RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A well-known gospel superstar says he’s fallen in love with RVA. Now Hezekiah Walker says he wants to make central Virginia the hub for gospel music. A concert he’s hosting this week is part of that.
These days the Grammy and Stellar Award winning artist says he’s in Richmond about every other week. That’s because the longtime performer and pastor is studying for his doctoral degree at Virginia Union University’s School of Theology.
“I just had an appetite to learn more of the word, and to strengthen what I already know,” Walker said. “After I finish singing to you, I want to be able to take you to the word of the Lord and say ‘ok, this is what that song meant’. I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to see that their grandfather and their great grandfather wasn’t just out there doing that, but that he had education behind him.”
But that’s not all that brings the gospel icon to RVA, he is also teaching at VUU’s new Hezekiah Walker Center for Gospel Music.
“That’s monumental for a gospel center to be planted at a HBCU, and being the first,” Walker said, noting that other Historically Black Colleges and Universities have shown interest in having centers on their campuses as well. Walker says Richmond is quickly becoming his second home.
“I never thought I would fall in love with Richmond, but it’s like I’m falling in love with this place and it’s like I think this is where I want to be,” Walker said.
And now that the native New Yorker says he’s on a mission.
“My aim and my mission and my goal is to make Richmond, Virginia the hub for gospel music,” Walker said.
His plan, to help train the next crop of gospel artists at VUU on the ins and outs of industry and to use his influence to bring big names in gospel to RVA
This week is an example, as Walker is hosting a VUU pre-homecoming pop up gospel concert for the community.
“We’ve got John P. Kee, Lena Byrd-Miles, James Fortune, Kierra Sheard, and of course Hezekiah Walker,” Walker said. “Most of the time you have at least 6 to 8 months to promote something like this but we had 6 to 8 weeks if that.”
Walker says he hopes his efforts will instill a sense of hope, especially in young people in central Virginia.
“It was because of my gift and because of the gospel that I heard that brought me to great success, and if it was done for me it can be done for anybody,” Walker said.
The pop up concert is happening this Friday night at 7 o’clock Liberation Church in Richmond. VUU students can attend for free and tickets are still available for anyone else. For more information, head to HezWalkeratVUU.com.