GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MICA – THE STORY OF GOSPEL MUSIC IN SIX SONGS
British soul singer Mica Paris was brought up on gospel music and sang in church from an early age. In her teens, she became an international star, singing pop and soul and having worldwide hits. Now though, Mica is curious about the origins of the songs she sang so easily as a child, why some of her contemporaries have returned to their gospel roots as well as thinking about her own faith and her own big teenage decision to leave the church and sing secular music.
Mica revisits her childhood church in Lewisham to start exploring the meaning and origins of these famous gospel songs. She examines songs such as Amazing Grace and discovers the complex reasoning behind the words. She sings with The Kingdom Choir, made famous by the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, and travels to the cotton fields of America, where gospel was used to make the work of enslaved Africans more bearable.
She meets the choir at Fisk University in Tennessee, who formed just after slavery was abolished and sang for Queen Victoria, and finds herself overwhelmed by her emotions when she finds out how the slavery freedom fighters used gospel to communicate.
Mica also delves into the history of Sam Cooke and Thomas A Dorsey, who both encountered tragedy in and out of the church, and she sings with bluesman Jools Holland to contemporise a favourite gospel tune.
Finally, Mica comes right up to date with the music of current artists, such as Stormzy, who have no fear of church versus secular music, are open about their faith and are combining the two with great success.
Presenter Mica Paris
Director Guy Evans
Exec Producer Angela Ferreira
Douglas Road Productions
BBC TV 60 mins 2020
"I’ve had the pleasure of working with many cameramen over my long career.
But Ian’s lighting angles was just exceptional!
It is so great when you can relax when filming knowing you can trust the cameraman.
Thank you Ian Watts".
Mica with musician Jools Holland
“Soul singer Mica Paris used Stormzy’s triumphant Glastonbury performance last year to bracket the story of gospel, picking six essential songs, such as Amazing Grace and Oh Happy Day. Mica ended with a hefty plug for her latest album, which was taking advantage somewhat. But she’s forgiven, for including the sublime Sam Cooke singing Touch The Hem Of His Garment. She argued that Cooke’s civil rights hit, A Change Is Gonna Come, was gospel of a sort, too. Amen to that.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail
“This excellent documentary charting the history of the genre, from the cotton plantations of the 19th century to Stormzy’s performance of Blinded By Your Grace Part II on the Glastonbury main stage last year may go some way to change that.
Paris was an open book during the journey, telling stories of her childhood and her own experience with abandoning gospel music for the pop charts. The BBC would do well to keep her on speed dial” ★ ★ ★ ★★
Emily Baker, The i
“…she’s made the definitive gospel music documentary full of detail and resonance– everyone can relate to these songs. Hearing her sing brings a warm shimmer to the soul, it seems particularly fitting that this program should come out just post-lockdown. Watch it, and even though you might not be religious, you understand why churches need to open.”