The weekly live music events, which have attracted celebrity guests, have thankfully kept the focus on the thing that Ye does best – music
Every week since mid-January, Kanye West has been hosting a Sunday Service. Taking place across numerous locations in the United States – Kanye’s Calabasas studio, the forests outside Los Angeles, and even at adidas’s North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon – these ‘services’ bring together a divine live orchestra, glorious gospel vocalists, and crowds of joyful people to give thanks, performing reworked versions of old Kanye songs to fit the gospel vibe. The videos of the services that have appeared on social media showcase a distinctive look, with the congregation typically wearing minimalist Yeezy signatures in place of traditional robes (there even seems to be Sunday Service merch).
Given the negative headlines that surrounded Kanye West last year, from his consistent support of Donald Trump, to his defense of abusers, to his bizarre comments on slavery, the rapper has thankfully remained fairly quiet during these Sunday Services and kept the attention on the thing he does best – music.
Below, we unpack what you get from a typical Sunday Service.
KANYE PLAYS THE CLASSICS, REMIXED
Sunday Services wouldn’t be what they are without music by Yeezus himself. During the latest event, taking place last Sunday (March 24), Kanye made sure to grace us with takes on hits like “Jesus Walks”, “Ghost Town”, “Father Stretch My Hands”, and “Heard ‘Em Say”, transformed by the inclusion of a live gospel choir. During one service, the noise generated from these performances were loud enough to get the police called. Maybe the old Kanye isn’t completely gone after all.
RISING ARTISTS ARE GIVEN SPACE TO SHINE
Although Kanye’s hits are at the centre of the Sunday Service ceremonies, they also shine a light on unsung talent. Philip Cornish, who has previously been nominated for seven Grammys, acts as the music director/producer, while the choir is constructed from a range of vocalists and musicians found on Jammcard, an invite-only social community for professional musicians. The singer-songwriter Ant Clemons was also gifted a solo during a recent service.
YOU MIGHT HEAR SOME BRAND NEW SONGS
The Sunday Service events are also being used as a space for Kanye to air new material. During the January 20 service, attendees were privy to an exclusive debut of “We’ll Find A Way”, a new song that might appear Kanye’s long-mooted new album Yandhi. Traces of the song have been pretty much eradicated from YouTube, but Kanye fans have been sharing the news on social media.
THEY’VE ATTRACTED SOME FAMOUS FANS
The events have attracted prominent guests, such as the entire West/Kardashian/Jenner clan, Diplo, Rick Rubin, Paris Jackson, Katy Perry, Tyler, the Creator, and Kid Cudi. Unlikely guests like grunge icon Courtney Love and actor Orlando Bloom (why not) have even been seen making gracious appearances. Celebrities need to pray, too – or maybe they just want to hang out with other celebrities.
IT TAKES PLACE IN SOME UNLIKELY LOCATIONS
During the March 5 event, Kanye took the congregation to Adidas’ North American HQ in Portland, Oregon, but they actually started the praise earlier that day: on a private plane heading to the location. The popular Kanye fan account @TeamKanyeDaily captured videos of the crew all enjoying some early morning anthems. This isn’t the only strange place that Sunday Services have taken place, though. Previous spots have also included a secret location in Burbank, Kanye’s studio in Calabasas, and the hills and forests surrounding Los Angeles.