VaShawn Mitchell & Friends
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VaShawn Mitchell & Friends


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"Believe In Your Dreams"

There are certain artist that can get my money without me having to hear a sample of their latest project. VaShawn Mitchell is one. Having two independent projects under his belt and several songs on projects from everybody and their mama, VaShawn has quickly become one of my favorite artists. This latest release finds him on the Tyscot record label. The same patented grooves and signature ballads that he's become known for are here. Believe in Your Dreams features a guest appearance by Evangelist Monique Walker on the moving track Your Tears Have Paid Off. Don't sleep on this one! PICK HITS: No Way, Dreams, Good News, Grace and Mercy, Lost In His Presence, Your Tears Have Paid Off

"VaShawn Mitchell Believe In Your Dreams"

Pursuing dreams without hesitation, then handing them over to the Lord, can magnify them beyond any shortcomings. As VaShawn Mitchell listened to sermons regarding dreams, he eventually took pen to paper and wrote the title track to his latest CD, Believe In Your Dreams (Tyscot Records).

Whatever the audience, regardless of age or church background, this multi-faceted Chicago native’s songwriting (What’s To Come Is Better Than What’s Been, Harvest) seeks the highest potential for the saints - as long as God is in control.

After writing his first songs in 1996 at age sixteen including It’s Only A Test, doors opened quickly. Two years later came Mitchell’s solo project featuring The New Image Chorale, So Satisfied, followed by a series of recordings via a long association with Bishop Larry Trotter and the Sweet Holy Spirit Church (SHS), where he presently serves as Minister of Music. His behind-the-scenes mastery as writer/producer has graced recordings by Angela Spivey, Smokie Norful and Pastor Nancy Wilson, who recorded Designed For Worship through Trotter’s Utopia Music Group.

Ushering the masses in this live recording from SHS, Where The Praises Are bounces freely with ingredients designed to break shackles or any hardware: “Who the son setfree is free indeed” (John 8:36). Rasean Buckley takes the solo reins.

For conquerors in Christ, check No Way. Again the song turns to the Word: ”No way no weapon that’s formed shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17), is amplified by the choir’s relentless approach during the vamp, “no way, it just won’t work.”

The title track breaks down the essence of fulfilled dreams such as, “dreams take time to grow.” Jacob Bates drops a sweet-as-sugar solo turn.

Besides dreams there is a Destiny. This energetic number featuring The New Image Chorale, waves bye-bye to our pasts and taps into God’s promises.

An updated but penetrating arrangement of the spiritual Ain’t That Good News, retitled Good News, focuses on the backing choir’s slow roll which oozes out all claims to the heavenly side: “gonna' take it home to my Jesus.” While the sopranos take the melody, the alto and tenor shadow closely, leading to a shattering climax.

Grace And Mercy always provides sources of comfort as we journey through life’s obstacles. Lead vocalists Curtis Brunson and Betty Lott pass their uninhibited enthusiasm onto the congregation, transitioning into Chicago Bump where the feet take over from what the mouth may not be able to convey.

The mood drastically changes as the choir settles into a quieter frame of mind for at least the first half of Lost In His Presence. Enter Anita Wilson who shouts out her intentions when acknowledging the Master: “Don’t nobody bother me.”

All Hail The Power, a hymn rarely recorded these days, is given a straight-ahead but soulful reading by Markeyta Sconiers. Sconiers also takes a solo on the full throttle, Clap Your Hands.

Whenever life seems sour, S.O.S. states its no use to rely only on our strength. Besides, the Provider has everything we need and Mitchell making intense pitches to the congregation in that regard. And in our sorrow, God unveils joy everlasting. Your Tears Have Paid Off showcases a premier vocalist from Hezekiah Walker’s Love Fellowship Choir, Evangelist Monique Walker.

Some of Mitchell’s premier compositions comprise the closing Encouragement Medley.

