GMA President John Styll on SG
John Styll, Jesus Music pioneer and now President of the Gospel Music Association, has this to say about Southern Gospel music: [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link is broken and has been removed.]
John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, defines gospel music, not as genre, but as a huge umbrella that today covers every conceivable musical style.
He said, “Christian refers to a message to the lyrical content not so much the musical form.”
According to Styll, there are only two genres of gospel music; the black gospel of Mahalia Jackson and the southern gospel of the Blackwood Brothers.
He said those genres are still thriving today and while those sounds may be a little different, they’re both relatively unchanged.
“Southern Gospel music is mostly songs about heaven and the hereafter and a lot of black Gospel is about getting through and getting by and praising the Lord and it still is,” he said.
Other sounds have been brought into gospel music and brought under the “umbrella” by musicians from rock, rap, hip-hop and heavy-metal.