J Anthony shines on ‘Bow Down.’Written by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo has a vast selection of local music to choose from; often we talk about Hip-Hop and R&B. But what about the inspiration for many genres of music, Gospel?
Cleveland-born J Anthony among the middle of six children raised in the church and was often the one put in the spotlight. He claims he doesn’t know why, but I’m guessing his mother knew early on that there was something special about his voice.
Around the age of 7, he formed a gospel group he would be a part of until he was a teenager. Struggling in those formative years between the church and secular world, J Anthony made the decision to leave the church. After high school graduation, he received a track scholarship to The University of Toledo, taking him away from his mother, who is a pastor, his family and church upbringing. But for J Anthony, returning to the church was inevitable. He received his bachelor’s and master’s from The University of Toledo and is currently a vice principal at one of the citiy’s public high schools, E.L. Bowsher.
What makes a vice principal with talent and a passion for guiding youth pursue a career in the music industry? I was able to ask about his musical calling and motivation for his debut album titled, “Bow Down,” a collection of soulful gospel praise. Anthony’s voice is smooth enough to grab and keep your attention. His CD shines on tracks like the title track, “Bow Down,” and “Honor You,” which displays his voice control complementing his lyrics with slow, soulful grooves and beautiful melodies. Anthony’s tenor prevails on up tempo tracks like “Nations” as well. A mix of soul, jazz and praise, the album is receiving rave reviews and J Anthony is humbly taking the interviews as they come.
Martini Rox: After coming back to the church, what led you to the music ministry?
J Anthony: It was one summer when I came home [from College] a new pastor had [come] in to assist with my mom; it was like a whole band. It was a guy playing on the keyboard the whole style of music was contemporary and urban. [I] was like “Oh wow, this is cool!” Something just got in me and I was like “I’m about to take piano lessons!” Art Johnson [Toledo gospel artist] took the time and gave me like six months of [music] theory and I pretty much went from there.
Rox: What led you to a solo career?
Anthony: Anybody in the gospel industry knows who [gospel singer] Israel Houghton is, I had the opportunity to travel with him. This was before he got his Grammy, maybe seven, eight years ago. Before I met him I had been out of the country in Africa twice. Kenya, Nigeria, singing [in] Russia. I sung with a group. It was called 4 Christ. It was mission work, but we were singing.
Rox: How do you hope your gospel ministry will help with your youth ministry?
Anthony: What I want to do is not just the music. It’s bigger than music. It’s bigger than me! Anyone who invites me to be at their church events mostly it’s around youth. Sing obviously, then speaking, I’m all about encouraging the youth [because] I can relate to them well. I’m around them all the time. Whatever’s going on currently, I’m around it and I know. I think that’s what makes me unique and effective. I would help adults connect with [their] youth.
For more information on J Anthony, visit www.therealjanthony.com.
As we continue on …