BYRON CAGE LIVE AT THE APOLLO: THE PROCLAMATION With over 20 years experience as a praise and worship leader, and numerous awards and accolades for his professional recordings, Byron Cage is one of Gospel music’s most dynamic and popular artists. For the past two years, Byron Cage has won a Stellar Award for “Song of the Year,” a testament to the magnetic appeal of his breakout hits such as “The Presence of the Lord;” “I Will Bless The Lord,” and “Broken But I’m Healed.” Cage’s delivery is punctuated by a deep sincerity that enraptures audiences and has made the GRAMMY Award nominee and multiple Stellar Award winner a staple in Gospel’s musical landscape.
Recorded live in New York City at the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem on April 26, 2007, The Proclamation is a dream come true for the recording artist. “I’m so thankful that when I talked to management and my label about doing the next recording at the Apollo, they thought it was a great idea,” says Cage. “But the moment for me came when I saw ‘Byron Cage’ on the marquee. I thought ‘Wow, this is so legendary.’ Major stars like Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and so many people have come through there. I had performed on the stage of The Apollo before, but for me to be the first one to record a live Gospel CD at The Apollo is historic.” A packed crowd of fans and Gospel music luminaries welcomed Cage with open arms and unbridled enthusiasm during the incredible night of praise and adoration to God.
The CD’s title - The Proclamation - came to Byron while he was attending a Gospel music convention. While there, he heard a fellow artist mention they were planning to move in a more “inspirational” direction and would be omitting the name Jesus in their songs. “I remember sitting there and starting to cry,” Cage recounts. “I thought, ‘Lord what has happened to us that we feel like your name isn’t good enough for us? Why do we feel that in order to reach the masses we have to leave your name out?’” That was the beginning of the concept for his new CD. Penned by Cage, the title track valiantly proclaims the name of Jesus with rousing orchestral and percussive elements. The combination of impeccable vocals and a cranking band makes this an album standout from note one.
“Although we have large ministries and speak about ‘going to the next dimension’, the name Jesus isn’t spoken as much as it used to be. My passion is to bring the name of Jesus back to the forefront; there is no name higher than the name of Jesus.” A musical wonder, “With All Of My Might” is a celebratory, festive number that urges listeners to praise God with their all and all. “I wrote ‘With All Of My Might’ because I love the story of David,” says Cage. “I love when he talks about coming back to Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant. There was such a celebration that he danced so much – with all of his might – right out of his clothes. But his wife, Micah, was jealous of him. In spite of those who don’t want us to praise Him, I am determined that I’ll not only sing with all my might, but I will praise Him with all my might”, says Cage Reminiscent of the Clark Sisters’ signature sound, “I’ve Got A Reason” is a traditional-flavored, yet spunky track. The feel-good song reminds each Christian that there’s always a reason to be thankful.
“I love the simplicity of ‘I’ve Got A Reason’. If you don’t have a reason to praise God for all He’s done, then just sit there. But if you have a reason to give God glory and praise, then this song is the time to jump up and have a good time. It’s Praise & Worship 101.” “Royalty”, a slow, reflective track, acknowledges the Savior and His matchless qualities. Soft strumming from an acoustic guitar sets the stage for an intimate time of worship for the lover of God. Cage lets loose towards the end of the track and the Spirit of the Lord takes over. “I can’t listen to ‘Royalty’ while I’m driving because every time I have to pull over,” says Cage. “There is the oil of God on that song. When I did the song on the night of the recording, I honestly didn’t think I would be able to go on. The power of God came in that night and it was an authentic declaration of who He is.”
“Anyhow” was written by Cage “at a very difficult time” in his life. Joining him on the mellow cut is velvet-voiced crooner Dave Hollister. The song encourages and reminds Christians to praise God throughout the toughest of circumstances. Throwing in a chorus of “Hallelujah Anyhow” from his mentor Thomas Whitfield, merging the old with the new, the collaboration is a clever one. The late Maestro Thomas Whitfield would be proud of Cage today. Cage credits Whitfield with assisting him in understanding the importance of worship and admired Whitfield’s “ability to lead the corporate worship experience where the presence of the Lord would be ushered in.” Hailing from Grand Rapids and growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Cage was surrounded by the greats of Gospel music and, in addition to Whitfield, was influenced largely by Bishop James Abney.
After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, he joined New Birth Cathedral - at that time with only 700 members - pastored by Bishop Eddie Long. He remains praise & worship leader at New Birth, and also at Ebenezer A.M.E. in Maryland. Cage released two moderately successful albums in the late 90s, but rose to fame with the 2003 release of his self-titled GospoCentric debut that spawned his mega-hit “The Presence of the Lord.” The project netted five Stellar Awards for Cage, including “Best Male Vocalist” and “CD of the Year;” as well as a Soul Train Music Award for Best Gospel Album.
“An Invitation to Worship” was released in 2005, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart and earning Cage his first GRAMMY Award nomination. Building on theses successes, Live At The Apollo: The Proclamation is certain to take Byron Cage to even higher heights. “I’m so thrilled that the night of the recording came off as well as it did. I had the best singers, the best set, the best everything. I wanted people who came out that night to feel such an overwhelming presence of the Lord even though we weren’t in a church environment. But ultimately, during the night of recording, I wanted people to cross their legs and say, ‘Now that’s how you do Gospel music.’”