Giving You the Gospel

JJ Hairston on His Music Ministry & More

JJ Hairston is a quiet musical giant in the gospel industry. The Stellar Award-winning artist has produced chart toppers like “Lord You’re Mighty,” “Lord of All,” and “After This” that are still Sunday morning and radio favorites.

The New York native, along with his group Youthful Praise, recently released their seventh project entitled I See Victory.

Amazingly talented, the energetic vocalist and worship leader is on a mission to bless and empower the body of Christ in song.

“I’m hoping that when that when people think of the songs from Youthful Praise they will think of the experience they had when they sang it,” says Hairston. “When you think of a song like ‘Lord You’re Mighty’ or ‘Bless Me,’ I want it to take you back to the experience they had when they heard that song.”

The former member of James Hall Worship & Praise shared the inspiration behind his music ministry and his collaboration on the hot new single “Bless Me.”

JET: What inspired you to write “Bless Me” as well as record with Donnie McClurkin?

JJ Hairston: I listened to the Bible for a month straight. Because of that, different scriptures, theme and subjects would pop out at me. The song “Bless Me” came from a story in the Bible about Jacob and Esau. Jacob tricked his father and there was a scripture where Esau asked his father “Do you only have one blessing to give me..?” That’s how that song came.

I was very intentional about what I wanted this record to be about. The theme of this record—I wanted it to change the mindset of people going through. Usually it’s woe is me kind of message. “You’re Mighty” came out of worship—it feels like I was just singing to God ‘cause that’s how those songs came—in a worship service.

Singing with Donnie McClurkin has always been a dream of mine. I texted and asked him, but thought the record label will never say yes—he said “why won’t they.” Not only did they give us clearance for the record, but also clearance for the radio station.

JET: Who is your music ministry most geared toward?

JJH: We make music for the house. There are certain people who write and minister to people who are lost—which is great, there’s Kirk Franklin and there’s Mary Mary. People who really have a ministry designed to reach those people who don’t go to church. Sometimes people can hear it and are not really comfortable with gospel music. Our music is more for people who go to church. Although we go to church and believe what God says—we still go through and we go through situations and we still need music that ministers to us as well. It not only ministers to those who go to church, but songs that are conducive to worship and you can sing in church. Because I have a clear direction on what we do—it’s a lot easier to sing and to write.

JET: How do you want people to feel after hearing your music?

JJH: There’s a song called “It Pushed Me” on the record. It talks about everything you’ve gone through—setting you up for where you are now. Whatever you are going through…whatever that thing is…it’s really not to stop you, but to push. All of your situations, if you think of your problems that way—you will be a lot more receptive to God being able to deliver you. Even at the time when you are waiting for deliverance, you will still be ok and you can still praise Him because you know that it will happened and when it happens, you will see that it’s all for your good.

About Effie Rolfe

Effie Roffe

Effie Rolfe is a media consultant, personality and speaker. For years, she was the “voice of inspiration” each Sunday morning and middays on Chicago radio. She also speaks at schools, churches and workshops. Effie writes for several publications and is the author of The K(N)ots Prayer. Visit her Website; like her on and follow her via @effiedrolfe.