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For our final episode of 2023, Alexa is joined by sought-after choral director and vocal coach, Mark De-Lisser. He has worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Beverly Knight. He has also been involved in TV shows such as “Our Dementia Choir” with Vicky McClure and “The Masked Singer.” Mark made the arrangement of “Stand By Me,” which was performed by the Kingdom Choir at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. This performance has been streamed over 4 million times. Mark is here to discuss how to sing and teach the gospel vocal style.


  • Gospel music is a Christian genre rooted in the black experience. Known for emotive vocals, call-and-response, and Christian themes, it often features choirs and instruments. Gospel expresses spirituality, joy, or sorrow, with improvisation common. Evolving into sub-genres like traditional and contemporary gospel, it has influenced various music styles, playing a significant role in religious worship and shaping American musical development.
  • When it comes to the question of the cultural appropriation of gospel music, Mark believes that you have to give acknowledgment to where that music came from. You have to think about the composer and the spiritual background of where the music came from and reference it when you come to teach it.
  • The most important thing you need to remember when singing gospel music is that you need to believe in the words that are coming out of your mouth. Even if you’re not a religious person, you should think of a thing or idea that lifts you up and gives you strength.
  • When singing gospel, allow yourself to be more vulnerable and get wrapped up in the emotion of the piece. Having a licence to be more vulnerable will make it more likely you affect the audience and make them leave with your story.


‘Gospel is songs of good news’ 

‘It blew my mind because I’d only heard traditional gospel music’

‘They were creating these songs out of a need for freedom’ 

‘If you connect you will affect’ 

‘We were born singers and society does its best to beat it out of us’ 


Guest Website:

Social Media:

  • Instagram: @markdelisser & @mdlsingers

Relevant Links & Mentions:

  • Artists Mentioned: Thomas Dorsey; Kirk Franklin; Maverick City; Mahalia Jackson; Andre Crouch; Walter Hawkins; Richard Smallwood; Donald Lawrence; Johnathan McReynolds; Daryl Coley; Take Six; The Winans; Mischa Paris; Tai Trabet; Anita Wilson; Mary Mary; Tom Odell; CeCe Winans; The Darkness
  • (Book) So you Want to Sing Gospel: A Guide for Performers by Dr Trineice Robinson-Martin
  • Dr Trineice Robinson-Martin
  • Dane Chalfin
  • Felton and Norton Community Gospel Choir

BAST Book A Call:


Mark De-Lisser is one of the most sought after choral directors and vocal coaches in the UK. He has worked with some of today’s top vocal talent, including Ariana Grande, Jessie J and Beverley Knight, and on some of the UK’s most watched TV shows, including BBC’s BAFTA nominated Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure, Songs of Praise and ITV’s award winning The Masked Singer.

Driven to inspire and motivate everybody to succeed, Mark helps to increase confidence and self-awareness, whilst improving technique and delivery. Anybody who is fortunate to work with Mark is left feeling uplifted and invigorated.

Mark is perhaps best known for his arrangement of Stand by Me, performed by the Kingdom Choir at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, which has now been streamed more than 4 million times on Spotify and has over 10 million views on YouTube.