*Hezekiah Walker has experienced some major developments since the release of his last album nearly 5 years ago.
He became Bishop of the Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ Fellowship, providing leadership to more than 30 churches around the country in addition to the Kunjalo Diocese in Cape Town, South Africa that he oversees – all while remaining Senior Pastor of his thriving Love Fellowship Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York and Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He’s also became a mainstay on New York radio where he hosts a popular mid-day show for WLIB and a Sunday morning show for WBLS. Most recently, he created the Azusa Next Generation conference that brings together the nation’s most prominent pastors, speakers and worship leaders, ultimately revitalizing a defining moment in the Christian faith. The next conference will be held May 19 at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York.
With each of these developments, Walker is motivated by his commitment to Kingdom relevancy. “One must continue to evolve so that the Kingdom can stay fresh, exciting and most of all relevant,” says Walker. He pours this passion for Kingdom relevancy into his upcoming album “Azusa The Next Generation”, being released June 11 on RCA Inspiration.
“This project honors the legacy of hand clapping, foot stomping Gospel music and also provides a next generation swag that creates a foundation for where Gospel music can go,” says Walker. “It has a variety of styles, and the collaborations really make it stand out. It is a next level project for me and, I think, for Gospel music.”
Azusa is cited as the catalyst for the charismatic movement in the United States, and had two significant phases. It began in 1906 with an unprecedented, powerful revival held on Azusa Street in Southern California then, in the 80s, was introduced as a conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that featured dynamic preaching and a who’s who of Gospel artists. The artists would record together at the conference and, with “Azusa The Next Generation,” Hezekiah Walker revisits that spirit of collective worship. The album features guest appearances by Timiney Figueroa; Deitrick Haddon; John P. Kee; Donnie McClurkin and Brian Courtney Wilson. Walker’s robust Love Fellowship Choir is also featured prominently, and is expanded here to comprise the 500 voice Azusa Mass Choir.
“With the collaborations, I wanted to let people know there are artists out there who love choir sounding songs and who don’t mind singing choir songs,” says Walker. “Part of my musical mission is reminding people that choir music is not going out of style, ever. When you have vocalists like these who love choir music, it will always thrive.”