One of the pioneers of urban praise and worship music, Bishop Andrew Merritt continues to set and elevate the standard for contemporary worship music. His Straight Gate Mass Choir’s fourth album and its first in seven years, “Saturate Us” (Bajada Records) has been released and debuted at #9 on Billboard Magazine’s Top Gospel Album sales chart.
Producer Noel Hall, who has worked with artists such as Fred Hammond and CeCe Winans, produced the ten-song set that was recorded live at the Straight Gate Church. The beautiful title song “Saturate Us” is an uplifting cry for spiritual rain by seasoned praise and worship leader Jaye Thomas (nephew of music legend Nina Simone). His booming baritone has a warm rasp that wraps the listener in the passionate appeal of the song that was written by LaDon Ford and Noel Hall. View the inspiring performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAhCt0VREwM
The album also features soul-stirring solos from former Commissioned member Marcus Cole; LaDon Ford, who’s done background vocals with Yolanda Adams among others; Pastor Nehru Shumake and veteran background singer Pam English.
Bishop Merritt founded Detroit, Michigan’s Straight Gate Church in 1978. The first service was held in a storefront building with three members: Bishop Merritt; his wife, Viveca and daughter, Rachelle. Under the powerful preaching and expository teachings of Bishop Merritt, the church roll swelled from three members in 1978 (and eight church moves) to more than 6,000 members today. The first Straight Gate Mass Choir album “Faith in the House” (Integrity Media) sold over 150,000 copies in 2000. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Gospel Album sales chart and the sophomore album “Expectations: I’ll Praise” and was another Top 5 bestseller. The third set “The Holy One” (2007) was also a Top 20 hit. Visit www.saturateus.com for more information.