked to – especially ministers and people in leadership – were dealing with depression and anxiety because of the effects of the pandemic,” recalled Sprewell, who said those interactions reminded him of the challenges he encountered in his childhood.
“I like to open my testimony with ‘my momma was a crackhead, my poppa was a rolling stone and I was raised by my grandmother in California in the projects in the ‘hood.’ So I had very traumatic and dramatic childhood and upbringing because of the dynamics of my family,” he said.
“The one thing that helped me to survive a lot of the trauma in my life was the gospel sound. I tell people that [Bishop] Carlton Pearson’s ‘[Live at] Azusa’ was the soundtrack of my childhood. Those old hymns and songs relate to the way that we worshipped and the experience that we grew up in at House of Prayer Church of God in Christ, which is still my home church and I’m very much a part of it,” declared Sprewell.
“So, that sound, that gospel music and those hymns really helped bring peace to my mind and my spirit. I figured if it worked for me then, it could help someone in this pandemic. I just wanted to capture that sound and preserve it for the next generation. I love all of the music that’s out, but there’s something about that old-style!”
Even as his album is climbing the radio charts, Sprewell still finds time to devote to his other endeavors of preacher, author and entrepreneur. Through Gary Sprewell Global Ministries, the evangelist sponsors conferences and events to build up the believers in the COGIC denomination. As a result of his anointed sermons, Sprewell received the Presiding Bishop’s Soul Winners Award for six consecutive years.
Long involved in the Church of God in Christ, Sprewell is active in several capacities within the denomination. He is vice president of the International Department of Evangelism, a board member of COGIC Music LLC (the denomination’s record label), creator and director of the Gifted training program for prophetic voices within COGIC, and founder and director of Project Emerge, an online mentorship program broadcasting on the Word Network.
In addition, Sprewell serves as president and CEO of God Sent Music Group, which include the enterprises Cartoonrentals.com and GSM Publishing LLC. His venture into writing led to the release of his first book, “The Upgrade,” in 2016, and now he is set to release his next volume, “Limitless,” in the near future.
Pursuing a wide range of activities along with releasing a new album has helped Sprewell learn a few lessons about achieving success in any field. Some of the key instructions he advises others seeking to transform a dream into reality is to “do your homework.”
“Make sure you know exactly what your vision is and what you want to see happen and then connect with those people who are doing what you’re trying to do. Make sure that you connect however you can,” he recommended.
“Then, make sure you’re willing and ready to make the investment because if you don’t invest in you no one else will. The investment is on multiple levels – money, for sure. But you’ll also have to make an investment spiritually if you’re a gospel artist.
“I think it’s important that you have relationship with God. I think a lifestyle of consecration and prayer is important and an investment] so you can get direction from God because He knows what is necessary to be successful,” said Sprewell.
“Then make an investment in other people. Support other artists and other people’s ministries. Make an investment in people because you never know who you’re going to need tomorrow,” he predicted.
Whatever the future brings, Sprewell expects that he’ll be able to handle it, thanks to his strong relationship with Christ and total confidence in the power of God.
“The Bible says, ‘If God be for you, who can be against you?’ That’s the King James Version. But, the Sprewell version is, ‘If God be for you, who cares who’s against you cause they can’t beat you no way.’ That’s my saying – if God’s on your side, you know you’re going to win,” the preacher said with a big smile.
And urging gospel music fans to pick up the “Church’n With Friends” album, Sprewell added, “This is music that will help connect you to your faith and remind you that all the promises of God are yea and Amen. Also, it’s music that grandchildren and grandparents will be able to enjoy, so please pick it up!”