Singer and actor Rachel John became a West End sensation when she appeared in smash-hit musical Hamilton and received a nomination for a prestigious Olivier Award.
A Christian since childhood. Rachel has long held an ambition to record a gospel album at the headquarters of the church denomination she was raised in.
Rachel realised this ambition during the pandemic when West End and Broadway performer Ramin Karimloo suggested she record a live album at the New Testament Assembly, Tooting, London. Her debut gospel album From My Lips to God’s Ear is the result and features her performing gospel songs that she has listened to and sung herself throughout her life.
Rachel commented, “I am so excited about this release. It contains some of the songs I was raised with including classic hymns which were sung during worship services and prayer meetings at the church of my childhood, the New Testament Assembly, Leyton. These songs have a special place in my heart and it was such a pleasure to record them.”
Songs featured on the album, released on a new label, Westway Music, include classics Blessed Assurance, How Great Thou Art, and When I Survey The Wondrous Cross.
The album was recorded live at the New Testament Assembly, Tooting. A setting that Rachel loved. She said, “Not only did I get to sing my favourite songs for this album, I recorded the songs live, as myself. As an actress, when I sing on stage it’s always in somebody’s else’s character, and as much as I love my work, it was just good to be me whilst singing on stage for a change, singing songs that I love and which have had a great influence on my life.”
Rachel is a versatile performer and has appeared in many successful theatre shows over the past 17 years, ever since she made her West End debut in the Disney classic The Lion King. Rachel went on to play major roles in We Will Rock You, Sister Act, Memphis, The Bodyguard, and The Girl from The North Country. But it was in December 2017 when she opened as Angelica Schuyler in the original West End cast of Hamilton, that her career went to a new level and she became a theatre star. She is also a part of the worship team at the church she attends.
Neil O’Brien, Managing Director of Westway Music, said: ‘I was introduced to Rachel last year during lockdown by Ramin. When I watched the film and heard the music and saw Rachel’s performance, I could hear a great album and we set about working to make it something that would really do justice to the performances. The album has been mixed by Tim Hamil under the guidance of our A&R Director Rhydian Roberts and we believe we are releasing a stunning debut performance that demonstrates just why Rachel John is one of the leading vocalists of her generation and someone we know will shine brightly in the future.’
Members of Britain’s gospel community are excited about the album’s forthcoming release.
Bishop John Francis, Senior Pastor of Ruach City Church said:
“Rachel is one of the UK’s finest. She sings these songs with a rich, smooth tone which will soothe your soul and bless your life.”
Muyiwa Olarewaju, Station Director of Premier Gospel and Presenter of International TV show Turning Point said
“This album effortlessly blends classic gospel lyrics and chords with contemporary production. It’s a Sunday morning must have and will see you through the week too.”
Author, gospel promoter, and Music Consultant Roy Francis said:
“A very engaging album, with many well-known songs performed with a deep sense of spiritual integrity and faith.”
Juliet Coley, presenter of legendary gospel music show People Get Ready said:
“Rachel has an excellent voice and it was good hear her unique interpretation of hymnal classics.”
It’s Rachel’s desire that the album fills people with hope, provides inspiration and encouragement, and gives them a taste of the music that has been a major influence on her life.
Written by: Marcia Dixon