JJ Hairston is about to release the sixth album with his choir Youthful Praise and, for the first time in his career, he has landed a #1 single at radio. The song is the epic anthem “You Deserve It”, which is the title track off of his latest CD. In addition to landing in the #1 spot at Gospel radio, “You Deserve It” has been the #1 selling digital Gospel track for more than two months and is a phenomenon on social media. One could say JJ Hairston has a “hit” on his hands.
The album You Deserve It was recorded live at City of Praise Ministries in Hyattsville, MD (where Hairston is the director of music and arts). The 18-track project boasts new recordings of Youthful Praise’s biggest hits alongside new songs with guest artists including Grammy® Award nominated singer, songwriter and producer, Travis Greene. You Deserve It will be the first released on Jamestown Music, the Entertainment One-distributed label that Hairston established last year.
“’You Deserve It’ is a simple song with a huge message,” says Hairston. “It’s a song that gives the accolades and applause to the One who truly deserves it – God! It feels amazing to have a #1 song. This is our first ever, and to do it on the first release on our own record label makes it even more special.”
Hairston says that being a minister of music helps him to stay in touch with what blesses people musically. “Sometimes as artists we can get really caught up in what WE like, but we forget that our music is not for us only, but for all that hear it.”
After recording and releasing projects for more than 15 years with Entertainment One, Hairston wanted to explore his options and “do something different”. So, when it came time to renew their artist contract, Hairston told label executives he and his team wanted to step out on their own. “eOne then allowed us to have a distribution deal instead of an artist deal, and it has been GREAT so far,” he says. “Our goal with Jamestown Music is to be able to give other artists the chance we received over 15 years ago. We’re looking to put out other artists soon, but we wanted to put out our own record first to make sure we know what we’re doing!”
Looking at the anticipation of this album, and the success of the lead single, it certainly appears that Hairston’s business acumen is just as solid as his songwriting and ministry. The Jamestown Music team knows exactly what it is doing.
Hairston is currently on a promo tour for the album and, next month, will embark upon the 20-city Bloody Win Tour with Tye Tribbett. “The Bloody Win Tour will be exciting and impactful,” Hairston says. “All of the artists will be singing each other’s songs…it won’t be like anything you’ve seen from us before.” Hairston has altered his lifestyle to meet the demands of overseeing music and arts at a major church, and traveling extensively as a recording artist. “I’ve changed my eating habits quite a bit… no sweets, no starch, a lot of seafood and vegetables,” he says. “This has helped me to lean out a little which in turn helps me keep my energy at a good level. I also rest as much as I can on the road”
JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise is nominated for two Stellar Gospel Music Awards – Song of the Year and Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year. The ensemble will perform on the telecast, which tapes March 25th in Las Vegas.
15 years is a long time for any group to stay together, but Hairston attributes the endurance of Youthful Praise to the fact that they all really like each other. “I’ve learned that it’s important that you have a great relationship with everyone who sings/ministers with you. Youthful Praise is like my family. So singing and traveling with them never feels like work,” says Hairston.
You Deserve It was released today and is now available for purchase on all digital outlets!