Many of SHS Church’s finest are assembled from band to vocalists. The band, directed by Rick Robinson and featuring Maurice Fitzgerald, Joey Woolfolk and CD co-producer Calvin Rodgers, intersperse funk with gentle undertones. Even though the soloists are uplifting for the most part, the strongest vocal performance belongs to Walker with a voice that roars yet demonstrates a calm demeanor, when necessary.

In a live worship environment, continuity also plays a key role and there are a few miscues with premature fadeouts. But between VaShawn Mitchell’s insightful songwriting and impeccable worship presence, this dreamer already has his future set on encouragement and excellence for God’s extended family. -


Chicago’s Vashawn Mitchell is no stranger to the Gospel industry, being a heavy contributor to the past three releases from Bishop Larry Trotter and the Sweet Holy Spirit Choir, penning hits such as "It’s Only a Test", "What’s To Come is Better Than What’s Been", and "My Worship is For Real".

Mitchell builds on that experience and submits a 17-track offering titled Believe In Your Dreams, on Tyscot Records. The recording is sweet, and features some of the year’s best music.

One listen to the opening track, "Where The Praises Are", and it’s easy to hear the signature sound that Mitchell helped to create with Bishop Trotter and Sweet Holy Spirit. While Mitchell adequately handles his lead vocal responsibilities, he allows the strength of the project to rest on his capable songwriting and arranging ability. The end result, much like contemporaries such as Kirk Franklin and Donald Lawrence, is a musically diverse and rich effort that makes an immediate impact.

This is evident with his presentation of the classic spiritual "Ain’t That Good News". The remake, arranged by Lawrence, is simply titled "Good News" and is masterfully presented. It’s easily instant vintage.

Mitchell’s diverse writing ability shines like new coin on this effort. From encouraging ballads such as "Dreams", and "Your Tears Have Paid Off" (which features Evangelist Monique Walker) to the pure funk found on tracks like "Destiny" and "Grace and Mercy" to the worship-filled "Lost In His Presence" and "All Hail the Power", Mitchell proves that he can do it all.

Of course, he’s helped by enlisting an all-star team of vocalists including Malcolm Williams and Voices of Great Faith, The Swift Mob and The New Image Chorale (with whom he recorded his previous album, So Satisfied from 1998, on Manatee Records).

In addition, Mitchell is joined by a musical dream team, which includes Maurice Fitzgerald (bass), Joey Woolfalk (lead guitar), Calvin Rodgers (drums), Phillip Feaster (keyboard), Rick Robinson (keyboard), and Brian Lofton (organ). This crew lets loose and takes you straight to Sunday morning on the reprise of "Grace and Mercy" and "Chicago Bump".

Vashawn Mitchell proves that dreams indeed can come true, and makes an indelible impression on this release. Definitely a project worthy of addition to anyone’s collection.

""Gospel's Ones To Watch" VaShawn Mitchell - PROMISES"

His Tyscot Records debut, 'Believe in Your Dreams' spawned several hits including "No Way" and "My Worship Is For Real." The CD's title track was recently used during an episode of the NBC drama 'Friday Night Lights.' As a songwriter and producer, Mitchell has crafted hits for Smokie Norful, Karen Clark Sheard, Lucinda Moore and Angela Spivey. This summer he'll unveil his sophomore CD, 'Promises,' which features Kim Burrell and was recorded live at Apollo Theater Chicago.

Jawn Murray
Entertainment & Lifestyle Columnist
AOL Black Voices
"BV Buzz" Column
AOL Black Voices: Entertainment - AOL Black Voices


Believe In Your Dreams 2005
Promises 2007



If the foundation of a thing is indicative of how far up it is going, VaShawn Mitchell is about to soar! In this culture and time where everything happens fast, Mitchell is only in a hurry about one thing, taking care of his Father’s business.

