JJ Hairston is the Director of Youthful Praise. He is a member of Turner's Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C., Int'l. in Bridgeport CT under the leadership of two gospel music legends, Bishop J.C. White and Evangelist Gloria White.
JJ is a native of Brooklyn, NY, where he attended Mt. Sinai Cathedral, C.O.G.I.C. where his grandfather, Bishop Clarence Sexton Sr., was the Pastor. However, his love for gospel music began at his current church when his friend, Shawn Brown, asked him to come to choir rehearsal. It was then that James gave his heart, as well as his voice, talent, and his feet to the Lord. Inspired by the writing ability of his friend Shawn and his pastor, Bishop White, James began writing his own songs such as "He is the Spirit" and "Garment of Praise." Since then, James has been called upon to write and direct for many well-known artists.
To God be the Glory for such a talented young man. God has blessed and anointed JJ to put melody to his testimony, and the testimony of others. He is an admirer of the songwriting styles of Thomas Whitfield, Rudolph Stanfield, Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, Kirk Franklin, James Hall, and Melvin Crispell. He also admires the directing styles of Ricky Dillard, and James Hall. JJ is well known for his exuberant style of directing and singing. You may even recognize him from the choir "James Hall and Worship & Praise" where he was a member for several years.
JJ's ultimate desire is that young people would see him as an active young man, yet as a servant of the Lord and realize you don't have to be old to be saved. Expect great things from this young man in days to come.
Generations have come and gone with young people singing for the Lord. Today, in our turbulent society, comes a group of young people doing something special, positive, creative and is a force to be reckoned with. Who says this is a lost generation? Certainly not with "YP" - better known as YOUTHFUL PRAISE. They are back on the scene with a brand new live CD in stores now.
They dynamic voices of Youthful Praise have been wowing audiences for over sixteen years. Formerly known as the Teens of T.F.T. they have grown within their home church of Turner's Faith Temple (Bridgeport, CT), into an effective ministry that dazzles and delights through the gift of song.
In August of 2001, after much anticipation, the choir released their first live recording Awesome God on Evidence Gospel label, a division of Gospelflava.com. The smash title single "Awesome God" caught on with church choirs nationwide and spread faster than anyone ever imagined. The song has been performed over and over, but none quite like the original, first recorded by YP.
This debut release garnered critical acclaim as it earned Youthful Praise recognition industry wide. Among the nods, the 2003 Stellar Award nominations for Choir of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year, the Soul Train Award nomination for Gospel Artist of the Year, the Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Award nomination for Choir of the Year and the Gospel Truth Magazine Award for Contemporary Choir of the Year.
Their mid 2004 release Thank You For The Change featured more of the same great mix of choral praise, contemporary gospel and straight-up church songs like "Bless Him," "I Shall Praise" and "U There" featuring Cheryl "Coko" Gamble, formerly of SWV. This project received a Stellar Award nomination for Choir of the year, as well as one of 'Kirk's picks' from the Hopeville 2 Tour last fall featuring Yolanda Adams, Pastor Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin.
Now YP is back, and better than ever. Released on August 23rd, Youthful Praise featuring James Hairston, Live! The Praise. . . The Worship is a refreshing blend of the YP sound you've come to love, with a fresh new choral approach to songs geared towards the Worship and Praise experience.
"Traditionally these types of songs are sung by smaller ensembles," says Hairston, "but this was the vision and dream of mine, it was God-purposed for me to go this route. And because of my obedience to God, it has paid off for me tremendously as well as spiritually. This is a good season for us, it feels good to be YP." Hairston adds, "Our last CD was a wonderful project, and its title, Thank You For The Change, is also actually very fitting for this new project too. While you get a taste of the old YP, we hope to ultimately take you to another area of worship which I believe reflects our growth not only vocally but spiritually."
With songs like 'You Are So Awesome,' 'Incredible God, Incredible Praise' & 'Praise To The Rock,' this CD is sure to resonate in the souls and spirits of not just gospel music lovers, but Christians everywhere, regardless of race, genre or denomination. One thing is for sure, 'God is AWESOME.'
Following in the reputable vocal lineage of their pastor and first lady, Bishop J.C. and Evangelist Gloria White (former director and soloist of the renowned Institutional Radio Choir), Youthful Praise raise the bar for choral excellence. With an unparalleled energy and poise, the choir's television appearances have included Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2002, The Stellar Awards and Bobby Jones Gospel in both 2002 and 2003. Appreciated for their choral expertise, Joan Osbourne, Shirley Caesar and Destiny's Child have all utilized this choir's ministry talent for performances.
Minister James Hairston, Jr. continues to write most of the material Youthful Praise sings as well as songs for Pastor Hezekiah Walker and others. He is also very busy on the workshop and seminar circuit for colleges, churches and youth groups across the country. With stellar vocal technique and an unsurpassed energy, Hairston and YP are the ultimate combination: add to that a corps of cutting edge musicians under the direction of Eric Davis and the package is complete.
Youthful Praise is poised for breakthrough, and ready to let the world know just how awesome He is.