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Smokie Norful: Soul Singing!

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Smokie Norful was born in Arkansas but was raised in Muskogee. He is today a minister and a soul-gospel singer. Since very early years, he got involved in music and the church of his father, an African Methodist minister. His fathers encouraged and helped him take music lessons. During that time, he was greatly influenced by soul, gospel music and R&B. This fact will later be very important when defining his musical style. However, he was also called to the ministry, so he entered the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he got a Masters of Divinity degree.

Before Smokie Norful could record an album, he worked as an assistant in a Church and participated with the gospel group the Thompson Community Choir. He then released and album with this group. This would in some way help him get an opportunity to record her first solo album I Need You Now in 2002. This EMI Gospel-labeled album had to wait a year after its release to succeed in the gospel charts and to be awarded as one of the best and most important gospel albums. His music has been defined as a fusion of soul, R&B and gospel, the one that characterized artists such as Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder.

In 2004, he released his album Nothing Without You. The album was given the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2005. Both albums did not present something new in terms of sound or style. However, his lyrics and singles such as “Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus”, “In The Middle”, “Serpentine Fire” were good enough to catch the audience’s attention and hearts.

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