By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever
Deacon Authority’s mantra is, “Stay salty.” But don’t take that to mean he wants you angry, irritated, or upset. Certainly, that’s not how the Christian hip-hop artist Cedric Hester, known as Deacon Authority or simply “DA,” moves. In contrast, he’s an encourager who simply chooses to remind Jesus’s followers of their Matthew 5:13 call to influence and make a difference: “You are the salt of the earth…”
As founder and CEO of MG (Mighty God) Music Group, Deacon Authority dedicates his time to writing and producing music for a number of artists as well as himself. He also performs with several of the artists at churches, amphitheaters, and a variety of other venues up and down the East Coast. The door was even opened for them to share their hip-hop gospel message in the UK in 2019.
Deacon Authority gave his life to Christ in 1998. Since then, he has been on a mission to share his faith and spread the gospel message through his gifts and talents. Recently, he chatted with me about his process.
Libra: Talk about how you knew rap to be the avenue for you.
DA: I was in church listening to my pastor and words started coming to me during the sermon.
Libra: Is this how you get much of the inspiration for the music you write?
DA: Currently my inspiration comes from current events and life. I remember how my Pastor broke down the scripture for me to understand, rather than [just giving a] quotation. Now my inspiration comes from wisdom and experiences. I want my music to help people long after I’m gone. To me, my music is about growth and encouraging the listener.
Libra: Who has been the biggest influence on your music style and how?
DA: I’m influenced by all genres of music. I hardly listen to hip-hop unless it’s music that I’ve produced. I like to understand how artists come up with their music. I’m a student of music.
Libra: MG Music Group has been invited into some very traditional worship spaces that aren’t accustomed to God being sung about in this style. What has been your approach to engaging an audience that can’t seem to get with how you minister?
DA: Honestly, I pray and most of the time I pick songs according to the Holy Spirit. My goal is to minister according to the needs of the people. Sometimes I’m praising for my [own] breakthrough.
Libra: What’s your favorite song to perform?
DA: “Mighty God.”
Libra: Is that also your most popular?
DA: “You Forgot.”
Libra: MG Music Group is constantly releasing new music and new music videos. First, let’s talk about what goes into the creative process.
DA: The videos are organic. We hardly prep. We have a great chemistry with our videographer!! We are being ourselves on each video. We believe in “what you see is what you get”!!
Libra: I want us to also talk about the collaborative process because rarely do we see just one MG Music Group artist featured on a song or video. How do these collabs come about and why do you find them meaningful?
DA: They stem from fellowships, personal experiences, and conversations. There are certain things or topics that we can relate to that turn into our content.
Libra: What topic seems to resonate most with your audiences?
DA: Being truthful and honest.
Libra: Outside of MG Music Group artists, who would you most like to collaborate with?
DA: For me, Richard Smallwood.
Libra: Wow, I totally would not have guessed that! Please tell me why this would be a dream collab for you and how you envision the different styles coming together.
DA: His music moves me and I enjoy his messages. I truly feel if we got in the studio together, it would be crazy.
Libra: I would definitely look forward to that. On another note, do you feel the industry has changed for the better as it relates to indie artists?
DA: In some ways, yes, because it’s easier to get your music out. At the same time I’m noticing that music is being more watered down because some people do it for money and attention instead of the art.
Libra: What positive impact has the pandemic had on your ministry?
DA: I was able to slow down and focus on my personal life and focus on things that I didn’t have time to address. This allowed me to grow and that growth is always incorporated into the music.
Libra Nicole Boyd, PhD is a musician, award-winning author, gospel music aficionado, and the founder and editor of Gospel Music Fever™. Her commitment to journalistic integrity includes bringing you reliable gospel music content that uplifts and advances the art form. Libra is presently working on several scholarly projects about gospel music in the media as well as gospel music in social movements.