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Creekside Gospel Music Convention

A Gospel Music Love Affair with Paul Belcher by Charlie Griffin

Written by Staff on May 31, 2018 – 10:21 am -

Gospel Music promotion is a love affair for Paul Belcher

Gospel Music promotion is a love affair for Paul Belcher

In the early 1980s, I was working with the Singing Americans. As Ed Hill and I were working to fill some dates, Paul Belcher called the office to say he had heard good things and wanted to book the group.

“Whiter Than Snow” had just hit the top five on the music charts, and people were talking. As Paul and I talked, one date led to another. And as the story goes, the rest is history. That day a long-term friendship began with Paul Belcher Promotions.

Promoting gospel music comes easily to a man who has had a 45-year love affair with gospel music.

“Mom and Dad use to book artists in churches in Michigan,” Belcher said. “I went to an all-night singing in Detroit (with the) Blackwoods, Statesmen, Thrasher Brothers, and Speer Family in one package. I was hooked. I thought I would like to try this. I could not have done this without my mom. I wasn’t old enough to sign contracts.

“I started promoting gospel music in 1973. My first concert was in Detroit with the Hopper Brothers and Connie. I was 17 when I booked them the first time. This year makes our 45th year of promoting Southern gospel music concerts in a ticketed format.”

Paul Belcher and Connie Hopper. Detroit MI. 1975

Paul Belcher and Connie Hopper. Detroit MI. 1975

Belcher has been influenced by some of gospel music’s most noted icons.

“I go back a long way,” Belcher said. “When you have dealings with J.D. Sumner, James Blackwood, Hovie Lister, Brock Speer, Martin Cook, Howard and Vestal Goodman, Les Beasley, Wendy Bagwell, and Roy Carter … there’s history right there.”

Some of gospel music’s best men mentored and coached Belcher in concert promotions.

“Martin Cook of the Inspirations gave me sound advice about promoting the right artist and was always suggesting ideas,” Belcher said. “Claude Hopper (was) very business minded, always a friend, but never shy about giving me pointers. Promoter W.B. Nowlin from Fort Worth, Texas, I bought a half interest from him in the Battle of Songs in the 80s. He taught me about packaging the right artists together, who to use, and who to stay away from.”

Over the years, the art of promoting concerts has truly changed.

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