Blacksmoke Music CEO, Kerry Douglas, has signed singer-songwriter, James Johnson, to an exclusive multi-album recording agreement. The first radio single, “God Will,” is an up-tempo song of encouragement with an R&B flavor. “I’m excited about James Johnson,” Douglas says. “He’s an awesome performer and he has an encouraging message and ministry that’s perfect for these rough times.”
The soulful “God Will” was produced by Greg Mitchell, Jr. (Tamar Braxton, Tyrese) and it features the smooth backing vocals of the noted a cappella group, Resound. “I’m really excited about this deal too,” says Johnson who has a deep music résumé. He hails from Maryland where his father is the pastor of The Mount Zion COGIC Church in East Baltimore. He attended the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts (Jada Pinkett and Tupac Shakur went there too) prior to matriculating at The Peabody Conservatory and Virginia State University.
Over the years, Johnson has served as a minister of music at various churches and currently serves in that role at First Baptist Church of South Richmond, Virginia. He placed his first song with singer Doreen Vail but got his big break with Troy Sneed, who has recorded several of his songs, including the Top 20 smash from 2013, “I Know You Hear Me.” He also co-wrote and produced The Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir’s hit, “You Alone,” which reached No. 2 on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart in 2014.
Johnson’s own career as a singer was initiated by a 2015 diagnosis of relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis. “You Alone” was up for a Stellar Gospel Music Award as Song of the Year when he received the news. Although, his prognosis was uncertain, Johnson leaned on his faith and the notion that God alone would see him through his crisis. He’s since overcome the challenges of MS and is thriving.
“God gave me a testimony that I could sing,” he says and “God Will” is the result. “Each person, whether Christian or non- believer, we go through challenges in life,” he adds. “But, we have this hope that through all of these challenges that God always helps us get through it all.”