Home Gospel Music News Vashawn Mitchell is “Unstoppable”

As Told To Torin Derek


Root: Explain the process of creating your 7th Album

VaShawn Mitchell: This record is my first concept record. I have titled many records, but this one is titled “Unstoppable” I wanted every message, song and record to lead to that place that someone can be encouraged lifted and inspired. I want people to know that whatever they desire or whatever God has for them it can be done. If God gives the vision, He will provide the provision. That was my encouragement in presenting the record. I had a few problems and issues myself, as I went through a major back situation and was threatened to have another back surgery, but I realized through talking with my chiropractor and through prayer that God is not through with me yet. Nothing is going to take me out right now because God has more for me to do. This record is coming from a personal place as well as watching what’s happening in the world with the Ferguson case and other things.

I remember my single “God, My God” came from a place of back in the day when my grandmother raised me and my great-grandmother would come over. Whenever something would happen I would ask my great-grandmother “What’s wrong?” and she would answer “Mmm, God, My God.” I believe we’re in a place where we have to get to that place. What that meant to her is no matter what she sees or what she endured, she still trusts in her God. This whole has a fresh sound and brings us back to a place where we may experience some difficulties, but we still say, “God is still God”.

Root: Is the situation with your back apart of the 18- year journey your bio talks about in the process to create “Unstoppable”?

VaShawn Mitchell: It sure is. I say 18- year journey because it started in the 90’s when I first began to record and people started to recognize that I could write and sing a little bit. Over the years I recorded a few projects in Chicago that had minimal success and then I began to transition to Atlanta, Georgia. Recently before I started this record, I was reading the book “Instinct” by TD Jakes and realized how much that book relates to my life. I didn’t have a plan or any family in Atlanta, but I felt something telling me that Atlanta was the place to go. When I got there, I started as a Minister of Music at a church and was still kind of lost. One day I wanted to go home and I almost drove back home twice.

Then, in 2009, I had a situation with my back and immediately had surgery because I wanted to travel. Ever since that surgery, I had a couple of relapses, which resulted in going back and forth the doctor. Last year, the doctor wanted to do another surgery to correct what happened before. My chiropractor said, “If you don’t want another surgery, pray to God.” That reminded me of everything that got me here because of prayer and mediation with God. It’s apart of my testimony and it is who I am. I have to say that ever since then, it has gotten better and surgery is not an option right now. Although the doctor said to go to the gym and do therapy, it was really when my mindset changed that I realized I am “Unstoppable” because God is who He is. One of the first scriptures we learned was “The Lord’s Prayer”. One part of the scripture says “…on earth as it is in heaven.” If God knows who we are going to be in heaven, then all we are doing is walking out the story on earth. We also learned that “All things work together for the good of them and I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” When I say “Unstoppable,” it means just that. It doesn’t mean that I’m about to fight or be difficult or go out and jump off of a bridge; but it means because God is who He is and we are who we are, that we can get through things where others can’t. We’re able to move forward when others are stuck.

Root: How was it working with the legendary Bishop Larry Trotter?

VaShawn Mitchell: It was great. I’ll say this wherever I go; Bishop Trotter is a staple in my life because he trusted me when no one else knew who I was. I was about 19 or 20 years old when I served as the Minister of Music and he let me write songs and practice with the choir every week. No one would have known that those songs would leave the church to become staples in the Gospel community. Songs like “It’s Only A Test”, “My Worship Is For Real”, “Trouble Don’t Last.” Just to know that he trusted a young guy years ago to do just that changed my entire life. It was great working with him, but it was even better that he trusted me to work with him.

Root: From one album to the next what valuable lessons have you learned as an artist?

VaShawn Mitchell: The biggest thing that I learned is as an artist much is given and much is required. We think it’s glamor and glitz by looking from the outside. We want the Stellars, the Grammy’s or what Donnie and Yolanda have, but no one thinks about what comes along with that. I’ve learned that when there’s greatness, there has to be some type of contradiction to the greatness and one of the best lessons I’ve learned is how to deal with that. A lot of it comes with the territory, but it also makes us who we are. David had it, Moses had it and Jesus had it, so we are not exempt. I think we can deal with the requirements that enable us to move forward and spread the message that God has given us. Everything is a lesson and everything is a learning experience. God has me in a place right now where I can teach others not to make the same mistakes that I’ve made, as I learn from my success and failures.

Root: What caused the shift in your musical direction for “Unstoppable?”

VaShawn Mitchell: Right now, I have served as a Minister of Music for years and I have recently went back to school for Music Business. What I’ve realized for the past five to ten years is that the dynamic of church and people going to church has changed. Some people are going to church for the first time so we were kind of creating a sound that would reach everyone. I stayed with my formula of Gospel Music, Inspirational Music that is VaShawn Mitchell because I am not trying to be anyone else. I purposely combined the sounds of Gospel, Christian, Urban and Contemporary that would meet the needs of everyone. Someone might like “God My God” because they need that right there and someone else may be into “Holding on to You” for the message but it’s the beat the gets them going. The entire project is to grab more than one generation and embrace generations to come.

Root: What caused you to start the Norman Youth and Arts Foundation and what was the purpose behind it?

VaShawn Mitchell: My mom was a teenager when I was born in the 70’s and my grandparents raised me. My grandfather’s name was Norman and he passed in 2000. A slogan we had back in the day is “It takes a village to raise a child.” I had church and preachers, but I also had my grandparents, aunties and uncles who would drop me off at the school bus and things of that nature. I believe that it is because of those mentors and that village that sees a VaShawn Mitchell today. Regardless how they see me, they see me because I didn’t fall into the trap of the community because the community embraced me.

I wanted to go back to my community of Harvey, IL and assist the mayor with a program that helps with the mentoring again. Normally, we do health fairs (especially for black young men), summer camps for basketball, baseball and music camps. We’re actually branching out to do more mentoring around the world with my partnership with Big Brother, Big Sister. I don’t want to be tied down to Big Brother Big Sister because it wasn’t the program that did it for me, it was the mentors in the community that we want to bring back again. The whole concept of the Norman Youth and Arts Foundation is mentoring, supporting those summer programs and those after-school activities that kept us off the streets and out of jail. I believe I love music so much because there was a Gospel choir at the school and an after-school program. That way I was able do what I love to do versus getting caught up in the streets.

Root: What is your purpose behind being an Artist?

VaShawn Mitchell: My purpose on earth is to be a worshipper and to birth worship. Far beyond that, my purpose as an artist continues to grow, as I became more of an artist. In doing that, my purpose begins to change. As of right now, my purpose is to be a light, be an example and not to be contained to a box, but understanding there is no rules in how we present this Gospel.

Pick up Vashawn’s new album “Unstoppable” IN STORES and ONLINE on Monday, November 10th!

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