Based in Hampton Roads, Virginia at Faith World Ministries, Voices of Fire is the newest Netflix reality show and focuses on Bishop Ezekiel Williams’ vision of a diverse and inspirational gospel choir. He gathered an expert team including a musical director, vocal coach, choir master, and his nephew, Pharrell Williams, in order to find the most talented group of gospel singers arounds. (“Unicorns”, as Pharrell called them.)
Bishop Williams wasn’t just looking to form a singing group. His goal was clearly to have his message reach the masses. His dream was to tour the world with this choir, stating that “music transcends racial divide and cultural boundaries”. He expressed how people won’t sit down and listen to a sermon but they’ll listen to gospel music and receive the same message. He believed music makes the message more palatable.
It’s not long into watching Voices of Fire that you start feeling all kinds of emotion and it’s impossible not to feel the music in your soul. Honestly, some of the voices that audition for the choir are the most beautiful you’ve ever heard.
Apart from these voices, the power comes from hearing the back stories of those who audition. Some of them experienced the most unimaginable hardship. It was often heartbreaking, but special to be able to get a glimpse into what made them who they are, and what brought them to music. Those past experiences truly bleed into their music and increase the emotion that much more.
As someone who has been involved in church choir, I can vouch for the fact that it is a challenging yet beautiful experience. When all of the voices come together in harmony, it’s powerful. Religious or not, you can’t not feel it.
Voices of Fire is a special journey to witness. It’s available now on Netflix.