“Most of my albums have been recorded in studio, but I wanted to change that and do live DVD recordings, which is when Crosspower was born. There is something beautiful about performing in front of an audience and engaging with them,” he said.
When speaking about the process behind making the album, Hlongwane said: “I managed to get together the most amazing team of musicians who thoroughly enjoy making music.
“The music I wrote for this project is very special to me because it reflects the time and space I am in right now - a space where I create the music that I want to hear. I am not confined by what people might expect from a gospel music album.
“It’s young, contemporary and varied. The musicians managed to interpret my worship in the songs and I can only hope that anyone who listens to the music feels the worship experience like we all did during the recording.
“There was no specific message or theme that I was going for with this album, I am very creative and I am always writing songs, I let the creative process flow because that is the most important. I also write what God has put in my spirit, I let it all pour out and it is completely up to Him,” he said.
Hlongwane also said that every song will have a different meaning for different people: “You know an album is like a buffet, there many options to choose from. Some people need comfort and that’s what they get, some people want to dance in the presence of God and they do that so there are different aspects and sometimes two different people can take away two different things from just one song.”
Describing the first single off the album, Wabethelwa, he said that he wrote the song three years ago.
“This song carries the heartbeat of Crosspower Experience 3. Writing the song came from the awareness of how much we need God as people as well as how much He loves us, despite our frailties and shortcomings. The chorus says ‘Ngangingafanele’ which simply means: ‘I did not deserve it,’ ” he said.
Going against tradition, Hlongwane decided to record the DVD in a warehouse: “I get bored very easily, so it is important for me to change things. I don’t want people to look at the surroundings and be able to see that this is a gospel production, so I wanted an alternative. It is also very intimate with the audience seated around my band and myself, as opposed to sitting in front of me.”
He added that his hope for this album is that God uses it to touch people: “Whatever God wants this album to do, let His will be done. If it is to touch someone, heal someone or change someone’s life, then so be it. All I can hope is that He uses the music,” he said.
Hlongwane is also a part of Joyous Celebration, one of the biggest gospel choirs on the continent. The choir, which has 21 albums, recently recorded their 22nd instalment. “The album will be coming out around April and people are going to enjoy it. We have 10 new singers so it’s exciting times for us,” he said.
* The Crosspower Experience is out in stores.