Norris Garner
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Norris Garner

Berkeley, California, United States | INDIE

Berkeley, California, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD Review: Norris Garner - He's Blessing Me"

Some independent productions ought to remain independent. Others, however, are deserving of major label attention and wider distribution. Norris Garner’s He’s Blessing Me belongs in the latter category.

He’s Blessing Me is a superb project. The title track not only has hit potential, but the composition was featured on the PBS documentary American Roots Music. In the documentary, Garner is teaching his song to the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in New Orleans.

“Magnify Him” is a workout that introduces us to the project’s surprise treat, the magnificent Nikita Sutton. The crystal-clear quality of Sutton’s voice appears on the sonic horizon like a brilliant shooting star, and on “Angels Watching Over Me,” she really works her magic, though the arrangement of this classic is not my favorite (it’s hard to top the Angelic Gospel Singers’ simple but effective version).

“Oh How I Love Jesus” and “I’ve Come to Praise the Lord” are performed movingly by the group in the old time way, with “I’ve Come” an electrifying elaboration on the Biblical Gospel Singers’ 1960s hit for the Peacock subsidiary, Song Bird. It is the song you will want to play over and over again.

Garner clearly knows how to prick the hearts of gospel fans and newbies alike, having even made his mark as a performer and workshop instructor in Poland and Scandinavia. In fact, there’s a photo on Garner’s website that shows him working to a Polish or Danish crowd. The young, largely stoic faces seem incongruous at a gospel concert, but faintly blossoming smiles on some of the audience members give one a sense that Garner is getting through.

The production quality of He’s Blessing Me is crisp, and the song choice and placement is thoughtful and deliberate. I sincerely hope a major label picks this production up, and that Nikita Sutton makes her mark as a solo artist a.s.a.p.
Posted by Bob Marovich - The Black Gospel Blog

"Norris Ganrer Holy Ghost Praze Party"

Born in North Carolina but now a resident of California’s Bay Area, Norris Garner is a choir man. He has written, sung with, accompanied, directed and taught choirs at the Gospel Music Workshop of America and the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses. He directs the Foothill College Gospel Chorus in Los Altos Hills and regularly goes overseas to teach gospel choruses abroad.

So it’s no surprise that his CD Praze Party is chock full of choir sounds…an eight-person choir, mind you, but voices powerful enough to fill the recording studio with wall to wall harmony.

The album is bookended with celebratory somgs – praise party music, of course – most interestingly “I’ve Come to Praise the Lord,” an uptempo choir workout. The middle of the CD focuses on slower praise and worship songs, including a pastoral “My Soul Says Yes.”

Garner’s penchant for taking gospel global is evident in the fact that four of the thirteen tracks on Praze Party, including “God Is,” have some level of Caribbean flavor in the beat. Some will remember “God Is” from his performance of the song, as “God Is in the Sanctuary,” with the GMWA Mass Choir in Milwaukee (2005).

A roster of gospel artists lends its talent to Praze Party, including regular Garner collaborators John Tillery and Dr. Clarence Eggleston. Alfreda Lyons Campbell gives a nice soulful treatment to “Holy Is the Lamb.” Another female soloist, Nique Earnest is Garner’s latest “it” girl, with shades of Mary J. Blige in her sassy delivery. Earnest gives top performances on every song on which she is featured.

Garner’s sons (Joseph and Jeremy) are also part of the production, contributing the impressive holy hip hop title track. True to its sub-genre, “Praze Party” concentrates on born-again salvation from an unsavory lifestyle that is spiraling downward. It’s a message you most often hear from hip hop artists and quartets, and not as frequently anymore from other parts of the gospel spectrum.

Garner wrote or arranged all of the songs on Praze Party. His songwriting focuses on simple-to-remember melodies and uncomplicated praise lyrics, very likely the product of his experience teaching choirs world-wide. All in all, a very nice listening experience.

Three of Four Stars
- The Black Gospel Blog

"Interview with Norris Garner"

Christopher Heron: Norris, let's begin with your ministry. Share with us a little about your upbringing...your family, your world as a youngster and your love for church. How did this love for music and ministry first begin? And when did you begin to sense a divine calling to apply your anointing to the work of God?

Norris Garner: I am the baby boy of 8 children, 4 girls and 4 boys born in Roanoke Rapids, NC to the late Evangelist Olivia Garner. Being the baby boy, you know what that meant in our house. Mom always had one of the other seven to stay home and watch me. (Babysit your baby brother). I did and lived like most children at that time except, I was with my Mother in church almost every Friday night for prayer meeting and for sure all day on Sunday.

My Mom, Evangelist Garner, would do about three services every Sunday. I’m sure you’ve got it by now. We were a hand clapping, foot-stumping church. Sometimes we would travel for miles to a little tiny church way off the main road. The people were waiting for my Mom to get there; she was their guest speaker for the evening. Everybody knew that when my Mother got to the podium, five things were going to happen:

1. She was going to sing you happy.
2. Preach you happy.
3. Pray and lay hands on everybody in the church, including me.
4. Sing you happy again and
5. Before she would take her seat, she had to get her dance in before going home.

