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STANDARD: In creating your own lane in history, what did you do to keep yourself motivated?
TEJH: To keep myself motivated, I continue to remind myself of where I started from and how far I've already come. It's so easy to become disappointed, frustrated and distracted when you look at the opposition in front of you - but it's also easy to encourage yourself when you look at the hurdles you've already crossed. Some of those hurdles I thought were too high for me to get over, but God made a way. That's how I stay motivated - believing that the gift that God has invested in me will continue to open doors and cause inspiration to others. In all transparency I say this, I've struggled with feeling good enough and what has kept me lifted is hearing God in my prayer time say "Every gift I give is good and is also a seed intended to bloom. Dare not allow the tangible to corrupt the intangible." Simply put, if God thought the gift was good enough to give - who am I to say that the gift is not good enough to be used.
STANDARD: In all the professions you could have chosen, why artistry and singing?
TEJH: The question is why did I choose to be a singer/songwriter. Well, honestly singing was like breathing to me - it was second nature. My dad (the late Pastor Willie L. Johnson), would always tell me I was singing even as a baby. Singing just always felt right to me, it feels like a safe place. While music feels like a safe place to me, it has also allowed me to vent about life, love and even frustrations lyrically. I enjoy creating art that relates to people’s lives. One major thing that I've learned is that so many people think they're the only ones going through a specific scenario, but when they hear a song I've written that relates to them - they don't feel alone anymore. That makes my heart smile. I don't want people to feel alone in there struggles. Being an artist allows me to do that a little bit.
STANDARD: While searching for the perfect name to present you album, why "Love Out Loud"?
TEJH: I chose Love Out Loud as the album title because I wanted a name that described what I once was afraid of. While I grew up in the “church” and loved my parents dearly, I can’t say it was the best experience for me. For a long time I hated what growing up in the “church” caused for me. I’m sure it may have been different for some, but for me it was harsh and full of loneliness. I watched our household struggle in efforts of building the church. I was forced to be the example kid for all the children in the ministry I grew up in (no child should carry this load). I was restricted from listening to anything other than gospel and punished if I did so. I was forced to use my gift at church and no where else. I remember being pulled out of the high school choir by my collar because I wasn’t using my gift officially at the church. I was miserable. Growing up in the “church” (and again I point out this may have been different for others) created a void and an emptiness that I wanted to fill.
My journey has taught me that God is so much bigger than what we, as mankind, think. God is love on so many different levels. God is not restricted to the church building or from those we considered “unsaved”. God is a demonstration of love and that’s what I wanted to convey. I wanted the name of the album to start a movement to Love Out Loud and be a demonstration of that love.
Sorry for the back story, but hopefully it helps you understand how I came to feel the way I do.
STANDARD: What would you recommend to any artist beginning their career in music?
TEJH: What I would recommend to any artist beginning their career is to STUDY, Practice and have a Prayer Life. Study your craft and study the business. Read, develop and learn to execute your gift as best you can - and then trust God for direction. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent - so if you practice wrong, your presentation is wrong. When you practice, try to get it right every time...just try. You’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes the more you do it.
STANDARD: What are some of the important take aways many of your fanatics will gain from listening to "Love Out Loud"?
TEJH: Honestly I think some of the take aways from listening to the Love Out Loud album will be:
- Real Music and Instruments STILL exist!
- Music is more than just a beat, it’s a lyrical story that paints a picture from start to finish.
- The music is absolutely RELATABLE to life moments.
STANDARD: Lastly, every person symbolizes something and every Legacy leaves a message; when everything is said and done, what would your Legacy message leave and symbolize?
TEJH: I believe that my legacy will be my music and my poetry that conveys athe message that we are good enough. We Are Always Good Enough To Fulfill Purpose. We Are Good Enough To Do What We Were Born To Do. We Are Good Enough To Go Further Than We Could Ever Imagine. God is the giver of good gifts - and we are those gifts. I hope that this would symbolize the end of self doubt and the beginning of trusting that God wants the very best for us.
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