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Grammy-award producer signs local pastor to recording contract

by Dr. Sybil C. Mitchell, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

A two-time, Grammy-award producer had just one small request when he signed local pastor and gospel musician Larry S. Lewis to his label: “Write me just one more Grammy-winning song before I leave here.”

Sure. Not a problem. No pressure at all.

Mark Goodman, twice recognized with a Grammy for his production and studio engineering skills, has worked with nationally known artists since the 1980s. It was only in 2016 that he started his own record label and recording studio, “MGP” – Mark Goodman Productions.

Lewis, pastor of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding Ministries, plays multiple instruments, writes music and has worked with some of Memphis’ best known singers. He is hopeful that Grammy-caliber, gospel music is just what he’s bringing to the label.

Lewis and Goodman’s collaborative has produced more than 20 wide-ranging inspirational numbers. From traditional gospel, to contemporary, soul-pop fusions and pure inspirational, the original creations features locally known talent lending their unique vocal interpretations.

Lewis, a retired educator, along with co-writer, singer and producer Barbara Perry, have created a body of work that MGP proudly boasts.

“Pastor Lewis has brought in some multi-talented folks to sing and play on his recordings, including long-time friends and his children,” said Goodman. “Their sound is unique and innovative, even in a field of very gifted musicians from the storied heritage of Memphis music.”

Micah Lewis on keyboards, drums and bass; Joanna (Lewis) Walton on flute and lead vocals; Stan Lewis plays acoustic guitar and keyboards;  along with Pastor Lewis on guitar, organ, percussion, harmonica and piano, brands the sound as one all their own.

Memphians will recognize the seasoned vocals of Pastor Derek Clark, the stirring baritone of Donald Thomas, the skillful renderings of Joi Ragland, and the quartet-styled singing of the late Pastor Lonnell Harris.

“We’ve been in the Orange Mound community for about 14 years,” said Pastor Lewis, making reference to Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding Ministries. “We have tutored students from Memphis City, Shelby County, and home-schooled others in math, science and English. In all those years, we’ve served free meals weekly – no fundraisers.”

Lewis, a former math teacher and professional musician, believes that God wants him to “use his gifts, talents, experience, and network of those like-minded to promote the love and will of God.”

“For me, there is no contradiction between music and ministry – Godly inspiration compels them to complement one another,” he said.

All proceeds from ministry projects go directly to the ministry. Song releases are now available for purchase at the WKU.

(For more information, visit wkuministries.wixsite.com/wkum.)

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