Having grown up in the south suburbs of Chicago, Mitchell comes from a region that brags great songwriters and ministers of music. His professional music ministry journey began at the St. Mark Baptist Church where he served along with Lonnie Hunter for six years. While in college he landed at Bishop Larry Trotter’s Sweet Holy Spirit Church. He served there as an Assistant to the Minister of Music beginning in 1997 before taking over the Music Department in 2000. As he readies for the dawning of his next project Promises, one need only look at where Mitchell has been to see where he’s going.

When he began serving in the Music Department at Sweet Holy Spirit he had no idea that he’d eventually transition to the role of head honcho. “I never was looking to do it, but I think I was being prepared to do it for a long time.” Having obtained a degree in therapy and youth work, he was always led back to music and church work. When Bishop Trotter asked him to take the helm of the Music Department, Mitchell was ready, though not necessarily seeking the post. “It wasn’t something I endeavored to do, but something I was destined to do.”

He had already released his first personal project with the New Image Chorale in 1998, but the acceptance of the role meant putting his personal recording career on hold. He agreed to switch focus to build the music ministry of the church before reentering the industry as a solo recording artist. This might have been a little easier if he hadn’t already tasted success and delivered chart-friendly hits “Only A Test”, “Don’t Last” and “My Worship Is For Real”, but wisdom, maturity and humility enabled Mitchell to hold his own reins and to do the right thing for the season. “As an artist who is also a Minister of Music, it can be hard to put yourself on hold, but it’s easy when you know that if you are to grow in your calling, you have to first focus on the vision of the Church”.

It is this maturity and focus that solidifies the platform and bolsters Mitchell’s sure success. Youthfulness aside, he attributes this maturity to the Word of God. “I understand that there is a prophet of the house who gives vision and direction and that everything flows according to that vision. We have to go back to the Word of God and understand the Levites were not meant to fight but to prepare the atmosphere for the army to come in behind them. We have to carry the second man’s anointing and understand the pastor is the set visionary of the house, and our job is to put the legs to the vision.” After about five years of focusing on the vision at Sweet Holy Spirit, Mitchell was released to resume his recording career. His debut project on Tyscot Records in 2005, Believe in Your Dreams was the dawning of a new day, and he continues to lay the foundation of his multi-faceted ministry of singer, songwriter, producer and minister of the gospel.

After years of preparation, many months of prayer and consideration and after receiving release from his Bishop he is soon headed to take on the fresh task of serving as Minister of Worship and Arts at New Birth South, located in Atlanta suburb, Jonesboro, GA. Pastor Andre Landers has one of the fastest growing ministries in that area, on their hands. Mitchell, they feel, is equipped to take on the large Levitical task. Leaving his church home, he is undaunted by the change and new territory, Mitchell rests his hope on what God has promised, and expects nothing less. On his sophomore effort on Tyscot, Promises, he encourages himself while encouraging others.

Promises, takes the listener from praise to promise. Rick Robinson and Danny Weatherspoon join in at the production helm to serve up a project that is sure to encourage the soul. “Crazy Praise” opens with a bang of energetic possibility, set around just what might happen if you let go. “I Worship” takes a CCM flavored turn with an anthemic proclamation; guitar and strings ease the soulful sound of Mitchell’s mix. Delicate worship balladry on “Lift My Hands” grows and winds to full-blown choral splendor. Up-tempo gems “Able” set the stage nicely for title track “For My Good” a contemporary soul-clapper that is inherently infectious. Songs like “It Passed Over Me”, which Mitchell wrote after missing a deadly accident, courtesy of a traffic jam, speak to God’s sovereignty and his hand of protection. Kim Burrell guests spots on “Over & Over”, penned by up and comer Jason Claybourne, whose flowing writing style is perhaps the ying to Mitchell’s yang. “Testimony” is literally that, personal healing testimonies wrapped around a traditional Chicago-style vamp. The extra special energy of Angie Spivey takes things over the top!

Mitchell pens eight of the eleven