City Winery Philadelphia presents Smokie Norful live in concert on Friday September 2nd at 8 PM. With his soulful tenor vocals and an unerring ability to fuse contemporary gospel with hip-hop sensibilities, Smokie Norful is one of the brightest lights on the current gospel scene. The son of an African Methodist Episcopal minister, Norful spent his first 14 years in Muskogee, OK, where he absorbed music ranging from sacred gospel to the secular soul that was popular at the time, and both strains would serve him well when he began his professional singing career. By the age of two he was picking out melodies on piano, by four he was actively playing and singing in his father's church, and by ten he was a featured artist on a custom album assembled by a regional music director. Although music was his enduring passion, Norful instead opted to study history at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, eventually working as a history instructor for four years before relocating to Chicago in 1998 in order to earn a Masters of Divinity degree from Garrett Theological Seminary.