Gospel music has come a long way since its emergence in the early 17th century. Every day, new artists emerge with fresh sounds to spread the gospel. Although the industry has gone through a lot of changes over the years, the message has stayed the same, but so have the struggles. While gospel artists often inspire and uplift us with their music and messages, they also face several unique struggles that are not always widely discussed. Disclaimer: These struggles don't apply to every gospel artist, and some may find ways to overcome these challenges with resilience and determination. Here are 10 struggles that gospel artists might face:
Despite their talent, many gospel artists struggle financially, especially those who are not as well-known. Considering how little a stream costs, they may have difficulty generating a steady income from their music and ministry. As a result, a significant number of gospel artists need to balance their music careers with 9-5 jobs to make ends meet. This can often be a struggle.
Balancing Ministry and Personal Life
Several gospel artists dedicate their lives to ministry. This can sometimes lead to challenges in maintaining a healthy work-life balance and nurturing their own spiritual well-being.
Criticism and High Expectations
Gospel artists face high expectations from both fans and their religious communities. Both parties sometimes forget that these artists are human beings, prone to mistakes, and thus harshly criticize them for any perceived deviation from religious norms including the style of their music, their appearance, or even perceptions of them "selling out" to mainstream trends.
Some gospel artists might feel pressure to conform to these expectations, whether from fans, church communities, or the industry, potentially leading to struggles in maintaining their authentic artistic expression.
Gospel artists often feel the weight of creating music that resonates spiritually and emotionally with listeners, which can lead to creative blocks and performance anxiety.
Mental Health and Burnout
In comparison to the 17th century, more Christians lead with grace, but some gospel artists still find it difficult to express their struggles when they're expected to be role models of faith. The pressure to maintain a positive and uplifting image can lead to burnout or worse, emotional and mental health challenges.
Limited Mainstream Exposure
The way is and always has been narrow. Gospel music often struggles to gain the same level of mainstream exposure as other genres, which can limit opportunities for gospel artists to reach broader audiences. Gospel music might not receive the same level of industry support and promotion as mainstream genres, making it harder for artists to reach wider audiences.
Navigating Secular Influences
As gospel artists seek to evolve and remain relevant, they may grapple with incorporating modern musical elements while staying true to their faith and message.
Competition and Comparison
Even though we do not like to admit it, the gospel music industry like every other industry can be competitive. Some artists may compare themselves to others and struggle with feelings of inadequacy.
Navigating Changing Music Trends
The music industry is ever-changing, and for someone who just wants to make music that glorifies an unchanging Jesus, it may be hard to keep up. Staying relevant while maintaining the core message of the gospel can be challenging.
What can you do as a fan to support?
Shedding light on these less-discussed issues can help foster a deeper understanding of the complexities faced by gospel artists in their pursuit of sharing their faith through music. It's important to recognize and support gospel artists in their struggles. Looking for ways to support your favorite artist?
You could interact with their posts on social media; share their music with friends and family; support them financially; purchase their music and merch (if any); and just simply show love whenever you can. To all artists that have stuck with this genre against all odds, know that you are special, and we love and appreciate you. Please keep going!
Did we miss any struggles you may have faced along the way? Please share in the comment section!