Grammy Award winning choir director and church pastor Hezekiah Walker has collaborated with Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy and Whitney Houston; recorded more than a dozen chart-topping albums and become the face of the black Gospel choir over an almost three decades long career. In speaking of his 14th CD, “Azusa The Next Generation,” Walker is philosophically pondering the past generations of believers who influenced his life – like the late Bishop Kenneth Moales (to whom the CD is dedicated) – while also imparting the wisdom of those elders to the next Azusa generation through his music and mentoring.

The first Azusa generation was that pioneering multi-racial sect that gathered at a rundown horse stable at 312 Azusa Street in the heart of a Los Angeles ghetto in spring 1906. There one-eyed preacher William J. Seymour kicked off a Pentecostal revival that lingered for almost 10 years and gave birth to a national Pentecostal Movement espousing a holiness lifestyle, speaking in tongues, faith healing and admonitions of an impending Rapture. In a manner, Walker is repackaging this faith that kept him during his adolescence and making it relatable to today’s youth.

Walker hopes “Azusa The Next Generation” creates a global response among today’s faithful and he unselfishly allowed both seasoned and rising songwriters to contribute to the project in order to craft the right songs to convey this message. Many of the choir members attend the Brooklyn, NY-based Love Fellowship Church he founded in the early 1990s.  Once the songs were chosen and taught to the choir that now numbers close to five hundred members, they went into the studio to lay the tracks.

Walker recruited a diverse group of Gospel artists such as Deitrick Haddon; Donnie McClurkin; Brian Courtney Wilson, and John P. Kee to help create this universal sound. “These guys bring an element that is relevant but they also bring something to the table from each of their unique foundations,” Walker adds.

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