This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. I remember singing this song as a child and wanting to let my light shine so that people would see my good works. I was thinking about this song and going back to church or as one of my students like to call it “Chuuch!” I thought about Tyler Perry’s road to wealth, fame, and a mega-following. He started out in the church; wrote a piece about the women folk in his life and has been hearing “Cha-Ching!” all the way to the bank. But it’s not about the money of course, it’s about the audience that he had when he brought his work to the people; instead of asking them to come to him. (That’s a whole ‘nuther topic altogether.)
I thought about this last month when I went to see PJ Morton, a soul-stirring, genuine, passionate and uplifting singer from Atlanta by way of New Orleans. PJ, as I like to call him, had a unique upbringing. His mother and father are both ministers to “mega-churches.” And for a while, the critics thought that PJ should sing “sacred” songs due to his upbringing. He of course challenges these critics here:
Anyway, he persevered and I truly believe his ministry in those songs of love, devotion, triumph and pain move people in ways, even if you don’t go to church on Sunday, anyone could receive.
PJ has a loyal following. He has a serious “church” following from what I’m told. A lotta “you betta sang PJ!” going on in the concert. A lotta background added vocals from his parishioners I mean, concert goers. But did he do it right? Did he start in the sacred of institutions to build a fan base? I love PJ and I’m not one of the people that he would normally see on a Sunday afternoon. But for some reason, I’m moved by his work. His honesty, integrity, redemption, encouragement and love illuminates through his songs.
I often wonder about that. How do I create an audience base when no one really knows me? Is church the option? Will my light shine bright enough for people to follow it? What do I have to say that will move people to join my vision? Now, I’m not trying to make going to church trite but most of the plays that I’ve seen lately have a very large church member following. I just want to know how do I get people to hear my words, believe in my passion and support me the same way many artist in music and theater have? Help me out here. What do you think? And in the meantime, I’m going to work on my vision. Someones gotta hear me. “If you build it, then they will come!”