Undeniably, Bishop Hezekiah Walker’s signature sound has set an international standard in gospel music. Walker, the multi GRAMMY® Award-winning, newly inducted Gospel Music Hall of Famer, continues to uplift the masses from across the globe with inspirational songs that focus on maintaining faith and overcoming life’s daunting moments through his new release, ‘Azusa The Next Generation 2 – Better’.
“It’s been an amazing journey thus far in my music career,” says Bishop Walker. “I feel honoured and blessed to be able to remain relevant and put music out that reaches the heart and moves the soul. Certainly God has favoured me.”
‘Azusa The Next Generation 2 – Better’, the 15th album of his career, has a relevant fresh feel that showcases impeccable tracks produced by Walker and the multi award-winning Donald Lawrence. Bishop Walker presents the Azusa Choir, along with musicians from around the world. ‘Better’, the first single from the release, is a motivating and inspiring song that has impacted music lovers from London to Johannesburg, and from Tokyo to New York City. Bishop Walker felt compelled to record the song after he found an impactful Scripture in Ecclesiastes 7:8 that helped him overcome moments of uncertainty and feel comfortable about his present situation, knowing that the end of the bad times is near and ‘Better’ is coming.
Once recorded, the uplifting and inspirational song compelled Bishop Walker to spread this message across the world. He travelled from his home base of New York, across the Atlantic to film the video for ‘Better’ in Italy, France, South Africa and Japan in one week! No matter the country, city, state or province, Bishop Walker is breaking through racial, cultural and language barriers in an aggressive endeavor to communicate inspiration and a celebration of faithful endurance.
According to Bishop Walker: “‘Azusa The Next Generation 2 – Better’ is another expression of how I feel about my heritage that dates back to the 1906 Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California. Not only do some of our greatest premier preachers of today stake their claim to fame back to that revival, but many of our greatest gospel artists and musicians have linked the stability and fame of gospel music back to this same Azusa Street Revival.”
‘Azusa The Next Generation 2 – Better’ is infused with an urban contemporary sound, mixed with a down home gospel feel. In each song, Bishop Walker strives to inject a message of hope into humanity. He not only wants to inspire churchgoers, but also non-believers in the song ‘God Is For Me’, featuring Patrick Dobson.
“A lot of people feel like God doesn’t love them or hates them or isn’t concerned about them,” Bishop Walker said. “You’ll be surprised by the people who are afraid to come to church, because they feel like the church is going to burn up and fall down if they do. But I want to show that God is for you.”
In ministering to the millennial generation, Bishop Walker puts the focus on another life — the afterlife. Instead of solely pursuing a fruitful life on earth, he reminds listeners on ‘Living to Live Again’ that the end goal is to ultimately reach Heaven. “We’re so busy living for today, but we have forgotten that there is a tomorrow,” he said. “We are living to live again. We’re not going to church just to be better people. We’re not turning our lives over to Christ to live a fabulous life on earth. But there is life after death. We believe in Heaven. We believe that one day we are going where Jesus is. I wanted to put that back into the hearts and minds of people.”
The song ‘Holding On’, featuring Carl Thomas, encourages the listener to ‘hold on’ and fight through the trials and tribulations of life in the 21st century. “I could have turned to a life of crime, drugs or whatever,” he said. “But I remembered what my mom told me. She said ‘Make sure you hold on to your faith! People may leave you but God will never leave you.’ I held on to those words and, after all these years, He has never forsaken me nor has He ever turned His back on me. That’s my encouragement to everyone: hold on because it will get ‘BETTER’.”
2016 marks 30 years in the music industry for Bishop Walker. He has earned multiple music awards and two GRAMMYS® for Best Gospel Album for ‘Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College’ in 1994 and ‘Love is Live!’ in 2001. Walker was recently inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame. “It’s a major accomplishment,” said Bishop Walker, who is also known as ‘Hez’ to friends and family.
“This album is infused with the foundation of the past and the relevancy of the present. The sound that you will hear on this album is no different from the sound that they heard back on Azusa Street. My prayer is that it sparks the same kind of revival throughout the world, as many hear and listen to the songs of ‘Azusa The Next Generation 2 – Better’,” says Bishop Walker.
Bishop Hezekiah Walker is the visionary, founder and Senior Pastor of the Love Fellowship Tabernacle Churches in Brooklyn, New York and Bensalem, Pennsylvania USA.
By Milton Allen, Global Music Link – Special to Keep The Faith, UK