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MUSIC BUZZ: Deitrick Haddon: "We're Losing a Generation of People"


In an insightful interview, Deitrick Haddon chatted with about his new CD, "Church on the Moon," and why gospel music is losing its relevance to millions of young people. "You should be able to play my record next to Drake, Rihanna, Lil Wayne or whoever else," says Haddon, referencing some of today's most popular artists. But he makes one thing clear... the message of the gospel must never change.

On working with wife, Damita:

Oh she’s my better half – we are one. She thinks just the way I think so I can literally turn her loose on a song and she’ll just write. She’ll write the whole song if I don’t stop her [Laughs] and then it will come out the exact way I wanted to articulate it. That’s the beautiful thing about having a soul-mate and having someone who really knows what you’re trying to accomplish and convey.

On traditional versus contemporary gospel:

I think it’s important to keep the music relevant. When you think about gospel music you don’t equate that with relevancy. You think of the old sound – Shirley Caesar, Mahalia Jackson and the old traditional sound. You even have young artists in gospel music that are still producing that old sound because that’s what we’ve made them to believe that gospel music should sound like. To me, you can’t put God’s music in a box and say that’s the way it’s supposed to sound. It’s almost as if you put yourself in a time machine and you miss so many young people because they are disconnected because that’s not the sound this generation can relate to. It’s important to me that my music stays relevant – the beats have to be hotter than anybody out there. You should be able to play my record next to Drake, Rihanna, Lil Wayne or whoever else.  I love fresh sounding contemporary hip-hop music, so it’s going to reflect in my presentation of whatever I do. It’s important to me to keep the message in there because I want to help people. I use the beat to lock them in but I put that message in there to help them build their lives. We’ve lost a lot of fans in gospel music overall because we refuse to stay relevant. The only way to really connect is to put out something they can really get with which is hot beats and a crazy hook. I don’t see why you can’t have hot beats and a crazy hook in gospel music.

On respecting gospel music:

We have to respect our own genre the way other people respect our genre. We don’t know just how much people appreciate our music. We think because we’re gospel singers that we should be in the back or something, I don’t know. But people respect those who are bold enough to share their beliefs and their faith. I think the one thing we need to do is start respecting ourselves and stop making ourselves second choice and change our mentality about our genre. Number two, I think our program directors on all these radio stations need to change up their style to connect with the generation now to be relevant. We’re playing this old music and young people are not listening to it anymore – I’m not even listening to it anymore and I love gospel music. When I turn on the radio I want to hear something that’s connecting with something right now in society and in the world today. If you’re trying to take me back to those old days then I will turn it off.


Deitrick Haddon embraces a perspective more in line with what EEW MAGAZINE BUZZ editors believe. There is nothing wrong with a contemporary sound, as long as the message of the gospel is going out to the world. Being modern and relevant in our approach is crucial to converting young people who are deep into hip hop and pop culture. But, if we lose the potency of our message, the hot beats and hooks don't have the power to save souls.

Interesting interview. You can read the rest at


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Reader Comments (9)

I think this is a great interview. But I don't think everyone is into the alternative sound of hip hop. To each his or her own, but we all have to do what God is calling us to do. Shirley Caesar's ministry is for someone just like Deitrick Haddon's ministry is. God can use traditional and contemporary gospel. Just saying.

April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I grew up in the church but gospel music isn't all I listen to. When I turn on my gospel music I like to hear hot beats and hooks, but I feel like gospel music is stuck for the most part. The indie gospel artists I'm bumping in my ipod are producing the kind of music I like but radio gives them no love. That's why black gospel radio is drying up.

April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTasha

I don't have a problem with hot bets and hooks as long as the message is on point. So I totally agree with that

April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamal

I think the church is missing the opportunity to be relevant in many ways and we are losing the kids. I think this is on point.

May 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKLove 77

I feel torn about this whole issue. Sometimes I think we assume that every kid is caught up in hip hop these days and that's not true either. When it all comes down to it Jesus can reach anybody. What kind of music you do should be a personal choice and conviction but it's not fair to make a blanket generalization about what ALL the kids like these days. Just sayin' *shrugs*

May 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterButterfly Mommy

i didn't grow up in church but once i got to know jesus i was looking for some music i could relate to. i can't speak for anyone else but that's how i felt. sorry about typos, i'm sending this from my b-berry.

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShea

Relevance is so important!! I agree 100% and I don't even bother listening to godspel radio because they only play that old traditional stuff. I have my iTunes playlist so I can hear what I want to hear, whenever I want to hear it. But Deitrick is right. Good interview.

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

I am a traditional girl all the way. There are a few modern songs I like but I enjoy a good choir song from my girl Beverly Crawford!

May 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDorine

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December 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrmmfb trmmfb

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