Gene Moore shares favorite voices, debut process & surviving Hurricane Harvey. | @_genemoore
Joining the ranks of preeminent male vocalists in Gospel, like Smokie Norful, Ted Winn & Isaac Carree, a small company of crooners that exhibit impeccable tone and texture with every note, a VIP class of vocalists beyond the velvet rope restricted for unrivaled tenors, comes a newbie to the fold, Motown recording artist Gene Moore. This Houston native has earned his stripes over the years, singing as a background vocalist for some notable names.
After learning from a few of the greats and gaining necessary confidence along the way, Gene has finally found his own voice and launched his long-awaited release entitled, The Future. This melodic mix of songs highlights the genuis of Moore’s mesmerizing voice. It’s a perfect adage to Soul and old school music made insanely popular by Motown. BlackGospel.com shared a short conversation with Gene about a few of his favorite voices, his patient process to the debut and surviving Hurricane Harvey.
Christopher Heron: You’ve contributed to so many other artists, as a vocalist. From Kirk Franklin to Indie Arie. Why did it take you so long to work on your project?
Gene Moore: Well, I look at everything as God’s timing. In all the years that I’ve served as a background singer, it taught me a lot about professionalism, stage, confidence, and audience connection. I feel the time was right when I got the call from Motown which was about 4 years ago. They gave me the opportunity to sign with them. Onnce I was on the label it took another 3 years, because the label wanted to cultivate a certain sound for me. Personally, I wanted to do something a little different, artistically.
In Gospel music, these days, it’s either Praise & Worship, Quartet, Sunday morning, or Urban contemporary. There’s nothing wrong with that because I love all kinds of music, but I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder. So I went to the heads at Motown and said, ‘’This is Motown. How can we take elements of that old Motown sound and turn it into a Gospel sound and mash it all up together?’’ So, it took us years to come up with that sound and I think we came up with a pretty good balance.
Christopher Heron: Who are two artists from back-in-the-day or even currently, who inspire you when you hear the color, texture and tone of their voices?
Gene Moore: Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder are my two all-time favorites. Also, when I was 17, I started singing background for Kim Burell. And I believe almost every singer in the world will say that KimBurell is one of the greatest. So I started out just listening to her, and learning from her and her approach. I’m not saying that I sound like Kim but I would say she was an inspiration.
Christopher Heron: It’s such a blessing to come from the same city as Kim Burrell and sing under her tutelage. Back then, did you know that you were in the company of greatness?
Gene Moore: Absolutely! Back then the world didn’t know but Houston knew it. Everybody knew that one day the world is going to know the name Kim Burell. I‘m just honored to say that I was in the presence of someone who is, in my opinion, so legendary and influential for so many vocalists, not just Gospel but secular as well.
Christopher Heron: If there was a particular female vocalist from any era that you can do a duet with who would be that vocalist?
Gene Moore: I will probably say 1989, Whitney Houston.
Christopher Heron: That’s a very good answer. But why Whitney, ‘89?
Gene Moore: I believe that between ’89 and ’90 she was really at her prime. Whitney Houston was always one of my favorites. No one in that era could sing like her and she had so many different textures to her voice. She could sing soft, she could open up and really go big. She could sing at a midrange and sound good, at high range and sound good. There was no part of her voice that was unpolished. So, if I could just turn back the hands of time, I would go back to 1989.
Christopher Heron: Gene, as a Houstonian, I need to know how Hurricane Harvey affected you personally and what lesson did you take away from it?
Gene Moore: You know what, Chris, I’m don’t want to become super-deep when I say this but it was such a reminder to me that God’s grace truly is sufficient. We see it in the scriptures and we hear the preacher preach about it but to actually walk through it. Just to give you a quick back story, when Hurricane Harvey hit, I was stuck in my house for 3 days straight and I was running out of food. It was literally to the point where I just had to eat potato chips and water just to survive. All the roads were flooded. You couldn’t get out of your house and even if you tried to walk, there were no stores open. It was like living in a desert and I had nothing to eat. But my power didn’t go out. Chips wasn’t the kind of food that I would’ve loved to eat to fill my stomach, it was enough for me to survive.
God’s grace is truly sufficient. Grace may not cure the problem but grace gives you the power to navigate through it. And I can honestly state that God’s grace was so sufficient for me and my house, which didn’t get damaged. My family was safe. It was a lesson that storms are only temporary. Hurricane Harvey lasted 3 days and it seemed like 3 years. That’s how a storm is. A storm impacts so hard, that you’re like, “I can’t even take more 5 minutes of this. Get me out of here.’’ Even in our daily walk as Christians, storms come but they go and we have the power to recover.
Christopher Heron: Let’s put the storm behind us and now focus on the future, literally. Your album is aptly entitled, The Future. What is the message in the music your hoping to leave, as they face their own storms in life?
Gene Moore: I intend for this album to minister to everyone. It’s kind of like Paul The Apostle. He planted and others watered but God gave the increase. So there may be an audience of people who may not connect with my music, and that’s fine, but whoever can connect with it it’s just my prayer that this album would encourage. Just to give you a quick back story about my life, I struggled with suicide and depression at one point and that’s where the song Recover comes from.
It’s just my hope and prayer that anyone who hears this album, particularly the song, Recover, whatever they’re in bondage to, whether it’s drug addiction, depression, a bad relationship or mental anguish, whatever it is, it’s my prayer that when they hear this record that bondage will be lifted and they will feel encouraged. That’s what I want my listener to leave with…and I want them to dance a little bit too.