‘Redemption’ is defined as the act of being saved from sin. Redemption is also the focal point of the Christian faith. Gifted guitarist and eOne recording artist, Jabari Johnson, has tagged ‘redemption’ as the title to his debut release. One listen to Jabari’sDay Of Redemptionis a listening session to a man’s soulful confession.
The songs are mired in melodies that emit adoration for the Savior. It’s the running theme and lingering spirit that’s present throughout the EP. Jabari is currently in a good place, as a key musician in a mega ministry and as a new artist on a major label.BlackGospel.comspoke with Johnson about his love for Jesus, his journey as an artist and that special day he was redeemed for a greater purpose.
Christopher Heron: Let’s begin with some fun facts, could friends or family get away calling you JJ or is it strictly Jabari?
Jabari Johnson: They usually call me Jabari but my mom calls me ‘Bari for some reason. I don’t let the men in my family get away with calling me ‘Bari, though. Jabari is my name.
Christopher Heron: You’re one of the Levites at The Potter’s House in Dallas, TX. What’s your favorite song to minister as a guitarist during Praise & Worship?
Jabari Johnson:It would have to beYour Great NamebyTodd Dulaney.
Christopher Heron:That’s definitely the jam. And it’s NBA playoff season. Do you have a dog in the fight? Cavs, Celtics, Rockets, Warriors, or are you rolling with the Mavericks, since you live in Dallas?
Jabari Johnson: The Mavericks? I’m from Houston, though, so I can’t ride with the Mavericks. I’m a Warriors fan. We’re about to beat the Rockets. The Cavs, they’re losing, so that’s horrible. No matter whatLeBron Jamesdoes, they still lose.
Christopher Heron: Let’s dive into the music. From what I see from the sidelines, things are happening at a lightning speed. How did a guitarist from The Potter’s House end up at Entertainment One?
Jabari Johnson:Well, I was an artist before I got to The Potter’s House, but just being a part of that ministry is a great experience. I’m sitting underBishop T.D. Jakes. Anytime you’re under someone like that, you can’t help but go up. Like I said, I was already an artist. My brother and I started playing instruments when we were 3 years old. We started a quartet group when we were 7 years old. My brother is a CCM artist.
Christopher Heron: So, how exactly were you brought into the fold of The Potters’ House Ministry?
Jabari Johnson:I used to attend the AIM Convention under the Church of God in Christ and I metAsaph Wardthere about 8 years ago. I was playing forMyron Williamsat the time. He asked me to fill in a few times, as a guitarist. So, I came and I played guitar and they started shouting during service. And he was like, ‘’Let me hear that guitar some more.’’ After service, he said, ‘’You need to come back.’’ So, I drove back and forth from Houston to Dallas. Then after a while, it was about April, they offered me a job. So “Ace” is the world to me.
Christopher Heron: What are some of the lessons in ministry and artistry you’ve learned being with a ministry like The Potter’s House?
Jabari Johnson: Bishop Jakes teaches that everything involves a team. You can’t do it by yourself. We all feed off of each other. I used to be one person doing everything but now I’m involved in multiple systems, where everybody is working together trying to make things happen. Every Sunday is a production, we have to rehearse, we have skits we have to produce every week. That takes a team to do stuff like that.
Christopher Heron: For you, what’s the biggest difference ministering with an instrument versus ministering with your voice?
Jabari Johnson: I wouldn’t say there’s a difference because playing guitar or singing, you must have a relationship with God. If you’re up singing and not in the word of God, then you don’t have a relationship with Him. I wouldn’t say there’s a big difference because you have to know Him in order to minister effectively,
Christopher Heron:I love the title of the album,Day of Redemption. What does the day of redemption mean and when was that day of redemption for you?
Jabari Johnson:A day of redemption means this is the day that I’m putting everything behind me and setting my focus on things that God has for me. I’m not looking back, I’m not going to give up. I’m just going to move forward. My day of redemption was when I moved to Dallas, when they offered me a job at The Potter’s House. I let that email sit there for two weeks. I didn’t want to take the job. That’s pretty crazy. People ask me all the time, ‘’Who wouldn’t want to play for Bishop Jakes?’’ And I was like, ‘’I’m a mama’s boy and my mom lives in Houston. I’m leaving my family. I’m leaving these home cooked meals I get every day.’’ But I moved outside of my comfort zone. That was the day that I said, ‘’You need to step into your purpose.’’ And ever since I moved to Dallas, it’s been only up for me. It’s been amazing.
Christopher Heron:I love you talking about moving outside of your comfort zone.
Jabari Johnson:That jump was something that I was scared of. I encourage people all the time to do the same. LikeSteve Harveysaid it best, ‘’If you never jump, you’ll never know what’s there for you.’’