The Maroon Tiger sat down with Season 7 Sunday’s Best winner and Morehouse senior Geoffrey Golden, after his album release concert Aug. 28 celebrating his debut album “Kingdom…LIVE!” Gospel music heavyweights, including Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin, made appearances at the concert, and Casey J., Y’Anna Crawley, IZ and Totally 4 Him performed. Golden shared his reactions surrounding his album release and concert in the following interview:
MT: How did it feel to finally share your work with the world, especially here at Morehouse College?
Golden: It was surreal, incredible, and indescribable. Over the last year since Sunday’s Best, I’ve sung and ministered at many different venues, such as schools, churches, and concert halls, but this was probably one of the most special for me because I love Morehouse, I love the AUC, just everything that we represent. And so to be able to celebrate the release of the album with the AUC was just something that meant so much to me. Several weeks ago, I got to do my first album release back home in Cleveland, Ohio, but this one was no less amazing because it was family.
MT: What did it mean to have Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurklin, the Sunday’s Best All Stars, and other contestants from Season 7 come and support you?
Golden: It meant so much to me. Many times you know that you’re supported and you know that people love you and that people care about you, but to see that in such a tangible way was a really incredible feeling. When I think about people from different facets of my life, I had church family who were there. I had immediate and extended blood family that was there and then to have my Sunday Best family there and then, of course, these gospel icons, who I look up to and learned so much from being a young child and watching these guys and being amazed at what God was doing through them and then for them to celebrate this night with me, just to say Geoff, welcome to the gospel community, welcome to the big leagues, was really such a blessing. I actually didn’t know Uncle Donnie, that’s what we call him, was coming until he showed up that night, which was also such a blessing.
MT: What is it like to look back at your Sunday’s Best experience, see your transformation over time, and start your journey as a gospel artist in the industry during the album release concert?
Golden: You know for me, things really come full circle. I was thinking just about what God has done in my life since I got to Morehouse, having been a fan of Sunday’s Best since I was 12 or 13, and saying I would really like to go on there. And then looking to my freshman year at Morehouse when I went to the audition for the first time and didn’t make it through the preliminary audition round and then to see that next year roll around and I went to the audition and this time I made it through to the top 20 for Sunday Best. Just all throughout, there were these connections to Morehouse. So to see what God has done since I’ve been here, and even while I was on Sunday’s Best when it was time to vote and there was so much support and then to Friday night with the album being released, things just really come full circle.
MT: Was it difficult for you to open up and be transparent and vulnerable when you shared your story with everyone during the concert?
Golden: It’s gotten easier because some people say the more you share something, the easier it gets to share. When I went through the struggle I had with suicide when I was younger, it’s so interesting because sometimes we’re going through spiritual or even emotional things, we feel embarrassed to tell someone about it, even though that’s where the help is. As I begin to have victory over it, there were a couple times during that time that I just broke down and had to share with someone because it was just so much on me and my spirit. But over the last few years, I realized that some people just need to know that they can make it, they can endure. Over the last few months, the Lord really blessed me with the confidence to share that part of my story because I think that some people need to hear it.
MT: How long did “Kingdom…LIVE!” take to make and produce?
Golden: We finalized all the songs in two weeks. But the process really began in October of 2014 when I had my first meeting with the label and it was such an incredible feeling. So we began the dialogue and began to take song submissions from people we had known were great writers. In February, there was another meeting we had to finalize those songs. There were eight songs and we were waiting for those last two songs, and they were Kirk Franklin’s songs, then two weeks before the recording we finally got the songs from Kirk and it was like puzzle pieces. It was so beautiful how his contributions just added to the body of work and the night of the recording, God just really blessed us.
MT: How did it feel to be an official recording musician in a studio recording music that would eventually go on an album that would be all yours?
Golden: Some days I think I’ve grasped it and figured it out, and then other days, I’m reminded that I really haven’t. And it’s still surreal to think about how this boy from Cleveland, Ohio, who just loves God and loves to sing gospel music, just to see what can happen in a short time as you stay faithful, and continue praying and seeking God. To think about the production team, you know Kirk Franklin, who was one of the producers on the album, and then also others who are gospel legends in the industry, and they are singing, writing and playing on my record. Once we listened to the masters of the album, I was really just like, “Wow, God, you did this. You had a plan and a purpose for my life all along.” I’m just grateful.
MT: What was the vision you had and vibe you wanted for your album? And what was it like having the album release here in the AUC?
Golden: It was really important for me that my album felt cohesive, that it felt like one body of work, that it didn’t feel scattered, but at the same time it was versatile enough for different generations to be able to appreciate it. I’ve always been a church kid, so sometimes even Kirk Franklin’s music for me, which I love, has always been on the edge for me. I feel like my musical taste may be older, so it was important to me, being a part of his label, which is such an honor, to capture a sound that my grandmother could listen to the album and could get with some of the songs, that my mom and father could get with some of the songs and that my peers could as well. And I thank God because I believe that the songs that we received and the way they were produced really did capture that. It’s something on the album for everybody. I also wanted each song to have a message, so for me it was very important that these songs were heavy content that you were going to get some good Biblical, theological meat, and be more than just feel good music.
MT: What is to come for Geoffrey Golden in the near future?
Golden: Of course, we’re moving full speed ahead pushing the album, trying to take the message of Kingdom everywhere we go. I’ve pretty much traveled mostly every weekend, so I just kind of want to keep that up. Beyond that, I’m really not sure of the next step. I’ve been praying about it with graduating this year, so I’ve been thinking about grad school. I’m praying about it all and hoping I get an answer soon. But I’m really just trusting God with that next step.
MT: How do you plan to expand your ministry and your brand in the future?
Golden: In addition to singing, I started preaching about two years ago, so I do that as well. And that’s another area that I’m praying for direction as well as far as if pastoring is something I will be doing in the future. And I don’t want to rush that, it’s not something I want to rush into, but at the same time if that’s what God is calling me to do, then I want to do it. I want to start my own non-profit organization called Jacob’s Well that will primarily deal with issues internationally, missions and economic development. … Who knows, maybe after I lose this 50 to 60 pounds I can do some modeling! I learned building your brand isn’t just about singing, but you have to have various things that you’re involved in for the people and your own development.
Golden is signed with Kirk Franklin’s label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings/RCA. His album “Kingdom…LIVE!” is now available on iTunes and other music outlets.
Bria E. Paige
Staff Reporter – Features