Patiently waiting for his moment to shine, George Sykes and his choir, The Truth, are poised to take their stand this year and claim their rightful place in Gospel music.
George explained, “I feel like now, at this stage in my life, this is my time. I’ve grown and I’ve paid a lot of dues.” He went on to say, “I think I have a lot to offer to the music business and to the Gospel world with my vocals and my choir.”
The choir he is referring to is a 15 member group comprised of five altos, five sopranos, and five tenors. At times the tenor group is split, allowing the ensemble to sing in four or five part harmony. “We sing our songs in a lot of different ways of harmony and that’s what makes my sound unique and my singers unique. That’s why we are called The Truth, because we have truth in our vocals,” boasted George.
Devone Allison, the groups musical director, agreed that the rare ability to harmonize in this manner is one of the keys to the group’s success. “It gives me goosebumps when I hear the voices and how they come together.”
Aside from The Truth’s harmonizing skills, George himself brings a lot of experience and expertise to the table. After sacrificing time on the playground for piano lessons from his mother at age 11, George continued to grow musically, taking advantage of every opportunity to learn. At 17, he became the Minister of Music at Ebenezer Baptist Church where he took on the task of teaching four choirs (male chorus, kids choir, singing choir, young adult choir). How is that for being driven?
Shortly after his time at Ebenezer, George moved on to direct at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey where he had the distinct privilege of working alongside Cissy Houston and continued to learn from her over the next 13 years. George told S2S, “She’s very hands on and she knows what she wants and your opinion doesn’t count. There’s no making suggestions. That gave me a lot of structure and discipline.” In the beginning, George wasn’t a fan of Cissy’s methods but could appreciate it later when he began teaching himself. According to George, Cissy taught him some great lessons that he has been able to utilize throughout his career. “I learned the very fundamentals of teaching three part harmony from her. I learned the fundamentals of definitely how to discipline your choir and really be in charge.”
Recently celebrating 25 years in the business, George is armed with a new attitude and a new mission. Now that he’s secured solid management and PR, he is focusing on releasing several albums this year which will include selections from the plethora of unreleased music SIII and The Truth created over the last decade since the choirs inception. The first single, “Thank You For Another Day” will be available April 6 on iTunes and cdbaby.com, and the second single “The Light” is soon to follow. As for the rest, George explained, “There’s so many good songs, we’re just gonna have to figure it out.”
Opening for Angie Stone, Richard Smallwood, and the Clark Sisters was cool for a while but now George says he has a fresh new sound for Gospel and “I’m ready to showcase what God gave me.”
Get more Gospel music news each month in the Stomps & Shouts section of Sister 2 Sister.
Watch George Sykes and The Truth perform below.