Carl B. Phillips talks with Stellar Award winning Chicago-based gospel artist Mark Hubbard.
ChicagoGospel.com: The Voices have been around for 20-years? How has the journey been?
MH: The good definitely outweighs the bad. We’ve had some rough times but God has really been good to us. He’s blessed us to do a lot of great things across the country. So it’s been a great journey.
ChicagoGospel.com: Your latest release “Blessin’ Waitin’ On Me” won a Stellar Award. What do you feel made this project stand out over your previous projects?
MH: I believe that the testimony behind the project really made it standout. I went through a lot of situations that allowed this project to really be personal. The other projects I did were great and were done because I had to do them, but this project was because of a lot of situations that God allowed me to go through and be able to portray that within the project itself.
ChicagoGospel.com: You recently turned 40! Has your thoughts changed about the style of gospel music that you perform now versus when you were younger?
MH: Wow! I always get that question. My feeling is that you try to reach people where they are at this point. I just always feel and hope that because of what I was brought up on and where we are now that we don’t lose the meaning and the message to our music and that we are more concerned about souls than we are about numbers. That will always be my concern with gospel music today.
ChicagoGospel.com: Your choir has a contemporary sound but you have always had a traditional flavor to your music. How important is it to you that you keep that traditional sound alive?
MH: It’s very important to me because I don’t want the history of gospel music to be lost and forgotten. So it’s very important to me that I stay traditional, that I continue to keep traditional music alive. That’s the music that we were brought up on and the music that our foundation was built upon to allow us to have the contemporary music we have now.
ChicagoGospel.com: Chicago has always been known for great choirs – what is it in the water?
MH: You know, I guess it is just that we are the gospel music capital of the world. We can sing good. We are going to have great choirs and just have greatness come out of Chicago. It seems like everybody in Chicago can sing. Let me clarify that - almost everybody in Chicago can sing. We just have great singers.
ChicagoGospel.com: Are you still with Sweet Holy Spirit?
MH: Yes – I’ve been a member there since 1998.
ChicagoGospel.com: Why do you feel it’s important to be connected to one ministry for so long?
MH: When you stay connected you have stability. Stability is important in ministry when it comes down to covering. I believe when you go from here to there you get fed a lot of different theologies and your spirit can get confused. So I make it a point to stay connected to one ministry so I know I will have stability. My pastor is absolutely the greatest. He preaches and teaches nothing but the Word of God.
ChicagoGospel.com: The Voices have had the opportunity to travel to Italy. How different was the response you received from Italian audiences compared to American audiences?
MH: Well, I’ll put it this way. Americans - they love you. But when you cross overseas they really, really treat you like a king. I really felt like I was Michael Jackson for real. People were running behind the bus and trying to get autographs. I was like wow! It was just amazing to me. They really appreciate gospel music over there. Every night we were singing to 5,000 or 6,000 people, which was amazing to see, people come out like that. They treat you with such love and kindness. Sometimes they don’t understand what you’re saying but they know the songs and the lyrics. It was really, really great.
ChicagoGospel.com: What is United for One Cause? Tell us more about that.
MH: United for One Cause is a seminar where I bring people together to teach about the dos and don’ts and the ins and outs of the gospel music industry. People often don’t know much about the industry. So I decided because of my experiences to put together a seminar that is free for people. They don’t have to pay for the knowledge and where they can learn about the industry to which they want to be a part of. It is so very important that we know the business part of the industry as well as the technical part of it. I love to sing and I love to shout but there is more to it than that. So God placed it upon my heart to do this.
ChicagoGospel.com: When can we expect another release from Mark Hubbard & The Voices?
MH: In 2007 we’re planning to do a live recording.