Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | August 31, 2009

Youthful Praise-Resting On His Promise In Stores 9/01/2009

youthful praise
Youthful Praise
Resting On
His Promise
Light Records
in stores 09.01.09
Article taken from Youthful Praise and worship leader, James “JJ” Hairston have traveled the world, ministered the gospel, and have garnered national and international recognition. Through their career, YP has set a new standard regarding the “church choir” and with no signs of slowing down they continue Resting On His Promise. With 17 years in the ministry, YP has undoubtedly learned to trust what God has done and will continue to do for them.
Founded in 1992, the 35-member choir was birthed out of their home church, Cathedral of Praise in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the group remains as one of the church’s choirs. As their ministry grew they began singing background for artists such as Destiny’s Child, Pastor Shirley Caesar, and SWV, to name a few.

Currently Hairston writes, produces, and leads YP, although in his youth he did not imagine himself in such a position. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Hairston spent most of his time at Mt. Sinai Cathedral COGIC where his grandfather Bishop C.L. Sexton was the pastor and his mother served as choir director. JJ would watch daily as the ministry was laid before him, but never thought he would follow in his mother’s footsteps. Soon after his family moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, JJ was struck with tragedy as a good friend was shot and killed. At that point, Hairston made a decision to make a change in his life and began directing the Central High School Gospel Choir, subsequently joining YP.

After years singing in the choir, Hairston became co-director of YP alongside Shawn Brown. When Brown left YP to become a pastor, Hairston stepped into the position as director. Already co-writing, arranging, and producing many of the songs, Hairston took his responsibilities and continued developing the signature sound that people have to grown to love from YP.

In 2001, YP released their debut album, Awesome God, with Evidence Gospel (a division of The mid-tempo title track became an instant hit among church and college choirs across America, and propelled the album to #13 on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart. Additionally, it earned two Stellar Award nods in 2003 for Choir of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year, a Soul Train Award nomination for Gospel Artist of the Year, the Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Award nomination for Choir of Year and the Gospel Truth Magazine Award for Contemporary Choir of the Year.

The 2004 release of Thank You For The Change continued in the same stride with songs “Up There” and “He Rose”. However, it was Live: The Praise, The Worship, released in 2005 that put YP on the map. Producing the anthem, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” YP received two Stellar Award nominations, peaked at #6 on the Billboard’s gospel singles chart, and was also #27 on Billboard’s hottest gospel songs of 2006.

It was difficult to imagine how YP would top such a massive hit but they did with the live recording of Exalted…Live In Baltimore. The project was highlighted for “bringing it all together” with praise and worship, rock and R&B inspired tunes, and church music. This album created a more personal message from the choir and particularly Hairston with “You Are” and “Freedom.” On the same album was the track “Everything Has Changed” which was as a precursor to the message of Change that Presidential candidate Barack Obama (now President-elect) spread throughout his campaign.

The newest project in their legacy is a hybrid of the “ole’ school” YP sound with some new school edge, which adds an additional stamp to the YP imprint. The choir shares their transparency while allowing listeners to visualize the results of their faithfulness. During this time of disparity, Resting On His Promise gives a message of hope and the ability to believe in something or someone bigger than us. The new single and title track, with its mid-tempo swing, shares that “I’m resting on His promise/I know He’s working it out for me/I’m resting on His promise/I know that God is covering me.” In YP tradition, their complex lyrics and harmonious melodies have been tightly packaged into their new anthem, “Powerful God”. Best described as a musical testimony, the song starts asking simply, “How did I make it out of all the things that I was in?” yet resolves boldly with “I should have never doubted you/my Savior/always being able.”

The project also boasts appearances by Gospel greats; Dorinda Clark-Cole with the jazzy yet traditional “Still Mighty”; singer, songwriter and producer, Myron Butler ministers on “Great Expectations”; and Pastor Shirley Caesar gives “High Praise” as she graces the album.

YP has had numerous television appearances such as BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel, Video Gospel and Lift Every Voice, The Stellar Awards, TBN’s Praise The Lord, Gospel Music Channel’s The Kitchen Sink and Hometown Gospel, just to name a few. They also maintain a rigorous tour schedule; which enables them to Praise the Lord with their supporters all over the world. Singing songs from all of their projects, their appearances are known for being energetic and spirit filled.

Youthful Praise has matured in age; however their message has stayed consistent… to praise and uplift the name of the Lord.


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