Over Gabriel Cross
If you want to call Gabriel Cross a late bloomer, feel free. This contemporary Christian singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles California is excited about what God is doing in his life and the opportunity that God has given him to showcase his gift. “It’s a blessing that at this stage in my life God has positioned me in a place where I can communicate his message through song to people all around the world,” Gabriel says. Born and raised in Tifton, Georgia, Gabriel, whose birth name is Gary Jenkins, always had a passion and love for music. He grew up singing in local school choirs and church groups and was often called on to lead songs or be in duets. “I thoroughly enjoyed my early years of performing,” he says. “Those years hold some of my favorite memories as a child.” But after graduating from high school, even though he received offers for an off-Broadway production of The Wiz and an invitation to apply to prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, Gabriel “put music to rest.” He says not taking a chance at going to Berklee “is one of my greatest regrets in life.” But, he says a family tragedy is the main reason for him not continuing his musical advancement. “Around the time of my graduation, one of my favorite aunts died,” he says. “We were told that her death was by suicide. When I heard about it, I hurt like never before. My family and friends always wondered why I didn’t keep performing after high school. This is the main reason. And this will be the first time that they know. I never told anyone.” Getting past the death of his aunt took some time, but performing live took even more time. “After my aunt died, I didn’t have the desire to be on stage singing,” he says. “I still loved listening to music, but I lost my passion for performing. I felt that if she would never have a chance of seeing me perform, what was the use.” Having lost the desire to perform, Gabriel turned to his second love – journalism – and enrolled at Georgia Southern College to earn a degree in print journalism. After graduating from college with his journalism degree, he moved to Miami, Florida, where he lived and worked for 19 years. During his time in Miami, his love for performing live returned. “While in Miami, I got closer to God than I ever got before,” he says. “God relieved me of the pain from my aunt’s death and gave me the strength and encouragement to sing live again. So, I joined my church choir. It was wonderful. I can’t tell you what joy came to my heart during my first performance with the choir.” In 2000, Gabriel had a desire to take his music to the professional level and obtained the services of a local songwriting consultant named P.B. Floyd. “P.B. was very instrumental in my learning the ABCs of songwriting and encouraged me to not only use my musical talent but also my writing talent by helping him development film shorts and ideas for feature films and television shows,” he says. In 2004, he and P.B. moved to Los Angeles. “P.B. wanted me to become his right hand man in a film venture and convinced me that L.A. would be the ideal place for me to pursue a songwriting and screenwriting career,” Gabriel says. While in Los Angeles, Gabriel met Dominique Wilson, a/k/a Piermid, from Chicago, Illinois who has worked with the likes of R. Kelly, Tyrese, and Tank. “God continued to bless me by bringing people like Piermid into my life to help further develop my musical knowledge,” Gabriel says. In 2009, the two started work on “Revelations,” Gabriel’s first music project. “I had a wonderful time working on Revelations,” he says. “I got the chance to see just what goes into constructing and producing a record and to work with a very gifted songwriter/producer.” Gabriel, whose vocal styling has often been compared to Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross, and Ray Parker, Jr., says his goal is “to spread God's message of love throughout the world. I want my songs to bring hope to those who feel hopeless and love to those who feel loveless and to let people know that God is a God of love. He is our father to whom we can turn at all times.” Music for Gabriel’s debut EP, Revelations, was produced by Al Fraser of Smoothbeatsonly.com. “I was blessed to be able to find Al’s website and the wonderful beats that he supplies,” Gabriel says. “To God be the glory. Although I buried my talent for quite some time, He still blessed me and showed me favor and organized everything beautifully. So, if people want to call me a late bloomer, that’s fine. And, it’s not a bad thing. I’m right where God wants me to be at this point in my life.” For Revelations, Gabriel and Piermid wrote all lyrics except Get Ya Praise On, which was written by Gabriel, Brian Allen, and A.G., a local L.A. rapper. Piermid provided all vocal arrangements, except Get Ya Praise On (which was arranged by Piermid and Brian Allen). All songs are protected by U.S. Copyright law.