WOW! That was Mom almost every week. So you can see the love of the church is just in my bloodline, I can’t help myself. Mom explained to me that while she was carrying me in her womb, she prayed daily asking God to place a special anointing on my life. She shared with me how up to the time of my birth, she continued to preach Revivals, singing and dancing all over the church. God has put an aching in my heart, mind, body and soul through my Mom to do ministry. I do try to keep quiet but sooner or later, the praise in me will get loose.

I really started to realize the anointing and the gift of ministry in my life when I was in my teens growing up in Washington, DC. When I attended church, I would try my best to sit near the organ or the piano. My feet and hands would move every time the music began to play. I would stand by the instruments and sweat, as if I was really sitting at the organ myself just playing my heart out…what an experience!!

I knew there was something in me that wanted to get out, but I was too young to fully understand what it was. As a child, I didn’t know what I was feeling. One day, at the age of about 15, I was sitting at the piano and there was no one in the house, just me. I was playing one of my compositions titled “I Am Saved” and, I can’t explain it, but I began to speak in tongues. I was crying and trying to stop, but I couldn’t stop. When I came to myself, I was laying in front of the piano where I was seated. To this day I can still feel that presence.

CH: You’re a prolific songwriter, gifted musician, and charismatic director. The gifts first nurtured in your childhood church are now an instrument for soul-saving and spiritual transformation. Where do you feel God is urging you to apply your gifts? And how did this leading of the Holy Spirit bring you to Alaska and the recording of The Alaskan Project?

NG: This is the time for the world to witness and be a part of a life changing experience in Gospel music as never before. God is calling and using musicians, singers, and song writers from all over the world in a unique way to bring healing, love, strength, hope, joy, and peace to hurting people all over the world. God is using us to carry his message in song to the people of every nation. I am very proud to be a part of such a movement as this.

Going to Alaska was indeed a divine appointment. We had no idea what God was going to do during that week in Fairbanks, Alaska. My sister in Christ, Brenda Burks, introduced me to her brother in-law Minister Anthony Buie. He had never heard of me or of my music ministry. Even I, didn’t know the extent of the ministry “Together We Stand.” I got it now. Wow! It’s a powerful message for the world. Not until I landed at the Fairbanks Airport, did Minister Buie share with me that he knew this was a divine appointment. So from Alaska, to the Lower 48, to the world, “The Alaskan Project: Together We Stand” was born.

CH: The Alaskan Project is an amazing, awe-inspiring release that ministers both to the senses and the spirit. But in your words, how would you describe the sound and spirit of the anointed release?

NG: From track 1 to track 11, the listener will find him or herself inspired and uplifted. The project has a fresh sound with new and original compositions. The title track “Together We Stand”, sends a message to the world that you are my brother and you are my sister. We are one, standing strong, Lets Stand Together! Track 1, featuring Stellar Award winning song writer, Isaiah Thomas singing “Jesus We Lift You Up” will get you up and ready for a “praze” party on any day of the week. This project is packed with the best production work and arrangements.

No we didn’t have Mr. Kevin Bonds nor Mr. Donald Lawrence as producers. But out of Oakland California, attending the home church of Mr. Bonds came Mr. Robert Anderson. He is one of the best producers and arrangers of our time. From Alaska to the Lower 48 to the world…Listen up, Robert Anderson is for real… got the hit; Just keep your ears and eyes open. Every track was recorded on protocols system. (Power House)

The Alaskan Project is so powerful it has wakened the dead, meaning the saints and those who walk around with their heads down. The track “He Restored Me”, with Jena Buie, will get you back in the saddle. This is indeed an anointed project with some of the best songwriters in the world. Church choirs and solo artist will be singing these songs for years to come.

CH: Alaska seems like an odd place and an unlikely location for a Gospel music recording. What made Alaska the right place and this recording the right tool for ministry in America in 2008?

NG: It was just the right time Chris. We loved the country’s northern most state Alaska. Remember this Chris, the scripture behind Together We Stand is… Psalms 75:5-6 “Promotions comes neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South, they come from the North, the Heavens. I believe it was divine for many reasons, but it’s just like God to take that which we see as being odd or strange and use it for his glory. God gave Minister Anthony Buie, in Fairbanks Alaska a message to give to the world. TOGETHER WE STAND.

It’s time for America to turn back to her first love, God. It’s time for families to come together; time for us to come home and stand together. We as a people need to take care of each other. We as a people have the power to change the world. It has been my life’s dream to uplift, motivate, encourage, empower and make a positive impact in someone’s life.

I am blessed to be a part of Together We Stand, for we share the same vision. WOW! We are on a Divine Assignment. It is my hope that we take this vision to the world. Not just another song; not just another concert; not just another music workshop, but the message that was penned by Dr. Clarence Eggleton of Berkeley, CA: “You are my brother; you are my sister Lets Stand Together.” Together We Stand is for the world.

