GREG O’QUIN & iPRAIZE
O’Quin picks up right where he left off. We remember him showing us how to speak to the storm around us, and his new release will show us what is on the other side. He returns after eight years to let us know what life is and what life should be after the storm. Replete with messages of appreciation, praise, breakthrough and joy, AFTER THE STORM reflects the dawn of the clear new day.
“During the time between the last project and this release, God worked on me. In those years, He called me to preach and at first I ran from the call. But God stopped me and I was reminded that when I prayed and asked God for my ‘gift’ years ago, He gave it to me immediately so it was time for me to do what HE wanted me to do. I never stopped writing or being creative … but I dedicated the time to doing Kingdom business – worked on the church and on me. I have a new glow because of the time I spent doing exactly what God asked me to do,” O’Quin explained.
The new album, AFTER THE STORM, has the passion of ‘old-school gospel’ with the energy and relevancy of ‘new-school’ R&B. Emotionally charged, the album offers 15 diverse tracks – from the brand new lead single “Lead Me Jesus,” to the reggae bounce of “Pray,” to the ingenious “Say A Little Prayer”; all perfectly-executed songs drawn from O’Quin’s musicality and his innate ability to connect with people through simple and heartfelt lyrics.
“On this project, I was able to write deeper in context to offer what I call Reality Worship Gospel,” said O’Quin. “This genre of gospel music reflects a worshiper that is going through a storm, yet determined to get a praise through in the midst of that storm. Their breakthrough is engineered and manifested by their worship. Now I know there are people out there who are saying ‘God I love you right now and want to praise You – but I’m struggling, I’m having a hard day.’ People need something more than traditional praise and worship to help them get through … to help them figure it out.”
An industry veteran, O’Quin had been making music and recording since 1992 and came to the attention of Ruben Rodriguez, CEO and founder, Pendulum Records last year. Rodriquez re-launched his groundbreaking label in 2007 with the gospel debut of Grammy Award star, Regina Belle. Proving his commitment to Gospel music, Rodriguez heard O’Quin’s music and saw the potential in this outstanding release. “Greg is an exceptional artist/musician/producer and man of God. I’m excited to welcome him as a new member of the Pendulum Family,” said Pendulum Records CEO & Founder Ruben Rodriguez. “We are off to a great start with ‘Lead Me Jesus’ which was #1 most added at Gospel Radio for multiple weeks and Top 20 in just three and a half weeks. All signs are pointing to ‘Lead Me Jesus’ being a top charting song. The soon to be released album AFTER THE STORM is an amazing body of work that glorifies and praises God and sheds light for which to see your storm through. The songs are compelling and real.”
“I have been signed to major labels and have worked with incredible people. This partnership I have with Pendulum is the summit of my career,” said O’Quin. “I love Ruben and his staff… and I regard him as a living legend. He is the perfect hybrid of old school and new school. Pendulum represents the way records use to be made and now the way records will be made. Much of the paradigm shifts I have made is due to the swing of ‘tha pendulum.”
O’Quin known best for the ubiquitous single “I Told The Storm” offers a sequel to that classic hit with the powerful new song “Survivor.” Much like picking up after a season ending cliff-hanger, O’Quin opens “Survivor” with lyrics from the last line of “I Told The Storm” and continues the story of the person who went through a storm and is now on the other side of it. Using the original vocalist, P. Jacobs, O’Quin’s lyrics and Jacobs’ captivating vocals gives us another sweeping and passionate story of overcoming and making it through.
“I felt like I’ve survived a lot through my career and my personal life,” said O’Quin. “Things that should have taken me out but I’m still here because of God. I wrote ‘Survivor’ to speak to everyone that has gone through their own trials and storms. To remind them that God is keeping you for something, He is preparing you to do something for Him.”
“Lead Me Jesus” the smash first single is already a radio favorite. The single shot straight to the Top 20 and was the most-added song at Gospel radio in just three and a half weeks. A nod to a throwback sound, “Lead Me Jesus” is a down-home, gritty and bluesy track that captures your attention. Definitively Gospel, this song clearly hits home because it is the rallying call for all believers.
