Jekalyn Carr is a Stellar Award Winning Gospel Singer, Evangelist, and Entrepreneur. A native of West Memphis, Arkansas, Jekalyn began singing at the age of 5 and started preaching at the age of 13. Now, 19 years old, Jekalyn is getting ready to release her much anticipated album “The Life Project” on August 5, 2016!
In this exclusive interview, I spoke with Jekalyn to discuss her music, being young in ministry, and protecting the gifts that the Lord has given to each of us.
CW: Your ministry is so powerful! Being 19 years old now, at what age did you accept the call?
JC: Well, I've been singing all my life, but it wasn't until I was 9 years old that I actually decided that I was going to sing seriously. I showed a lot of faith at a very young age, but by the age of 13 that's when God began to speak to me, and He said, "Don't you know that I require more of you?” See, at that time I couldn't really understand what He was saying, so I kept on doing what I normally did which was sing, and He spoke it again. He said, "That's not what I require of you." At that age is when He called me to preach and I’ve been traveling the world preaching and singing the Gospel of Jesus Christ since then. Once I accepted my calling of preaching, that's when God expanded my deepest ministry to the world. I was told, "Greater is coming." When I was 15 years old is when the world really started to know who I was musically.
CW: Do you believe your obedience to your calling has birthed the magnitude of your ministry as it is today?
JC: See, one thing we have to understand is that when we’re operating in our true calling and true purpose, the blessings and opportunities are going to fall into place. That's exactly what God did through me and for me. So, yes once I accepted my higher calling which was preaching, He took care of everything!
CW: I know you mentioned how you started singing first then preaching and there were gaps in between the two. You also stated how you have been ministering for a long time, but you were not known nationally until the age of 15. It seems that you trusted God and His timing for every season of your life. What did you learn during the process?
JC: It's just in due time and in seasons where God will allow our gifts to be heard. You cannot force anything, but you have to do it in the time of God. That's what really has been a very, very important fact in my ministry. Everything has happened in the timing of God. God has allowed me to do everything that I've done thus far in His timing, and because of that, I'm able to fully live out what He wants me to do. One thing we have to understand is when we try to force something before time, we cannot really receive the full gratification because one thing we have to realize is that God does not release it sometimes when we want Him to release it. The process is in place to prepare us for it. He has to ensure that we can handle what we're asking for. Even though you may have a voice, in God's timing, you got to make sure that your voice is heard. That's basically one of the most important facts that did come from my ministry, that we as a body have to realize is that we have to do things in the timing of God.
CW: What has been the best advice that you’ve received thus far as a gospel artist?
JC: One thing that I will always hold dear to my heart is something that Pastor Shirley Caesar once said to me. She has given me so much great advice that has helped me so far. Everything she told me I may not have understood then, but I do now. My grandfather used to always say “You may not need it now, but don't put it on the shelf because that's when I'm going to need it.” Pastor Caesar told me to make sure that I remain unique and in a place where I'm being myself. The world does not need a duplicate of someone else, they need to hear your voice. They need to seek your anointing and who God has created you to be. Due to that, people embrace my ministry and my anointing and the messages that God has given to me whether it’s preaching or through singing.
CW: On the business side of things what has been the biggest lesson you have learned thus far because a lot of people forget that ministry is a business as well. Therefore, what have you done or your parents have done to protect your gift from being exploited or tainted?
JC: One thing we have to do is make sure that we're not being anxious. We have to realize, too, that just because you get a phone call that does not mean that's the door you're supposed to go through. It could just mean you're getting closer to something that God intends for you. We have to understand the Devil, he has plans as well. He doesn't have a certain type of form that he comes in. He comes in any type of shape, form, or fashion. That's why we also need the spirit of discernment, to know when we hear something, we get a phone call, or people come up to us, we have to discern whether it's God or not. We have to keep in mind that the enemy does not like us. His only desire is to make sure that we're not operating in what God intends for us to operate in, to make sure we're not walking in our purpose.
CW: That’s so true! I know you are getting ready to drop your new album “The Life Project” on August 5th! Your new song “You’re Bigger” is amazing! Being 19 years old, people may say, what has she experienced in only 19 years to write such powerful lyrics, what would be your response?
JC: Well, God always takes us through something in order to be a blessing to the body of Christ. What we wanted to do with the song “You're Bigger” was to really call out some of the things that people feel is impossible for them to overcome. In the song, you hear me say “Satan, He's bigger than HIV, He's bigger than IV transfusion, He's bigger than my battle, and He's bigger than financial or marital problems”. There's so many issues that people are facing, and the enemy has a way to really sympathize your issue, so it may seem like we cannot overcome it, but what this song does is it reminds you that it does not matter what you're facing, it does not matter what you're in, God is bigger than that. We also wanted to redirect your focus to God. Take your mind off of your circumstance, take your mind off of your issue and put your eyes and your faith in God. You have to know that when you trust God, and what you put on God, God can introduce you to sides of Him that we have never, ever seen before. Whatever your issue is, you put that song on that issue and watch and see how God will really manifest Himself in your life.
CW: You just preached right there, thank you for that!!!! I’m even more excited for your album to drop now to hear more songs! Well, lastly, I wanted to conclude the interview by encouraging readers. There is so much hate, anger, and frustration built up in the hearts of many due to police brutality and everything else that has transpired in the world in these last few weeks. Can you encourage readers to hold on and continue to put their trust in God during this time?
JC: Absolutely! Father, I thank you for each and every individual that is reading this right now. And Father, I thank you for the healing virtue that you are releasing. We understand that there are a lot of things that is happening, and God we just ask now, that you will strengthen each and every one of us. Father, we will no longer allow the enemy to control our emotions and thoughts. We take a stand, and we're going to do what is right. We're going to treat others the way we want to be treated, not the way we have been treated, but the way we want to be treated. Give us the strength to love one another. Give us a strategy on how to love one another. Father, we thank you for what you're doing in our lives. We know the enemy wants to take our attention off of You. He wants to take our attention off of our purpose, and just make sure that we're not using the life that you have designed for us to live, but we declare that the devil is a liar! We re-balance our focus back to the crown, and Father, we declare that Your will be done in our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.