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Johnny Sanders: Making a joyful noise and much, much more

caines | 6/27/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Miami native praises God from Paris to Perrine Miami native Johnny Sanders, 40, remembers doing his own rendition of The Star Spangled Banner when he was just a second grade student at Carol City Elementary when his teacher told him that he had a voice. And it was that positive influence, he says, that showed him that he indeed had a gift that needed to be cultivated. Today hes a highly-respected gospel artist that writes his own lyrics, travels the world performing and has even garnered both a Grammy and Stellar Gospel Music Awards nomination for his debut CD Lifetime. But Sanders is more than just a singer hes also a 20-year veteran in the field of entertainment programming, marketing and advertising, planning tours for such industry greats like Marvin Sapp and Vanessa Bell Armstrong. He recently returned to the States from Europe after a four-month stint as a featured lead vocalist for the Gospel 100 Voice Choirs 2013 Gospel World Tour. We were in Rome for Easter and while it was cold and snowy, the choir was on fire for the Lord, he said. The message in my music is always about love, hope, restoration and salvation. I think people come to gospel concerts because they realize that they can draw strength and inspiration from the music. Its still the kind of music that touches the heart and soul.

Miamis gospel sound is a variety of styles

Sanders has shared his talent in several locally- and nationally-staged productions including Bernadine Bushs You Havent Heard Me Till Now, Malik Yobas Whats On the Hearts of Men and several hit plays by Michael Matthews including Money Cant Buy You Love and Secret Lover. And with two CDs under his belt, Sanders says hes back in the studio now working on his next project. But on Sundays, when hes not on the road, hes part of the praise team and a choir member at Bethel Apostolic Temple in Miami. Ive been in gospel music for most of my life and have to admit, unfortunately, that gospel artists still dont get the kind of respect that singers in other genres do, he said. Unless you have a mainstream sound like Kirk Franklin or Yolanda Adams, you sometimes have to go out on the chitlin circuit and really hustle in order to achieve financial success. But Im used to jumping on buses and doing tours. As long as I can sing and praise God, I dont care where the stage is or the size of the audience. Miami may be a contemporary city but gospel music tends to remain very traditional because so many of us trace our roots to places like Georgia, Mississippi and the Carolinas where old school gospel was the norm. Its all about making a joyful noise. You can reach Sanders at blonja@gmail.com. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com