Gospel music has its roots with the sacred songs of the early Christians. In its modern incarnation, gospel music has several recognizably distinct strains. Well-known recording artists may cross over as performers to or from gospel music and more mainstream music. Gospel music, while somewhat popular generally, has had a few intervals during which it enjoyed increased popularity. In the 21st century, not all gospel performers profess a Christian identity.
Fundamentally, gospel music refers to popularly performed music that professes or celebrates Gospel-based Christian values. The earliest gospel music consisted of hymns sung by the earliest post-Resurrection disciples that transitioned from traditional Judaic sacred songs to songs focused on Jesus and Gospel values.
Varieties of Gospel Music
Modern gospel music occurs in many sub-genres. In the broadest sense, gospel music can include old African-American spirituals, Christmas carols and even Christian-themed great symphonies. Some modern popular variations include urban gospel, Sourthern gospel, Celtic Christian music and black gospel sub-genres.
A not uncommon phenomenon for modern recording artists performing gospel music is that of crossover. Some artists establish their career as gospel performers then move into mainstream material. Others establish mainstream recognition first in their recording efforts then make the transition to gospel. Although it is not uncommon for the second group to have early exposure to Gospel music performance.
Gospel music is, as of September 2009, increasing in popularity on a worldwide basis. Other eras when gospel music enjoyed particular phases of popularity include the post-World War II era and the late1960s into early 1970s.
Gospel music has had an observable effect on popular music in general. While the roots of gospel come out of the Christian spiritual perspective, it has evolved to reach beyond those origins and is now performed by some artists who do not identify themselves as Christians.