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JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise – It Pushed Me

  • ‘It Pushed Me’, the new single from J.J. Hairston and Youthful Praise! Take a listen you will LOVE THIS!

JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise:  PRESS RELEASE COMING SOON.

jj-hairston-youthful-praiseAt the core of Gospel music is the Message — messages of hope, love, redemption and salvation and its purpose is to give praise, declare faith and thank God. JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise fully embraces these concepts on their new album, AFTER THIS.

“I want people to hear the messages first … I wanted to make a statement and say something instead of just captivating people with a beat or a dance,” said Hairston, long-time leader and director of Youthful Praise. To that end, Hairston wrote heavily on AFTER THIS, having 10 of the 12 songs written or co-written by him. Hairston was inspired to write after listening to a series of sermons by Bishop TD Jakes. “During my writing time, I gleaned so much from some of Bishop’s teachings,” explained Hairston.

The themes of praise, declaration and thanksgiving are sewn throughout the fabric of AFTER THIS. From song to song are expressions of God’s complete greatness and power. Leading off is the up-tempo and instantaneous classic “Lord of All,” featuring Bishop Hezekiah Walker. Harkening back to an identifiable ‘Brooklyn’ sound Walker leads the choir in a head-nodding, call & response jam.

Hairston intentionally takes Youthful Praise back to basics with signature vocals, harmonies and that special East coast sound that made a permanent impact almost 10 years ago. “I really wanted more of YP to be heard this time,” said Hairston. “I intentionally brought that sound back.”

The vocals of Youthful Praise shine on the ballad “Now,” which feature label-mate James Fortune. Carrying on the ‘declarative’ and ‘praise’ threads, “Now” beautifully speaks to believing in what we ask God for – standing on faith that God will do what He says He’ll do. Replete with thoughts of healing and restoration this song is riveting. “Because of who we are speaking to, we know God will always keep His promise,” Hairston said. “Having James on the album is special – he truly has a way of narrating a song that really makes you feel the song.”

The radio single title track, “After This,” epitomizes the idea of uplifting music. From the first guitar lick to the encouraging lyrics, the song is an all-out jam that draws out praise from any listener. Bishop Eric McDaniels offers a guest appearance on the track and the synergy with McDaniels and Hairston’s vision are evident. Hairston said, “Continuing the vibe of the last album, ‘Resting On His Promise,’ I wanted to keep encouraging people. We may be going through trying times but I wanted to say that there will be a testimony after it’s all over.”

Another amazing collaboration is “Working Out For Me,” featuring Hairston’s long time music mentor and inspiration, Pastor John P. Kee and underrated female vocalist Lisa Knowles. “When YP first started we only sang Hezekiah Walker and John P. Kee songs,” Hairston explained. “On this project I really wanted to work with people I’ve always looked up to … I honestly thought it wouldn’t happen. Not only did he say yes, but afterwards he continued to call and encourage me.” Kee gives his classic rich vocals and a Word that makes the listener want to hit repeat over and over.

One of the songs, not written by Hairston is the unique and atmospheric “Love Lifted Me.” Penned by Phil Thompson, of CCM group Ashmont Hill, it is a universal song that speaks to and reaches everyone. God’s Love is available to all people and we have all been brought out of ‘something’. Tye Tribbet is featured on the song and his impassioned vocals translate into a powerful moment on the album. “I expected it to have an impact because of the lyrics but with Tye’s presentation it was awesome,” Hairston said. “It was my first time working with Tye and it fit perfectly.”

For the past two years, Hairston has been the music minister at First Cathedral Church in Bloomfield, CT and recently became the Mass Choir director at Triumph Church in Detroit, MI. These roles influence Hairston’s approach on AFTER THIS – giving the album a more message-conscious feel. “I want people to know what and who God really is,” said Hairston. “I want listeners to walk away with a different mind-set. Even when we think about the simple things in our lives, we should be grateful. I want people to really appreciate the messages on this album.”

“Youthful Praise has matured in their presentation. And while we’ve scaled down we have grown together and evolved. We are concentrating on our message and want our WORDS to be heard.”

AFTER THIS is a musical reminder of who God is – the full greatness of Him and how we, His believers should be approaching Him. One great selection is “I Am” which was written by worship leader, Eddie James. A popular theme it speaks to God being everything – He is Love, Peace, Healing and more. “It is a theme that needs to be heard … we need to be reminded of what He really does and is,” Hairston said.

Other gems on the traditional praise break sounds of “Reap,” the stirring “Grateful,” the powerful “The Blood,” featuring LaShun Pace and “The Victor,” led by Melissa Bell. “The Victor,” is admittedly one of Hairston’s favorites and speaks of victory in Jesus despite the nature of the battle.

The overarching themes of praise, declaration and thanksgiving wholly describe Hairston and Youthful Praise’s brand of Gospel music and are perfectly realized on AFTER THIS.

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