Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 18, 2005
Gospel booking agent offers all genres
Catholic musician offers a Christian stable of talent
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
If you want to book an artist for your parish, Denis Grady can help you.
The award-winning Catholic singer/songwriter is now manager of Key Entertainment's new Christian music division.
As such, Grady is responsible for developing a roster of Christian talent and finding work for the artists in parishes and schools.
"We do two things: we find the talent and then we find the church or the venue or program for them to play and that way, it supports the economics of their ministry," Grady explains.
"There is ample evidence that the public has a growing interest in the message and delivery of Christian music genre and culture."
In just two months at the post Grady, a member of St. Gerard Parish, has built an impressive roster of Christian artists including Tony Melendez of Branson Miss., a talented musician who has no arms and plays guitar with his feet. Pope John Paul II helped launch Melendez's ministry.
The roster also features Juno Award winner Jill Paquette of British Columbia, New York-based Ceili Rain, Matt Brouwer of Houston, folk troubadours Ken Whiteley of Toronto and Pierce Pettis of Alabama and a nine-piece black gospel band from Lost Angeles - the Sweet Singing Cavaleers.
Grady has at least 30 artists in his portfolio, including an artist from Italy and several Hispanic ones, and has already found work for some of them. Paquette, for example, is leaving Nashville in mid July for a tour of Alberta and B.C. Melendez will be touring parishes and schools in Regina, Medicine Hat and Calgary for a week in November.
The Key Entertainment Group, one of Canada's leading country music booking agencies, created the Christian music division with the aim of helping build the Christian music industry, said Greg Thomas, the agency's president.
"Our vision at Key is to build an economically viable system that allows good Christian talent to make a living at their vocation."
Key Entertainment represents country music stars such as George Canyon, Patricia Conroy, Emerson Drive and Charlie Major.
"(At the Christian division) we are looking at all genres of music - pop and classical and hip-hop," Grady said. "Christian (music) is right across the board. Every genre can be Christian; there can be Christian hip-hop, Christian rap, and Christian folk.
"The Holy Spirit is touching people's lives and they are living a certain life and a certain cultural interest and place and expression and that's the beauty of it that they can go out and evangelize to people that are caught up with the MTV message of life and music. It's like being able to create familiarity with a particular person, but to give the message of the Gospel."
As winner of Gospel Musician of the Year 1999 for the Alberta Recording Industry, Grady, 53, is no stranger to the gospel music scene. He is the international director for the Catholic Association of Musicians and the founder of the Alberta Gospel Music Association of Alberta.
During the past few years, Grady, a father of three, has toured Canada, the United States, Central America and Europe. He played during World Youth Day 2000 activities in Rome and organized a series of fundraising concerts across Canada in support of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
He has performed twice on 100 Huntley Street, Canada's premier Christian faith television show produced in Toronto.
While regularly performing on the concert circuit in Canada and the U.S., Grady is just as often found playing prisons, soup kitchens and Alzheimer's wards as auditoriums and church halls.
"The more I read Scripture, the more I understand about God's love and compassion for the poor," he says.
Grady has also worked as radio producer and host, publicist and promoter.
For further information or to book a gig contact Denis Grady at 403-262-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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