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Southern gospel charm comes to the UK

WOMAN OF GOD: Mag Elliott feels it's important to keep a Christian message in contemporary gospel music (photo credit: Mag Elliott)

"MY COMFORT and passion is to put everything in a song. It’s like how people say laughter is like medicine – well, music is like medicine for me.”

Those are the words of Mag Elliott, the talented powerhouse vocalist from Charleston, South Carolina.

Born and raised in the South, Elliott grew up in a large family of 20 siblings and a deeply spiritual family.

“My mother and father were ministers so gospel music was natural to me.

“In fact, I have to give credit to my mother because she got me into music,” she says.

While the star grew up among many multi-talented siblings, her mother encouraged her to sing by placing her on the highest podium in the church choir. From there, Ellilott’s talent shone head and shoulders above the rest.

“My mother would tell me how good I was, but initially I didn’t believe it,” she recalls.

“So I began to practice more and started to believe in myself, and at the age of 18 I met my producer, which eventually led to me to getting acquainted with Vickie Winans and getting a spot on Bobby Jones Gospel.”

OPEN DOORS: Vickie Winans (photo credit: Vickie Winans)

Since her days appearing on the US BET gospel show, Elliott’s talent and songwriting skills have grown as a result of her experiences. She says:

“Once I matured and moved out the house, I started to have my own situations in life and understand different issues we women go through. And from that growth, songs naturally started flowing – I had more things to talk about because I had lived more of my life.”

Some of the singer’s favourite musical inspirations include Whitney Houston and Fantasia and like the late Houston, Elliott loves to embrace different genres that show off her vocal skills.

“I’ve had many different influences, from R&B to pop, and I consider myself a very versatile artist,” says Elliott.

“But I’m confident in the direction I’m going in and what I’m supposed to do. Inspiration is my genre.”

While Elliott embraces versatility and change in the gospel music scene, she emphasises the importance of maintaining the message amidst the evolving beats and melodies that signify a change in how we listen to gospel music.

OPPORTUNITY: BET's Bobby Jones (photo credit: Path)

“I like how gospel music is becoming more contemporary, but the most important thing for everyone is to remember the message,” she says.

“I don’t want us to get so caught-up in the beat in the way other genres do. We always need to stay on-message because gospel really is the good news.”

The message that Elliott aims to convey expands beyond the gospel into political territories, as she shares her thoughts on living in President Donald Trump’s America.

“I feel like we’re kind of divided,” says Elliott.

“We need more togetherness and to realise it’s OK for you to say you prefer Obama over Trump, but we can’t let this define who we are. We have to still say as a people we’re going to stick together as a human race.”

Elliott’s optimistic approach to the political mood in the US is reflected in one of the songs she’s currently recording.

"I have a song that I'm working on, Come Together and I’m just informing people that even though we’re going through different times and we have different likes, we also have to understand that unity is where strength is, and we have to remember to pray and look to God.”

UNITY: Mag Elliott (photo credit: Mag Elliott)

As well as recording tracks in America, the gospel star has just wrapped-up a gig here in the UK.

“It feels so good to be in London, and I always wanted to be international,” she says.

“I want people to hear my talent internationally, and I think it’s a blessing if you’re able to spread your talent to the world.”

Elliott recently took to the stage at UnderSolo in Camden and says she felt connected with the people who came to watch her perform.

“Whenever anyone comes to a Mag Elliott show, they have to know that God is going to be in the room,” she says.

“I like to interact with the audience, and engage with the people, so I love to talk after my show and just share ideas with one another.”

As Elliott's London visit comes to an end, she shares her plans for the next few months, including working on a brand new album.

“I’m putting it together now, and it’s going to be entitled The Return of Mag Elliott.

“I took a three-year hiatus to try and put everything together, so I want everything to be perfect and send a great message to the body of Christ."

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