Hasan Green, a former independent gospel music artist, recently signed a recording contract with MYM Record Label in South Africa. His ability to gain national and international recognition is evidence of the power of social media to help an independent artist obtain a recording contract. Green used YouTube to showcase his singing prowess to the world. His work has garnered over 8 million views on YouTube, which is indicative of his success and ability to market himself as gospel music artist in an effective way. Mr. Green’s idiosyncratic style and sound have touched the lives of many across the nation and world.
When Hasan Green was a young child, Americans had an opportunity to witness his vocal talent at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. His family recognized his gift for singing at 5 years old and constantly placed him in positions where he could employ and share his singing talent. Mr. Green has been ministering through gospel music for over 19 years, and he never became weary about his dream of becoming a contracted recording artist. He remained resolute in his faith in God to grant him a recording contract at the time appointed by God.
Many independent artists surrender their dreams of signing with a professional record label when this does not happen immediately. Green’s focus was more on communicating the powerful messages gospel music has to offer and less on securing a recording contract. Whenever he was inspired to sing, he would share his performances on YouTube, and his love of singing for Jesus shines through the numerous videos he has posted.
Green’s journey to securing a recording contract offers other independent artists an important example: look for opportunities to sign with an international label and not just an American label. American independent gospel artists should seek opportunities to perform internationally. Although YouTube aided Green in gaining international recognition, he traveled to the United Kingdom and South Africa and performed brilliantly at various events. It can, therefore, be useful for independent gospel artists to see themselves as not only local and national artists but also as international artists. Since gospel music is enjoyed, produced, and recorded across the globe, this means independent artists have chances to sign with foreign labels as well as American labels.
As an independent artist, Mr. Green recorded three excellent albums–Atlantic, In Love with Music and Superstar. Each one of his aforementioned albums earned him great acclaim from gospel music fans and critics. Although Hasan has faced some negative criticism about his personal style and unique way of ministering through song, this has never stopped him from using his singing ability to proclaim the hope and promises of God, which firmly situates him within the stellar black gospel music tradition.
Hasan Green’s debut single as a contracted recording artist is “Tomorrow” (2013), featuring the Soweto Gospel Choir. “Tomorrow” is an inspiring song about how time operates in our lives and in the decisions we make.
-Antonio Maurice Daniels
Antonio Maurice Daniels is a Research Associate and Ph.D. student in Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He blogs regularly for his cultural commentary blog, Revolutionary Paideia. His works have been featured widely in academic journals and popular online publications, including Mused Magazine, Up 4 Discussion, From Ashy to Classy, The Black Man Can, Healthy Black Men Magazine, and Examiner. Follow him on Twitter at @paideiarebel.