Melodic range, depth, quality, beautiful; words that best describe the awesome talent of gospel recording artist Roderick Neal. Now the Minneapolis native serenades the world with songs reverencing Jesus Christ. Melodic range, depth, quality, beautiful; words that best describe the awesome talent of gospel recording artist Roderick Neal. Now the Minneapolis native serenades the world with songs reverencing Jesus Christ. Neal was the featured talent of a B.E.T. (Black Entertainment Television) taping, hosted by JerrVals Records at New Union Christian night club. Guest gospel artists included local talent Verge of Life, a singing group of two brothers; We Are Blessed, a female singing group; and Neal’s back-up singers, Commandment, which features Keita and Coralee Kline, Timothy and Anita Nolen, and Donita Brandon.
2002 was a big year for Neal, who released his CD Right Place, produced by JerrVals Records. The CD’s title testifies to Neal’s perfect timing for success with the album release.
At the age of 12, Neal began singing in a junior church choir. At the time, he didn’t take particular interest in his singing abilities. In fact, he credits gospel recording artist Donn Thomas, Myrr Records and Maranatha Music, for giving him insight on a music career. “The Lord allowed me to spend time with him. The advice he gave and still gives me, is never compromise your talent. Make sure people know who you are singing about.”
As Neal became popular locally, he found a great need to reflect on Thomas’s advice. In 1990, Neal signed with Cool Waters Records, and released his first single, entitled “Nothing Less.” This experience marked his first time working in a studio. Neal performed all over the Twin Cities in concerts and churches. His single was in constant rotation on local radio. Neal made key appearances as an opening artist for Harmony Recording artists Angelo and Veronica. And he was a featured artist at Bobby Jones Gospel workshop. However, Neal’s perceived success equaled his unhappiness. “I realized I wasn’t singing to touch peoples’ lives, but singing to be popular, rich and famous. I wasn’t listening to my wife, when she told me God wasn’t being put first in my life. Thus the single had limited success. The final album project was scratched and my heart was broken.”
Believers of the Christian faith are grateful that Jesus Christ is a God of second chances. For five years, Neal stopped singing to seek God’s will for his life. “I asked the Lord that if He ever gave me another opportunity, I would be determined to let Him use me. The Lord began to move in my life again.” Neal’s family became members of the Living Word Church and World Outreach Ministries, St. Paul, MN. Neal sang in the church choir for seven years, under the authority of Pastors Lesley and Rosella Ford. It was at the Living Word, that Neal met Jerry and Valencia Griffis, owners of JerrVals Records. “The opportunity for me to record came again with JerrVals Records, a record company that believed in me.” Neal wrote a majority of the song’s on his latest CD, including, “You’ve Been Redeemed,” “It’s Your Season,” and “Lamp Unto My Feet”. Neal shares the spotlight with other talented song writers, such as Terrell Clark, who wrote “Don’t Forget To Praise Him;” and CD producer Aaron Jones, who wrote “Jesus, You’re My Superstar.”
Neal keyed into the calling for his life, and proceeds with passion. “This time my focus is saving souls for God, by singing with compassion and letting the anointing flow through.” Neal’s CD Right Place is sold at Living Light Music and Bookstore, Northwestern Bookstores, Electric Fetus, Urban Lights, and Sam Goody.