What is there in Voices of Fire?

Is music capable of healing America’s racial divide? Bishop Ezekiel Williams certainly hopes so, which is why he established the world’s most diverse gospel choir. Bishop Williams of Norfolk, Virginia’s Faith World Ministries, views music as a unifying factor that may help his primarily Black church become a multiethnic expression of the Christian faith. Bishop Williams enlists the expertise of his Grammy-winning nephew Pharrell Williams, as well as a team of gospel music professionals, to recognise and improve the choir’s potential. Voices of Fire, a six-episode Netflix series, chronicles the development of the choir from the initial auditions to the choir’s first public performance.

Watch this show for Britt and Riddick, nicknamed the Queen and Prince of Gospel, if for you have no other reason. Miss Peggy is a vivacious mother hen with an angelic voice, a saintly heart, and a wig collection to match Moira Rose’s. Prince Patrick, on the other hand, is a dichotomy of earnestness and ham, as much performer as conductor, always dressed like the lovechild of Harry Styles and Tupac Shakur.


What is there in Voices Of Fire?

In 2016, a student’s skill left Pharrell Williams dumbfounded in an NYU classroom. The viral video of the prominent music producer hearing Maggie Rogers perform “Alaska” is now a reminder of a star’s birth. The new Netflix programme Voices of Fire is an extended riff on the “Pharrell Expressively Discovers New Talent” genre, which is one of the internet’s most popular.

The series is executive produced by Pharrell and chronicles the establishment of an experimental, multiracial gospel choir in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Pharrell and the choir’s conductors are in awe of Danlie Cuenca, who is one of the many vocal powerhouses.

Voices of Fire is a reality programme, talent competition, and docu-series all rolled into one. While the notion of a gospel-themed reality talent show may appear dubious at first, Voices of Fire is surprisingly well-made. It steers clear of the majority of the genre’s major problems. It manages to keep viewers’ interest without becoming overbearing as a reality programme. It is engaging without becoming conventional as a talent show.

It is educational as a docu-series without being dry or moralising. Furthermore, as a Christian-faith-themed series, it manages to be uplifting without being pompous or condescending.

voices of fire

We are presented to a wealth of outstanding vocalists throughout the audition process. Their interpretations of gospel classics such as “Amazing Grace” and “Blessed Assurance” are pleasing to the ear. Voices of Fire excels at showcasing exceptionally gifted individuals rather than exploiting others with less vocal skill. In reality, everyone who auditioned for the show—roughly 300 people—were selected from a pool of 3000 applicants and invited to audition for the choir.


Interesting Things About Voices of Fire

However, Voices of Fire is not without flaws. Aside from the auditions, the first three episodes expose viewers to a number of the people hoping to join the choir. The show tries to develop various elements of their lives while also providing viewers with someone to root for. Unfortunately, the show’s attempt to link viewers to potential choir members blurs the line between inspiration and exploitation.

The series aims to show how some of the subjects overcome difficulties and how music played a part in their journey. Unfortunately, several of the tales were told in a way that was lacking in depth and did not examine the impact on those who had comparable experiences. The testimony of someone with a handicap was followed by a comment (taken from a separate interview) about how we’re all “damaged goods,” which was particularly terrible. The utilisation of horrific experiences from persons who did not make the choir in the performance also appears to be very disrespectful.

Voices of Fire is a nice surprise in general. It’s a lighthearted and enjoyable viewing that doesn’t place too many demands on the audience. It offers an approachable introduction to the genre of Black gospel music for the uninformed. Those who are more familiar with the genre will enjoy the talent exhibition and the choir’s growth. On November 20, Netflix will release Voices of Fire.


Wrapping Up

Voices Of Fire isn’t exactly as interesting to see as we had hoped. However, it also showcases the incredible skill of a number of talented singers. Yes, the backstories sometimes drag things down, but we’re excited to watch the programme progress through the audition stages and see what this choir can accomplish once their voices are blended together. Voices of Fire isn’t the finest show out there, but if you’re down, or if you, like me, find yourself singing the Sister Act 2 soundtrack to yourself as you go about your day, give it a shot.

Cynthia Heintz
Cynthia T. Heintz is a writer who has written novels about carriages, corsets, and smartwatches, among other things. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist have all given her novels five-star reviews, as have other publications.

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