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Hicks set to record first album

Gospel singer Bemeché Hicks is making his dream come true.

Recording his first gospel album, Hicks is set to perform a medley of gospel hymns during a live performance at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Appomattox with recording artist Dorothy Norwood and other special guests.

Hicks, the minister of music at Mount Zion Second Baptist Church in Green Bay and at First Baptist Church in Victoria, began his gospel music career at the age of 8 by singing in the choir, according to a press release issued by Hicks.

According to the release, Hicks, now 55, began taking piano lessons from musician and retired educator Mary Foster-Smith and became a musician for Calvary Baptist Church in Burkeville at the age of 14.

Eventually, Hicks’ career took him to New York and New Jersey, where he worked on off-broadway shows and taught gospel music and piano at the Harlem School of the Arts while working full-time as a special events and marketing coordinator and performing on the weekends.

During that time, he won a number of awards, including the New Gospel Artist of the Year Award at the Gospel Music Showcase in 1996.

While in New York and New Jersey, Hicks said he was approached several times and asked if he had an album, responding then that he didn’t feel the timing was right.

“I always had an idea to do a recording; I always wanted to record from the time I got out of high school, but I felt I wasn’t at that level yet,” Hicks said. “Over the years as I got older and matured more in the music and grew stronger in it and my faith … I began to pray and ask God to guide me and the timing to do this, and sure enough the answer came to me that it’s time to do it.”

Hicks said he reached out to recording artist Lee Walker, who was immediately on board. Hicks then called his friend Dorothy Norwood, who offered to put him on her record label, agreeing to sing on the album.

“Immediately I went into celebration mode,” said Hicks. “So, it was really public demand that pushed me to do this recording, but all the other things were already in place and had been in place, I just didn’t use them at that time, really.”

Hicks said the album will feature eight gospel songs recorded during the live performance. He is also considering recording two additional songs in a recording studio in Lynchburg, but has not made a final decision, he said.

The songs on the album will be gospel songs and hymns, including two pieces written by he and Walker, titled “Arise In Me Jesus” and “But God.” The album will also include two contemporary songs.

When asked why he wanted to record his first album live — an arduous task even for those experienced in recording an album — Hicks said he likes the atmosphere.

“I wanted to do it live for the spiritual aspect of it,” he said. “I get my energy from a live audience; I can perform better before a live audience. Spiritually, I wanted to do it in a church setting because the atmosphere is more conducive to worship.”

Zion Voices will provide background voices on the album and will be performing two songs for the DVD that will also be recorded.

Hicks said he hopes to record more albums and work on additional projects in the future.

The performance and live recording will be held at New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Appomattox on Saturday, May 6 at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m. For more information, call the church office at (434) 352-7339 or (434) 392-6433.