The directive – in the form of emails, text messages and word of mouth – was urgent: to spread the word about a live recording of the gospel music industry’s biggest stars in response to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that hit the already poverty-stricken nation of Haiti, impacting an estimated three million people with a death toll some say could top 100,000.
It came from Kirk Franklin, who was moved to act while watching the horrific images broadcast on CNN Wednesday night from his hotel in Nashville. The next night he took the stage of an already planned prayer service of gospel industry professionals and insiders to make an impassioned personal plea to his fellow artists: to take part in the recording of “A Song For Pain” to raise funds to help those in Haiti so desperately in need.
“We see these people as God’s children,” Franklin said. “We want to do our part and I just want people to know that the gospel community can respond to a powerful natural disaster, and for the first time it will.”
The response was overwhelming for what Franklin had dubbed as the gospel community’s answer to “We Are the World,” with confirmations of participants coming swiftly. Yolanda Adams, Marvin Winans, Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Dorinda Clark-Cole, BeBe & CeCe, David & Tamela Mann, Vickie Winans, Donald Lawrence, Shirley Caesar, Tarshe, Dewayne Woods, Stephen Hurd, Bishop Paul Morton, Anthony Hamilton and his wife, P.J. Morton, and J.J.Hairston would participate in an endeavor that was becoming more important than the one that brought them to Music City for the 2010 taping of the 25th Annual Stellar Awards.
So committed was the gospel recording artist and star of Meet the Browns David Mann, that he and his wife Tamela stayed at the studio until 4:30 in the morning working on the track.
“It’s our chance to give back to people in need. That’s what ministry is all about,” Tamela stated, as her husband David added, “We have never pulled together and done anything like this and it’s one of those songs that really touches the heart and ministers.”
“It’s a great song,” said Verity Records president Jazzy Jordan, whose label will release the song both digitally and commercially. “This is going to be a very strong tribute effort. Kirk has really laid himself out here and the industry has responded. Everyone is donating their time and their contributions, from the artists to the engineers and the studio.”