Gospel prodigy Geoffrey Golden, the winner of Season 7 of BET’s “Sunday Best,” has a story to tell, and it’s as powerful as his astonishing voice.
The truth is, if it hadn’t been for God’s divine grace “the Black Pavarotti”—a nickname given to him by his friend, mentor and label CEO Kirk Franklin—might not be here today to collect all of the blessings God had in store for him.
That’s because the baby-faced millennial, now headed into his senior year at Morehouse College, contemplated suicide at about 10 or 11 years old while struggling with some inner demons related to self-worth.
“I knew it wasn’t something that was physiological but truly something that was spiritual, he said of his four-year-long personal struggle. “ I did a lot of praying, reading my Word. Things I didn’t fully understand at that age but understood I needed to do.”
Through the power of God the Cleveland native’s faith in himself and his future was slowly restored. Now, a licensed minister, Geoffrey shouts – and sings – his praises from the proverbial mountaintop every chance he gets.
“But for the grace of God go I,” affirms the 21-year-old economics major of his journey through the valley.
Geoffrey’s unshakeable love and trust in God is on full display with his stunning debut, the aptly titled Kingdom…LIVE! out August 7th featuring the spine tingling first single “All of My Help.”
A heavenly mix of roof-raising praise reports and humble, altar-call-style ballads, Geoffrey strikes the perfect chord with fans via his lush, beautiful voice and big-hearted musical ministry.
“I always thought, from a young age, that one day I would become a preacher, but I did not necessarily anticipate I would sing,” he says of his preordained spiritual path. Geoffrey is on the ministerial staff of Glenville Church of Christ Holiness USA in Cleveland while also serving as the National Congress Worship Leader for Church of Christ (Holiness) USA (“COCHUSA”).
Not only was Geoffrey blessed with golden vocals, he was born into a musical family—his great-grandfather was a jazz saxophonist, his great-grandmother was a concert pianist and his mother is the Minister of Music for his home church, where his father is senior pastor.
That rich and constant immersion in jazz and gospel music led Geoffrey to choose gospel videos over “Sesame Street” during his toddler years and to directing the National Children’s Choir for the Church of Christ at age 8 instead of playing outside with his friends.
In middle school, the budding singer stepped up his choir game, volunteering to help the school choir director teach and arrange music. In high school he took it a step further, serving as the student director for the Cleveland Heights Gospel Choir, where he wrote, arranged, sang, and taught music. In his late teens he even cut an EP of a few gospel songs he had written with some family members.
Yes, you could say Golden was literally destined to sing.
So when in 2013 the opportunity came for him to audition for Season 6 of “Sunday Best” he jumped at the chance. He ultimately didn’t make the cut, but it’s a good thing he didn’t give up. Convinced he had simply hit a speed bump, Geoffrey auditioned the following year, this time going all the way to the top.
“When I look back on it I realized things were destined to happen the way they did,” says Geoffrey, a lifelong member of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs (NCGCC also known as the Thomas Dorsey Convention). He currently occupies the same position the famed Rev. James Cleveland held there prior to founding the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA). “I really have just seen God’s hand throughout this entire process, and I’m grateful.”
Geoffrey’s, passion and commitment to singing God’s praises is evident throughout his first full album. The 10-song project was recorded live in Dallas and features the co-production of Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer Myron Butler (Tamela Mann, Marvin Sapp) along with Grammy-winning producer and musician Shaun Martin (Snarky Puppy, Kirk Franklin).
On the addictive “A Song Called He Reigns,” which was written by and features Kirk Franklin, Geoffrey’s energetic voice combines with Franklin’s trademark vocal inflections in a joyful celebration of God’s dominion.
An impassioned Geoffrey inspires and uplifts on the song “You Will Perform.” One of two tracks Geoffrey composed for the album, the lyrics are heartfelt and hopeful: “We are expecting greater/We are believing bigger/ We are trusting You for so much more/ We know You will perform!”
Show-stopping ballad “All Things Get Better,” also written by Franklin, shows Geoffrey at his absolute finest and most vulnerable. The song opens with Geoffrey’s tender vocals riding a sparse piano, before building to a colorful and dramatic chorus: “All things get better/ Not one mistake can undo grace/ Your love’s forever/ The ancient of days, whispers my name/ Your master plan for me/ Included enough mercy/ That flows from here, to eternity/ So bring on whatever/ You make all things work together/All things get better.”
Geoffrey is mesmerizing and self-reflective on the haunting “Changed.” Warm and rhythmic, the lyrics declare the joy of spiritual transformation. And in one of the most powerfully interactive moments of the recording, Geoffrey leads the audience in a final chant: “Since He changed me/ I’ll never be the same/ He changed me/ And I’ll never be the same.”
On the awe-inspiring “Glory To The Lamb,” written by Darrel McGlothen Walls of The Walls Group, Geoffrey brings the audience to their knees in worship with a fervent declaration of God’s holiness.
The project ends with the irrepressibly funk-flavored track “Kingdom.” The soaring horn arrangement and driving rhythm section lay a bed for Geoffrey’s explosive vocals to reiterate the theme of the album: “Kingdom come through me/ Kingdom be done in me/ Kingdom rest in me/ Kingdom be done in me.”
It is clear through Geoffrey’s professional debut that he is destined for musical greatness, but building his musical ministry is far from his only focus. This outstanding young man has plans to return to school for a Master’s Degree in public policy once he graduates Morehouse. His vision is to help enact bills on behalf of other young men of color that will have a positive impact on their relationship to police and other historic institutions of power.
“Anything that revolves around Christian ministry and helping people is what I’m passionate about,” assures Geoffrey. “It is my desire to serve in every possible way I can.”