London teenager Zoe Oputah will make her recording debut after winning a national gospel talent competition, raising money, support and awareness for the anti-poverty work of UK-based international development agency Christian Aid.
Ms Oputah's breakthrough comes with the forthcoming release of Acoustic Gospel Volume Two produced by Rockhill Music. It comes out on 17 November 2008.
At 16 years of age, Zoe is the youngest artist on the album to write and perform her own material with her track entitled 'All that I am'. Her inclusion on the album is as a result of winning Harmonise, a gospel competition run by Christian Aid in April 2008, which attracted entries from across the country and saw Zoe beat 35 other acts.
The album features 18 new tracks presenting the best of British gospel, from soulful jazz, to folk guitar music, combining traditional gospel with an eclectic mix of modern beats. Artists include Bianca Rose, Four Kornerz, GKReal, Paula Wallen, MoTru, Hillsong Church London, opera singer Abigail Kelly and award winning actress Ayodele Edwards. The album also features new songs from great songwriters including Israel Houghton and Peter Wilson, keyboards from the legendary Luke Smith and the renowned guitarist Femi Temowo.
£1.50 from the sale of every CD will be donated to Christian Aid and will be used to help fund local partner organisations across Africa that specialise in helping to improve the lives of children.
Zoe, who is a member of the World Evangel Choir in Bermondsey and youth choir RaRe, has been singing since she was seven and composing her own music since the age of 11.
In addition to appearing on the album Zoe will be working with Christian Aid as a youth ambassador, representing the charity at various live events and festivals throughout 2009.
Zoe said: ‘I entered the competition firstly as a challenge for myself. I knew that I'd probably be the youngest person there with the least experience, but I saw that as a positive thing, a tool I could use to build up on myself as a performer and minister.
‘Also, I joined because I love Gospel! I love being around people who share my passion and who I can gain from as well as share with. I was elated to have won as the standard of the competition was very high. I’m still getting used to the idea actually!’
Acoustic Gospel Volume Two will be available to buy or download from www.acousticgospel.com for £10. A free download of Zoe’s track All that I am (Hookmasters 2009 Remix) will be available on the site from 17 November. The album can also be bought from high street retailers including HMV and Wesley Owen.
Jahaziel, winner of the Best Gospel Act at this year’s MOBO awards said: ‘Great UK artists, great music and an even greater message. What more can you ask for?’
MOBO winner Beverley Knight added: ‘Everyone knows that I like to support young UK talent and so I am happy to support Acoustic Gospel Volume Two. As well as the great gospel singers on the record £1.50 from the sale of each album will go to children’s projects funded by Christian Aid, so here’s hoping people get behind it.’