James Fortune is a man with a message.  He’s been active in ministry since the age of five, when he began playing the drums in his father’s church.  Now, as a two-time Grammy Award nominee and a father, he is using his personal experiences and life lessons as a way to continue to grow, and to help others in the process. His latest album, “Dear Future Me,” was written to encourage listeners to forget about the hurt of past mistakes and hardships, and to look ahead to what God has planned for their lives.

James Fortune counts gospel legends like John P. Kee and Kirk Franklin as two of his main musical inspirations.

“A lot of my sound came from the influence of those two artists, and as I began to mature, God began to give me my own songs, and I began to write and pick a sound that I love,” said Fortune.

He notes that his sound has matured from album to album, and in “Dear Future Me,” he is focusing on looking ahead. In this latest project, Fortune sings about “speaking to our future self.”

“A lot of times what we worry about most is the future, and getting past the next stage of life, and what the future holds,” said Fortune.  “We understand that life and death is in the power of the tongue, and we can speak positivity and life, or we can speak death.”

“What I’ve discovered is that when you spend so much time looking backwards, you can never really walk into what the future has for you, because you are allowing the old you and the things you may have allowed in the past to taint and hinder what God has for the future you,” continued Fortune.  “The album is a letter to our future self, and it’s all about being positive and uplifting.”

In addition to music, Fortune is working to help uplift others through work with his new record label, and he’s even moving beyond music to help encourage other men to walk in what God has planned for their lives.

“I have a Back to Manhood seminar, conference, and tour that is going to be starting in the fall. I’ll be speaking to men, helping them get through life, and understand that their past doesn’t have to be their future. They may have failed, but they aren’t failures.  They may have made mistakes but their lives don’t have to be mistakes. I’m allowing God to use me in any way he wants.”

In speaking on his 2014 domestic violence arrest, Fortune notes that what has helped him the most has been learning to be accountable for his actions.

“I am human, and I understand that there are moments and seasons where, as a man, you may fall,  but it’s not about when you fall because you will. It’s about how to get up from a fall,” said Fortune.

“It all starts with accountability. It was all about owning the decisions I made. I won’t call them mistakes, because mistakes are done unintentionally. Sometimes we make decisions that we are ashamed of, and don’t want to take accountability for. That’s what turned the corner for me. When you just go on without accepting responsibility, what you are doing is holding in shame.  That becomes toxic, and the cycle continues because you’re still hurt.  You cant help people until you’re healed, and one of the main things about healing is being accountable.”

Purchase your copy of his new album “Dear Future Me” in stores and on all major digital outlets today!

Cara Noel is a New Jersey native, who now resides in Brooklyn.  A proud graduate of Morgan State and Drexel Universities, Cara is a unionist and rabble rouser, who loves Jesus, music, and all things pretty.  Follow her on Twitter at @noelcarad.