Tuesday 21 January 2020

Kingdom Choir sign record deal after ‘transformative’ royal wedding

The group rocketed to fame with their rendition of Stand By Me.

Conductor Karen Gibson and members of the Kingdom Choir after signing their record deal (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Conductor Karen Gibson and members of the Kingdom Choir after signing their record deal (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The conductor of the gospel choir that performed at the royal wedding has said it was a “transformative” day for the group.

Karen Gibson said the Kingdom Choir, who have now signed a record deal with Sony Music UK, have been overwhelmed by the public response since their performance of Stand By Me in front of a huge global audience at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

She told the Press Association: “One of my members told me about a little four-year-old girl who looked at the television and said ‘Look, mummy, they look like me’.

“Powerful, so powerful. I think that says something and I think there is hope in that.”

Speaking about the responsibility of being a role model, she said: “It doesn’t feel heavy. If I can do that, I am happy.

“Yes it’s a responsibility but it is not a heavy one, it’s one where I feel ‘let’s go I’m ready’, the country is ready, the world is ready, the world needs hope.”

Gibson, who founded the choir in 1994, met with the royal couple before the wedding to discuss the music they would perform and said she believes Meghan had a sense of how important their inclusion we be.

She said: “We didn’t have that conversation, even when we met, but I’m pretty sure she must have thought about it, because a gospel choir at a royal wedding is new, it’s unprecedented.

“I’m pretty sure it went through her mind once or twice.”

The group will release their debut album on November 2 and Gibson said: “It’s a little bit surreal. I’m sure I ‘m going to wake up any minute now.

“What am I doing here? I don’t know. Three months ago my life was not anything like this and so I’m still processing.

“But I feel happy, if it’s a dream it’s a really good one.”

Describing the day of the wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19, she said: “It was a transformative day.

“I am slowly embracing it and embracing not just the attention but also the thanks.

“You look into their eyes and they are so grateful and so sincere and so proud and that people come up to me feels like a gift, that is what it feels like.”

She also revealed that the version of Stand By Me that the choir performed at the wedding went through some significant changes in run up to the ceremony.

She said: “The couple were really intentional about how they wanted the music to go, what we were going to sing, because they chose the music and how we were going to sing it.

“So Stand By Me had a very gospel sound, even though people think it’s gospel now it was full-on and we had to change it a few times until it was what you heard on TV.

“I have to say the royal couple were completely right, they hit the nail on the head.

“Let’s say it was less decorative, less fussy, we can say that.

“We got a lovely thank you card afterwards, which was very nice and made me feel good.”

The choir will go into the studio to record the album later this month and the record will include their arrangement of the song that made them famous.

The group has also announced a headline concert at London’s Union Chapel on November 28.

Tickets for the show at Union Chapel go on general sale on July 27 at 9am, with pre-sale on July 25 and July 26 at 9am.

PA Media

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