Kevin Whalum was born and raised in Memphis, TN. He was reared in the church his father pastored named, Olivet Baptist Church. It was there where his love of music was nurtured, as the musicians and singers there were the very best the city had to offer. “Our dad was always fine with us listening to different genres and styles of music.” Kevin says. “At home, my brothers and I had everything from Edgar Winter to Cannonball Adderley. We had everything from Sly & the Family Stone to Al Jarreau.”
One would imagine, however, that Kevin is best known for his stellar work with Kirk on his brother’s gospel series entitled, Kirk Whalum, The Gospel According To Jazz, Chapters 1-4. Chapter One was released in 1998 to critical acclaim, and it put Kevin on everyone’s radar with his medley take on the Negro spirituals, Wade In The Water/Motherless Child. It broke new ground in gospel. No one had tried anything that daring vocally in the genre’ previously. When he and Kirk performed the song later that year on the Stellar Awards broadcast, the audience gave them a standing ovation. That was a pivotal moment. “Yeah, that was special. I knew I was in front of some gospel purists who believe gospel should be one thing and one thing only, but I reject the notion that praise for the Almighty has anything to do with a certain group of chords, or a certain rhythmic pattern. Gospel is defined as the good news, and as long as that is what fills my heart as I perform, that is what will exude from me as I stand before God’s children anywhere in the world; in churches or nightclubs. They will feel me if they allow themselves to, and aren’t too busy judging me because I sound a little different than what they consider gospel. If you love Jesus as I do, you will feel me.”
If Chapter 1 was Kevin’s introduction to gospel music fans, then, Chapter 2 was the solidification of his presence. That release spawned the remake of an old Johnny “Guitar” Watson classic called, I Wanna TaTa Ya, Baby from the 1970s. Kirk has always left Kevin alone to choose the songs he wanted to record on each volume. “Kirk trusts me to provide him with solid ideas for covers, so I said we should take that song and rename it I Wanna TaTa Ya, Jesus. Our ‘thing’ is to take established hits from artists who didn’t necessarily write them for a gospel audience, and flip them on their heads, so I rewrote the lyric to change TaTa, Ya to mean Thank Ya, and boom…people loved it. That song was released in 2003, and yet it is still requested everywhere from Dallas to Tokyo, and from Stockholm to Cape Town.”
Chapter 3 is responsible for bringing in the R&B fans among the Whalum brothers’ audience. For this live recording, Kevin chose a song by the late Luther Vandross called, Make Me A Believer. He would be joined on it by the now 3-time Grammy winner, Lalah Hathaway. The song was a runaway hit, and was nominated for a Stellar Award for best video in 2008. Again, Kevin rewrote the original lyric to suit its new purpose, and found massive critical and commercial success. “Lalah and I are good friends, and we had an absolute blast singing together. She’s such a singular talent. I knew it would do well, although I had no idea it would do what it eventually did.”
Chapter 4 is the latest installment in the series, and it promises to be as noteworthy as the previous three.
Kevin now has three solo albums under his belt: the self-produced solo debut, Timetable (2002); the George Duke-produced, One Life To Love (2008); and the new self-produced, I Live For You (2016). Although Kevin eschews any effort to force him into a category or genre’, he freely admits to defining himself as “primarily a jazz vocalist who just happens to be a Christian”. He exhorts, “I hope I neveragree to be just one thing. A true artist never wants that. I have been-and will remain-free to explore the musical universe. There’s too much out here to stay locked into one soundscape forever. Music is big, but Jesus is infinitely bigger. I want to touch his face with everything he puts in my heart to do. I hope people find my new record, I Live For You, refreshing, and dare I say it, groundbreaking.”
Grammy® Award winning producer Andrew Gouché has completed his long-anticipated debut album, We Don’t Need No Bass. With over 30 years of experience as the bassist for many R&B and Gospel legends as Prince and the New Power Generation, Gladys Knight, Andraé Crouch, The Winans, and musical director for Chaka Khan, his project speaks to his Gospel roots but showcases a broader musical gift blending Jazz and R&B into a soulful variety of songs. Although a self-proclaimed church musician, Gouché shows the world with this album that he is much more, as We Don’t Need No Bass reaches out to music lovers of all ages and genres.
A world-renowned bassist, musical director, producer and composer, he is best known for his creatively original bass lines and a unique sound that bass players around the world have sought to emulate. His distinctive sound is the core of the Andrew Gouché signature line of bass guitars. Having graced the cover of Bass Player Magazine and industry interviews over the years, he has been tagged as a Gospel legend.
Coming from a musical family, the Los Angeles native started out singing in the church choir where his grandfather was the pastor and his mother the lead singer. At eight years old he took up the trumpet, which he played for 7 years, until he discovered the bass guitar at age 15. Then it was clear, Andrew had “truly found what he was meant to do in life.” He continued to hone his skills while playing with Rev. James Cleveland in the late 70’s on numerous live and studio recordings. International tour bookings with Andraé Crouch, The Winans and The Hawkins Family soon followed. His standout performances ushered in a new rhythm to Gospel songbooks.
A true pioneer, he has made an indelible mark on the history of Gospel music with the addition of bass guitar when there was none in church. Today, bass guitar is a must-have in churches across America. He has paved the way and inspired today’s generation of Gospel and R&B bassists.
His successful experiences in the Gospel industry eventually opened the door for his first R&B gig with Cheryl Lynn. This quickly led to a regular call for recording sessions across all genres including, but not inclusive to, Prince, Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Julio Iglesias, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Earth, Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Y’anna, Hidden Beach Unwrapped Series, Jimmy Reid, LA Jazz Syndicate, Smokey Robinson, Patti LaBelle, Judith Hill, Kirk Franklin, Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, Yolanda Adams, Dianne Warren and Heather Headley. His career has also led him to play on some of the largest world stages in television and film as, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Martha Stewart Show, MTV Awards, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Saturday Night Live, Soul Train, The Grammy Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, The Rosie O’ Donnell Show, Pat Sajak Show, The Keenan Show, Arsenio Hall Show, Command Performance at the White House with Gladys Knight, Sinbad Soul Music Festival, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Morning Show, Diana Ross’ TV Special, Amen, Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Five Heartbeats, Leap Of Faith, The Lion King and The Color Purple, and Musical Director for 10 yrs of The Mc Donalds Gospelfest.
His professionalism, exceptional musical ear and creativity naturally evolved into music production. He found success in this arena as a contributing producer on the Mary Mary debut album Thankful when he was awarded his first Grammy® and later as a 2008 GMA Dove® Award nominee for Traditional Gospel Album, after producing numerous records for the Gospel Music Workshop of America and many other individual artists.