“I intentionally produced and composed the song as a throwback,” explained O’Quin. “I wanted it to be reminiscent of times past to reflect the struggle of our people for freedom, equality and direction while keeping it relevant to today. I wrote the song during the week that President Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States, and was inspired, knowing that our new leader does seek the direction and leadership from the Lord. In my humble offering, I hear and see President Obama saying ‘lead me Jesus, lead me!”
Storms can be anything – personal trials, loss, illness, heartbreak and a big part of the album focuses on what happens after these personal storms. “Breakthrough” embodies the unrestrained praise that happens when a person advances from struggle to triumph. O’Quin talks about his own storms, “I wanted listeners to see who I am after my own storm. I want people to know that once you receive your breakthrough (in any situation) it is our obligation and mandate from God to become a worshipper.”
“When you are going through a storm sometimes you stop doing things you normally do – sometimes you stop going to church, you might even stop praising Him, but what I’m letting everyone know is that once you’ve gotten your breakthrough – your break is through – it is time to get back to what you need to do … Go back to singing, praising and worshipping Him.”
“iAppreciate” is an exhilarating and hope-filled track that skirts the line between Gospel and R&B perfectly. O’Quin co-wrote the song with Rodriquez. The story behind the song makes the lyrics even more compelling. DonnaLiza Ware, one of two new members of O’Quin’s vocal ensemble, iPraize, brought with her the real life experience of living through a real life storm – Hurricane Katrina. “Even though we wrote the song before I met her, after hearing her story, I knew she was the person to sing on this record,” said O’Quin. “Her mother suffered a stroke during the hurricane and she lost everything … her home, her possessions … but despite the loss, she can still say ‘I appreciate You God’ and that’s what this song is all about.”
O’Quin is both musically savvy and inventive in his approach to this body of work – it was indeed a labor of love. AFTER THE STORM is a modern tapestry of Gospel music that weaves new sounds with a variety of dynamic vocalists that combined offer music that meets the needs of believers today. The emotional and deeply touching, “Convinced, is a soaring encouragement ballad where O’Quin deals with some intense and deeply entrenched issues. Family problems, self-hatred, and dysfunction – these are issues that are not often talked about and O’Quin offers something directly for the young people of today. “I really wanted to touch the young people,” he said. “I think that our young people are cursed with words and I wanted to do a song that gives them hope and lets them know there is a place for them here – on earth. I want them to know that with the Word of God alone, they can be convinced there is destiny for them.”
AFTER THE STORM is more than just an impressive collection of fantastic vocalists it is also an anthology of musical styles. A proud and power-filled ballad “God Can,” is a poignant song about God’s greatness and sovereignty and a song like the acoustic offering “iWorship” gives listeners something to chill out to. O’Quin also gives us a little smooth hip-hop on “Let It Rain.” Metaphorically, “Let It Rain,” speaks of a cleansing soft rain that washes away all our hurt and pain and asks God to rain down his favor, peace, love and joy.
Probably most unique is O’Quin’s gospel take on the campy classic “Say A Little Prayer,” the famous Dionne Warwick song. He makes it both pop and dance-y and the end result is catchy and all fun. “Nothing is off limits,” said O’Quin of the re-make. “I’m just down with a good song.”
O’Quin also transitioned his former vocal group into a newly formed ensemble called iPraize – while it’s a clever nod to today’s web-obsessed culture; it also is a true definition of who he and they are. “When I go to sing and minister, I don’t go on stage with bling and I make sure it isn’t about me … there is no ego. I wanted a label or title of what we DO on stage and that is Praise,” he said. “I praise no matter the circumstance … no matter if there is 3 people in the audience or 3,000 people … our assignment and mandate is to Praise. It represents the ‘new’ Greg.”
Bishop Greg O’Quin is the pastor and founder of The Church Without Walls Int’l, located in the suburbs of Dallas Texas.