BET's Sunday Best may be viewed as the American Idol for gospel singers, recently finishing its fifth season. The previous four seasons were tightly contested competitions, with a female emerging the victor each time. The young South Carolina native Joshua Rogers made history becoming the first male winner of Sunday Best in season 5. Joshua's debut CD was recently released landing the number one spot on the Gospel Billboard charts in its first week. He was in New York City performing to promote the album and was able to answer a few questions.
Andre: What do you think you gained the most out of your Sunday Best experience?
Joshua: Maturity, professionalism, and skill. That is definitely something James 'Big Jim' Wright and Kim Burrell pushed me and tried to stretch you on. The foundation is always the anointing. But beyond that you have to make sure you are still professional. It is still a business and things you can improve on, remembering it is a job. You have to make sure there are certain factors that separate you from just an average church singer and a professional gospel artist.
Andre: Did it take a while for that to consciously click for you?
Joshua: It happened when I did 'God in me'. That performance stretched me beyond the point of where I wanted to be stretched. Because I love contemporary gospel, but I am much more of a traditional gospel singer. The hand-clapping, knee slapping, 'take 'em to church' tunes.
Andre: How do you feel you have grown spiritually in this season of your life?
Joshua: I believe I have grown dramatically. Because with new territories come new enemies and new demons. Thus, with that comes the factor of praying more and fasting more. I need to understand I need to be spiritually ready as I step out into the world for warfare. Especially, being an artist now and dealing on a global scale.
Andre: How do you feel about this first album?
Joshua: I love it. I am really enjoying it. James 'Big Jim' Wright and Daniel Moore produced it, who were the MDs on Sunday Best. They really gave me a chance to personalize and put myself in the music. It made the experience really incredible. The people who have heard it love it and are already asking when the next one is coming out, so I am loving it.
Andre: How was the experience of recording a project and being in the studio?
Joshua: It was great. Big Jim is not just another producer, he is phenomenal. He made it comfortable for me and made sure I was really able to just sing.
Andre: Are there any original songs on this album?
Joshua: No, not on this one. All seven tracks are covers, full lengths of those I did on Sunday Best.
Andre: Do you write as well?
Joshua: I used to years ago, but I stopped. I am starting to get back into it though. I was so young at the time and I did not really know about copyrighting. I never knew that I might have the opportunity to actually record and sing them.
Andre: What has been your biggest surprise becoming a gospel music artist?
Joshua: Well, accomplishing that so far really. Just being able to have my first album coming out.
Andre: What are you looking forward to on the next album and when can we expect that?
Joshua: We are looking to have that out sometime in 2013. On the next album, I plan on doing something with Alexis on there. Plans are in the works to get Pastor John P. Kee as well. I might also be able to get 'Mama' herself, Ms. Kim Burrell on the album.
Andre: What song do you like the most on the album?
Joshua: My favorite song off the album is definitely "Peace, be still". Big Jim really let me put my own spin on that one. Thus, the beginning of the song sounds nothing like the original, aside from the words.