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Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, gospel singer and producer J. (or James) Moss is part of a very talented family of gospel musicians, including his father, Bill (of Bill Moss & the Celestials), and his cousin, part of the group the Clark Sisters.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t think anything about singing,” J recalls. “I just wanted to be out playing with my friends. But somewhere in high school I really began to feel a tugging from God telling me music was my calling in life.”
He started off with his own group; a duo with his brother Bill called the Moss Brothers. They recorded a pair of albums and toured regionally but later broke up when the call of further education lured James to Michigan State University. After two years J. realized that his true calling was in music, namely putting to work his skills in production and composition. It proved to be the right move. James moved on to become one-third of the writing and production team PAJAM bolstering him to one of the most powerful forces in modern Gospel and Soul music. The group, made up of James, Paul Allen, and Walter Kearney, produced and composed a number of gospel hits, using traditional elements of gospel alongside more up-to-date hip-hop and R&B sounds.
The 2004 release of The J. Moss Project included songs written by J. with his PAJAM partners and quickly became a hit. It is most notable for its striking stylistic diversity. Threads of hip hop, modern R&B, pop, and traditional Gospel are all ingeniously woven together into a work that is cutting-edge contemporary but with a perfect touch of familiarity and tradition. I Wanna Be is a happy, spirited jam, with J recounting all the virtuous qualities to which sincere Christians aspire. “That’s me affirming to God that wherever it is He wants me to go with this ministry, that’s where I’m going. I want people to see Him through me.”
The gentle, gorgeous Unto Thee is an acoustic-guitar-flavored song of devotion and commitment to the Lord, while Psalm 150 becomes a driving urban workout that virtually commands the listener to sing and dance their praises to the Savior. I’m Livin’ For You is smooth, melodic, and hooky R&B, and the album-closing Me Again, is a self-revealing, heart-on-the-sleeve piano ballad asking God’s forgiveness of sin, that builds to a dramatic crescendo, bearing all the earmarks of a classic-in-the-making.
In 2007 J. decided to work as a solo artist and released a follow-up entitled V2. J concludes, “I was making more money than I’d ever seen, and I just thought I had it made, until one day God showed me more was required of me. I was starting to lean too heavily on all those ‘things’ and not nearly enough on Him. I had to truly be prepared and able to go before people and tell them they can make it, even when all hope seems gone, if they really believe in the Lord, and that He loves them, and that He will care and provide for them. I had to believe that, know that, and be able to say it with complete honesty and conviction. And no matter what happens with this album now, I know that I can do that without any question or doubt. I hope this CD does for others even just a portion of what God did for me in making it.”