The singer, songwriter, producer and artist dishes on his new album, Unstoppable.
VaShawn Mitchell is best known for his corporate worship hit “Nobody Greater” that literally took the religious community by storm, making it the most played Gospel song of 2011. Because of the anthemic tune, Mitchell has literally travelled the world ministering in places one could only dream of. ESSENCE.com recently sat down with the multi award-winning artist and talked to him about his seventh solo album, staying relevant in the ever-changing music game, as well as, furthering his education.
Where did the title “Unstoppable” come from?
Unstoppable is about a mindset because God already knows who we are. So being unstoppable is not about being invincible, it is about who you are when life happens and how we deal with it. I wanted to build a body of music that would be a roadmap to inspire, encourage, and uplift listeners everywhere to believe that they are unstoppable.
How has your sound changed from your last album?
I’ve evolved and sounds have evolved, as well. Traveling internationally has had a profound effect on my music. It’s a collaboration combining Christian and Gospel sounds, so that it is not only relevant, but relatable too. I never try to duplicate anything I have done before. Songs should carry a power for the time it was written for, and beyond in many cases. The sound is relative, but the message is still the same.
Are you ever nervous when presenting new music to the world?
I don’t get nervous, but I do get a form of anxiety. Sometimes in this industry people get stuck on one song or one way. And many times as the artist, you are ready to move on and do more to get out the next message. My anxiety or pressure comes in different forms for me because I’m a songwriter, singer, producer and an artist.
What is one of your favorite songs on Unstoppable?
The first song on the album, “Holding On,” is one I really enjoyed recording and writing. I’ve become versed in different cultures now going to different places and I wanted to show myself in a different light, not just a ballad guy. It’s a fun and energetic song and at the live recording the audience would not let go of that song. It’s most likely going to be the next single, but even when I go out and sing it now, people sing along like they already know it. So that is really dope.
People are saying the music industry is not what it used to be and no one is selling anymore, particularly in Gospel. What is your perspective?
The music industry is where it’s supposed to be. I think what we’re seeing now is that it is changing a lot quicker. It used to be every seven to ten years and now it is moving much, much faster with streaming on the Internet and music outlets like Spotify. I think the music industry is moving faster than our genre and it keeps us behind a bit. The state of the industry is going to be what it’s going to be. I don’t think music is going anywhere and I don’t think Gospel is going anywhere either.
What made you go back to school?
I decided to go back to school to study music business, so I wouldn’t just be educated with experience, but I could couple the education and experience together. I want to continue to do things outside of what people see. Writing my own songs, having my own label, being an executive producer on a couple different projects are things that everyone doesn’t see. I just want to stay on top of the industry that I’m working in.
When people ask you for advice about the music industry what do you tell them?
I don’t give everyone advice, but those that are close or connected to me I tell them don’t sign anything without an attorney, educate yourself about the industry you want to be a apart of, and don’t be compromise to be recognized. Everything else you will learn for experience!
Unstoppable is available on Amazon.