CH: You’re a veteran musician who’s traveled the nation and the world. How would describe the spirit and soul of Alaska? And what elements of the Alaskan experience, the Alaskan culture and the Alaskan soul were you able to capture in this awesome recording?

NG: I must say Chris. I worked very hard while in Fairbanks with this project. But on Friday night, I received my reward for all the hard work when the anointing filled the house. I was good to go then. We had Pastors, choir members, musicians and concert goers, which is what Together We Stand is all about. Just people coming together to Stand Together For A Miracle of Kindness.

God showed up just in time. My most unforgettable moment was at the end of the concert. I was sitting stage left, getting a little rest. A young man and his family spoke words of life to me. The young man told me thanks for the worship experience, he also stated that he was going back home (meaning back to his church with his family). He stated that he was going to be the man and the head of his home. He also said that he is supposed to lead by example. Now Chris that is what “Together We Stand” is all about. That just gave me life again. That was a powerful moment for me forever.

CH: This album brings a host of talented artists, musicians and ministers. Could you highlight who are some of the psalmists, minstrels and ministers who poured their talents and prayers into this project?

NG: We had guests from the Lower 48 to team up with some of the gifted musicians and singers in Fairbanks Alaska. All of these singers and musicians made this project a success. Special guests included Isaiah D Thomas, Dr. Clarence Eggleton, Vanessa Williams, John Tillery, Pastor S. Anthony Justice, Valerie Johnson, William Taylor and Greg Hunter just to name a few. I can’t forget Brother Josh doing the house sound with Studio House North doing the recording, Paris Hollins the engineer. All of these people and more worked hard in putting this project together.

CH: Together We Stand seems like such a poignant and timely message and title for a song and album, given the recent victory of President Barack Obama. What was the concept in naming this album, Together We Stand? And how does this message connect with today's historical events?

NG: As I stated earlier Chris, this is a Divine appointment. The vision was given to Minister Buie in 2001, I’m just one of the people God has sent his way to take the vision one more step forward. This project was recorded in October 2007, long before the Democratic nominations. Yes this is a timely message to give to the world. Together We Stand will be the title of many projects to come.

We will be taking this to the world…The California Project: Together We Stand…The Washington DC Project: Together We Stand…The New York Project: Together We Stand. The vision is very strong and positive. It’s not about church or denomination. It’s all about God and Country and the world. Together We Stand is a symbol of Unity. Together We Stand is bringing families back together. Together We Stand is building relationships. Together We Stand is winning souls to Christ. Together We Stand is respecting each other’s differences. Together We Stand is not political or cultural. Together We Stand is about God and Country.

CH: And finally, what is your hope and prayer for the person who listens to this blessed album or the theme song, Together We Stand?

NG: My prayers are that all who listen will receive the message and live by the message. Chris my hope and prayers for this project are being unfolded as we speak. With no national distribution and no radio air play, people who have received a copy of The Alaskan Project, at a concert or through a friend have sent emails of “praze” and hope. It is my prayer that people will come together and putting aside their differences. TOGETHER WE STAND.


Norris Garner is known as an International Gospel Music
Songwriter Composer, arranger and Producer.
Just a Few of   His Works Include:

Norris Garner Presents
High School Choirs
“A Legacy of Excellence”
Recorded LIVE

Norris Garner Presents
Recorded Live, Presenting Dr. Timothy D. Poston, Sr.

Artist, Dr. Clarence Eggleton of Berkeley CA.

TOGETHER WE STAND”: Featuring Norris Garner & Friends.

Recorded by GMWA Mass Choir

Recorded for PBS Television Special “American Roots of Music”

Artist, Eddie Robinson, recorded live in Atlanta, GA

Recorded by the GMWA Mass Choir, Live in Milwaukee, WI.

Artist, The Golden Skylarks of Raleigh, NC

Recorded live in Warsaw, Poland

Artist, The Triangle Youth Philharmonic of Raleigh, NC

Artist, the MLK Children’s Choir of Raleigh, NC

Recorded by the GMWA Men’s Choir  in Los Angeles, CA

Recorded by Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music Choir, Washington, D C



Norris Garner is known as an international Gospel Music song writer, worship leader and musician.
He is the writer and composer of the hit song He's Blessing Me, Magnify Him, Highest Praise, I've Got So Much To Be Thankful For.

Whether singing, playing piano, organ, writing, teaching or directing, Norris ‘ love and vigor for the Lord shines through in Music Ministry. His music reflects his personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Born in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, to the late Mr. James and Olivia Garner.
Norris started developing his musical gifts over 25 years ago. While yet a teenager in Washington, DC Norris began writing songs and singing in the church choirs.

With only a few music lessons, he continued independently to study and compose gospel music. Norris has written, recorded and produced many songs that are being sung by choirs all over the world, which has given him a national profile as well as a reputation for quality and excellence in Music Ministry.