NEW HAVEN – There aren’t too many 53-year-old Pentecostal preachers who can say they’re about to release their fifth album.
Bishop Kenny Peeples of Blessed Trust Ministries Inc. just might be the only one. He says his new record; Masterpiece is his best work and expects it to hit CD Baby and iTunes any day now.
He calls himself a “pastor’s pastor” and said Blessed Trust is his focus, but loves sitting at the studio his late father bought him and putting music together. Like his other albums, Peeples, who drives a public school bus part time, wrote his own lyrics, recorded each instrument and all the vocals himself, compiling the entire album on his own.
Oh, and he produces his own music videos too.
He’s always had zeal for music and in 1979 moved to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career where he met celebrities like Susan Richardson (Eight is Enough), Mabel King (The Wiz), Ralph Carter (Good Times) and Mary Wilson (The Supremes).
“God blessed me with a lot of friends,” he said.
But the late Mabel King is perhaps who had the biggest influence on the bishop. Peeples said he needed to recharge and was encouraged by King that it was OK to go back home to Connecticut. She reminded him, he said, that he could do the same type of work as a musician on the east coast, that he was doing there in the west coast.
So in 1989 Peeples moved back to the Nutmeg State where he became the regional director for the Universal Zulu Nation, an ecumenical organization that used hip-hop music to fight crime and violence. It was at Zulu where Peeples became ardent about community service.
“It changed my worldview,” he said.
In 1997 Peeples left the organization to pursue a ministry career. That’s about when he began Blessed Trust, a ministry that now oversees congregations worldwide, including believers in Kenya.
His music, Peeples said, is a multimedia component of his ministry.
“I’m trying to reach young people, but there’s something for everyone,” he said about Masterpiece. “Music brings everyone together, that’s why we call is gospel.”
His new album, though, can’t be categorized strictly as gospel. Peeples says it’s borderline hip-hop. It includes spoken word, re-made Negro standards and a variety of other songs.
He hopes to tour the state this year promoting the album, which is currently available for $10 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org (the price will increase slightly when it hits iTunes).
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