They came on the Roehampton scene out of nowhere and set hearts on fire for God by singing their way into the hearts of men. After several performances all over campus and beyond, the amazing Righteous Roe completed their tour with a climatic concert of epic proportions. We at the Roehampton Lane Journal have been blessed with the opportunity to speak to the director of the Righteous Roe choir, Lovedale Harrison…
Question: When did you start singing?
Righteous Roe: I’ve been singing my whole life! I grew up in Church so I sang in Sunday school, children and youth choirs, also in school choirs.
Question: What got you into gospel?
Righteous Roe: I grew up listening to gospel through my parents and Church. The Hawkins, Andrae Crouch, The Winans and Albertina Walker are just a few of the people I would listen to and I still listen to them now. They all have beautiful voices and amazing musicality but most of all it was their passion that captivated me. They believe what they sing about.
Question: What drives you?
Righteous Roe: God. He has invested in me a musical gift and has equipped me with all that I need to share it and pass it on.
Question: Is it challenging being director?
Righteous Roe: At times it can be very challenging, because I know that if anything goes wrong the blame is on me. This is actually the first real choir that I have directed so this is new to me. But RighteousRoe is so supportive and they trust my judgement, they are all just genuinely nice people so they make my role as director very easy.
Question: What is it like working with all those awesome singers?
Righteous Roe: It’s amazing and I love it! All the singers are diverse but somehow they blend so well together. They are all so humble and sometimes unbelievably shy! They all support each other and help to bring out the best in each other. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work with each of them.
Question: What type of music do you listen to?
Righteous Roe: Gospel! People always find it hard to believe that that’s all I listen to, but it’s true! I do enjoy the old school of music, particularly Motown but I absolutely love Gospel music, it gives me everything that I need in music. It encourages and uplifts me, it makes me think, it motivates me, it makes me smile, it makes me dance, it makes me cry. It’s not just music for the ears, it’s food for the soul.
Question: What do you think of main stream music and the industry?
Righteous Roe: I feel that whilst mainstream music is becoming more and more creative and innovative, it often really lacks substance. People can now have hits with songs made up of two words. The industry is commercialised but it’s to be expected because it’s there to make money. However, I love the fact that in today’s society talented, passionate people can record themselves singing in their bedroom on their webcam, post it on YouTube, and become overnight sensations.
Question: What is your advice for anyone wanting to get into gospel?
Righteous Roe: You don’t need a platform to sing. Most people that want to get into gospel aim straight for the big stage, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing and enjoying the Gospel in your local Church, with your friends and family or your community. Also do it because you love it and utilise every opportunity. Do all that you can to master your craft before opportunity arises.
Question: How do you maintain your voice?
Righteous Roe: I’ll be honest, I’m no expert but I never eat or drink dairy products before a performance because it blocks my throat. I do regular sit ups and various vocal exercises. I understand that my voice has its limitations and I don’t want to permanently damage it by straining it. Also I sing regularly, because I find that this helps to improve and develop my voice.
Question: Any advice for upcoming gospel artists about vocal training?
Righteous Roe: Ideally, I would suggest investing in vocal training lessons with a professional, however this can be expensive and not everyone can afford it which is understandable. So as an alternative, there are many fantastic vocal teachers that are sharing their videos on-line on websites such as YouTube. It’s brilliant, because now you can train and maintain your voice from the comfort of your own home.
Question: How do you keep moral high during practice?
Righteous Roe: To be honest most times I don’t have to do anything because the music does the job. Many times when I come into practice I feel so low, but by the time we start singing I feel so uplifted. It’s the same for most of the choir. This is the power of the Gospel and this is why I love Gospel music so much. Having said that I feel that it is important to praise and encourage often.
Question: What is the defining factor of Righteous Roe? What sets you apart from other choirs?
Righteous Roe: We genuinely love what we do! We work hard and we are grateful for every opportunity that we get. The choir is made up of people from many different walks of life, not all of the members are Christian or are used to Gospel, but somehow there is such a great unity between us. Our sound is simple and soul-stirring.