Netflix and well-known music producer Pharrell Williams have teamed up to launch a new series that documents the creation of a new gospel choir that hopes to “take gospel music to a new dimension.”
According to Billboard, the top streaming service ordered Williams’ unscripted project titled Voices on Fire to showcase the efforts to create “one of the world’s most inspiring gospel choirs.”
The docu-series, which premieres on Nov. 20, follows Williams and other gospel leaders as they explore the producer’s hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia looking for untapped talent.
The series will include spirited choir director Patrick Riddick and Williams’ uncle, Bishop Ezekiel, who is the pastor and founder of Faith World Ministries.
While Williams has spent his entire career climbing the ranks of the mainstream music industry, he is returning to his roots which begin inside the walls of the church.
Throughout the documentary, Williams is seen wearing a hoodie with the phrase “Ye Must be Born Again” and often uses Christian phrases and language when talking to the singers and other leaders.
Williams and choir director Patrick Riddick grew up going to the same church, where Williams’ grandmother was also a member.
In an exclusive interview with The Christian Post, Riddick not only praised God for Williams’ return to the church, but also detailed his journey of putting together a 75-member multicultural choir.
When asked what Bishop Williams means when he says he wants a gospel choir that will “produce something the world has never known,” Riddick said it’s about bringing gospel music back to where it belongs.
“Years ago, when you talk about all the many great artists that came out — whether it be Tina Turner, the Beatles, whoever — a lot of those artists from the ’50s, ’60s and the ’70s, in particular, everything they got, they were inspired by what was done in the Church,” Riddick answered.
“Somewhere along the way… everything in church [became] influenced by what is done secularly. I believe it’s when we become proud of who we are and what we do… [that] they start looking at us again, and being influenced by what we do, because it’s just so fresh. It’s cutting edge,” he added.
Riddick also said he wants those watching the docu-series to “understand just how much work is put into” forming a gospel choir and the “importance of the choir.”
“A lot of our churches have gotten away from choir and choir music,” Riddick emphasized. “Without a choir, we don’t get the great soloist and we don’t even get the great praise teams because the choir is really your training ground.”