GospelChops.com was officially launched in 2004, by veteran video director, Gerald Forrest. At that time, he recognized a lack of music media coverage and general appreciation for gospel musicians and the gospel genre. In an effort to highlight the numerous musical contributions of generations of gospel musicians and educate the world about this unique art form and its history, the website was born. “I built the website based on free gospel music education content. I wanted the world to have access to this creative culture that is often hidden within the confines of the church sanctuary,” says Forrest.
After releasing many groundbreaking gospel music lessons through GospelChops.com, he produced and directed his first feature drum video, Shed Sessionz Vol. 1, in 2005. Featuring drumming icons, Tony Royster Jr. and Thomas Pridgen, SSV1 became an instant global sensation, sending shockwaves throughout the drumming industry and it literally thrust this style of music to the forefront of musical discussion. Building upon his vision, Forrest scoured the country, attracting awesome talent as he continued to release free gospel music lessons online. Surpassing expectations with record-breaking web traffic and global popularity, the GospelChops movement was born.
In 2007, Forrest directed and produced the second edition of the epic GospelChops series, Shed Sessionz Vol. 2. With an all-star cast of world-class musicians from Los Angeles to Israel, SSV2 took off like a rocket, receiving high acclaim and stellar reviews in drum magazines, drum websites, and drumming blogs around the world. With a strong buzz on the music scene, the mainstream media was forced to take note of this unique cultural phenomenon and gospel musicians around the world responded by coining the classic phrase, “Thank you GospelChops!!”
In 2009, Forrest set out to expand the outreach efforts of GospelChopsand appeal to a broader audience of gospel musicians and gospel music enthusiasts. Shining his light on gospel bass players, he produced and directed an unprecedented bass performance/instruction DVD, Bass Sessionz Vol. 1. This epic project broke new barriers in the music industry by bringing together the legends of gospel and jazz, garnering appearances by Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer, Peter Erskine, along with Grammy nominated jazz pianist, John Beasley. Gospel bass legend, Andrew Gouche, put his soulful touch on the project, creating a one-of-a-kind musical classic that has been featured in the world’s greatest music publications. “Anyone remotely familiar with the black church recognizes that we use whatever we have access to in order to make a joyful noise. Guitars, organs, pianos, tambourines, horns… I’m going to bring it all to music video,” says Forrest.
In 2011, GospelChops formed a nonprofit corporation, 501(c)(3), dedicated to enhancing the lives of at-risk children in underserved communities through music education. Support continues to pour in for the Young Musicians Program, an after-school music learning program in California, which has gained sponsorship from Marines Toys for Tots and the Google Corporation. “As music programs continue to be eliminated in public schools, GospelChops Foundation will strive to fill the void in urban communities and provide both a resource for creative expression and an alternative to deviant juvenile behavior,” says Forrest. Click here to support the GospelChops Foundation.