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Casey J: From Georgia Classroom to Gospel Stage

It’s been a whirlwind two year-period for Casey J Hobbs – a former elementary school teacher from Atlanta who said she just wanted to be obedient to God and record a few songs of praise that could encourage other people of faith.

But the contemporary gospel music world has embraced her, her vocal style and her debut album, “The Truth,” including her hit single, “Fill Me Up.” In fact, the single has already spent nine weeks at #1 on the Hot Gospel Songs chart and has recently crossed over to the Adult R&B and Urban Contemporary radio formats.

The album, she says, comes from John 4:23-23 with every song either talking about the truth of who God is or the truth about where we are in our need for His love. Young adults have particularly been drawn to her praise and worship style and her energetic persona.

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 13: Casey J performs during the 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards Pre Show at Allen Arena, Lipscomb University on October 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for Dove Awards)
NASHVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 13: Casey J performs during the 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards Pre Show at Allen Arena, Lipscomb University on October 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for Dove Awards)

“Youth want a genuine sincerity when they walk into a ‘God experience,’” said Casey J, 30, born and raised in Atlanta. “Everything is reality today, like reality TV, and it’s causing the church as an organization to be more accountable in terms of the information they’re giving to young people. Youth are displaying a tenacity that the church has not seen before and which demands a new level of evangelism in the hands of youth that is truly unique.”

Casey Y joins Fred Hammond and other gospel legends as part of the Festival of Praise tour which hits the District in early November. She said it’s been an experience that she’ll never forget.

“When we recorded the CD, I was still working in the classroom and my intention was not to break into the gospel industry but to follow the instruction of God. But God had a plan much bigger than I could have ever imagined. I stepped out on faith and now I’m able to see the success that He ordained.”

“I think there’s room for all kinds of subgenres within the scope of gospel music – there’s no one size fits all. The tour showcases that – from traditional foot-stomping music to more contemporary forms which I represent. We’re having a wonderful time on the tour bus too. It’s been great. But the real eye-opening part for me has been the conversations we’ve had on the bus as we move across the country.”

“These artists have been doing this for a long time. They’ve done well. And I’m learning from them. Learning how to grow and navigate my way through this industry. And I’ve realized that my form of ministry is something that many people desire. I’m called to corporate worship and am called to create spaces for people so that they can do more than just watch – they can become engaged and participate with me in worshiping God.”

As for her former days in the classroom, Casey J said she hasn’t totally abandoned her penchant for educating others.

“I am passionate about worship education and hope to be even more creative in developing ways to help churches and faith-based organizations as they bring more of the faithful into spaces where they are comfortable in connecting to God,” she said. “I guess you could say that I’m still teaching – it’s just in slightly different ways and with other forms of expression.”

Look for Casey J at caseyjmusic.com.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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