J. Moss

Many know him to be the cousin of The Clark Sisters, and the son of Gospel artists Bill and Essie Moss. But J. Moss is many things. He has written, produced and recently delved into artist development, together with his PAJAM compatriots. Of course, J. Moss is also a top notch solo artist, having brought home truckful of Stellar J. Mosstrophies for his GospoCentric debut, The J. Moss Project. GOSPELflava.com recently spent some time with the man.

GOSPELflava.com: You certainly are prolific. In fact, it's hard to keep tabs on all that you do, especially lately. Where does your inspiration for writing and producing come from?

J.Moss: For me now, man, it's all divinely orchestrated. The reason why I say that is because I'm at a different place in my life to where everything I do now is geared toward and centered around kingdom building —straight ministry.

Now six years ago when we first started as producers, it was like half from the Lord and half just gifts and talents (laughing). But now God is saying "J. Moss, I have you in a place where I need you to let everything else go, and focus on me." So now everything is coming directly from Him.

GOSPELflava.com: That is very evident in hearing you perform. We've caught up with you here on the Yolanda Today Tour in February 2006, and you are the opening act. How was it been going so far?

J.Moss: It's a very big challenge. I thank Yolanda Adams for the opportunity, because she could have called a lot of people to do this tour with her. Yolanda is at a point in her career where she has her own built-in audience. I say it's a challenge because a lot of her audience didn't know me, or what I was about. A lot of people will come up to me after the shows and say, "Wow! I didn't know you sang that song" or "Wow! I didn't know you were about ministry". So, it's been both a challenge and a blessing, man.

GOSPELflava.com: How do you stay in such good voice?

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J.Moss: "I try and stay away from the coughers, man! Since I have been on the tour I have been 100 percent, but we went to one city and I caught a bug. So I was out for a while. Ever since then I have made sure I stay away from that, and I make sure I stay within my limitations. A lot of times church folks especially will try and over sing. But I make sure I stay within my vocal limitations and that way I can be strong every night vs. singing over my range on Monday, and having no voice on Tuesday. I just know my limitations and stay within those.

GOSPELflava.com: Did you go to school for formal training or was this strictly a gift that you developed through practice.

J.Moss: We've all been formally trained. I learned a lot of theory. I went to school for music, my brother has a degree in music, of course Twinkie [Clark] has a degree so its in the bloodline, man. And Paul [D. Allen] went to school for engineering and the technical side. Walter went to school for marketing and business administration. When we sat down and brought everything to the table it was like a big melting pot. We gave it to God and he has worked with it.

GOSPELflava.com: Now you and a couple of your peers in the ministry are being slammed real hard for producing tracks for secular artists. How do you deal with the criticism?

J. MossJ.Moss: Well you know the bible says to work out your own salvation, and I really feel for me, I only have to report to God. At the same time, like I said earlier, God has me in a different place right now. I haven't written a secular song in almost three years now. But it's not something that I feel I need to address publicly saying "Hey, I don't do R&B anymore". I mean I feel people get a little too deep into that. PAJAM is a full production house. We own that company and they are going to work with artists who are not always gospel. Do I have my hand directly in that? Not so much as of right now because of where God has me, but its not public news. Right now I am on my focus of the ministry and that's where I am at.

GOSPELflava.com: What has been the most rewarding moment thus far in your career since the launch of the solo CD?

J.Moss: Seeing people blessed after the shows, on the email, the fan sites, the blogs, that has been the biggest thing for me. Now the GRAMMY nods, and Stellars that's a plus too!

GOSPELflava.com: And congratulations on those honors! You just walked away from the Stellar Awards a three-time winner, one of those being Male Vocalist of the Year, and you had a Grammy nomination. How does that feel?

J.Moss: To be celebrated by your peers is great! To come out one night and Fred [Hammond] is there. The Winans are there. Shirley [Caesar] is there. Albertina [Walker] is there. Andrae Crouch, Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary are there. Ty [Tribbett] is sitting right next me —all your peeps are there, you know? Everyone kind of gets their turn. A couple of years ago, Byron [Cage] had his
The J. Moss Project
CD It's absolutely no surprise that the album's first single, and album crackerjack is a slammin', neck-fracturing, street ride. "I Wanna Be" is a massive jam wired with a pounding bass line and J. Moss' creatively stacked vocals.....

Read full album review.

year. And now he's passing the torch to me telling me he knew my year was coming. Israel had a good year and Tonéx (miss you man) had a great year last year. It's just great to come into those types of arenas and celebrate each other. I just love it! This years Stellars was a great moment in my career.

GOSPELflava.com: Is there someone in the industry who you consider to be a close friend?

J.Moss: Yeah, that would definitely have to be Bishop Eddie Long.

GOSPELflava.com: Do you consider him to be your spiritual father?

J.Moss: Yea spiritual father as well as just my boy too. It's nice to hear someone saying they are covering me but for him to pick up the phone and call and say "J, where you at?" and I say, "Dad, I'm in Columbus." and he say "For what?" and I say "On tour with Yolanda." and he then tell me he was just checking in. It's one thing to SAY you're J. Mosscovering me but another when you pick the phone up and let me know, not only are you praying for me, but you're time out of your busy schedule to let me know you love me. I really appreciate him. I can really count on him when I need him.

GOSPELflava.com: The CD has had so much success —it's been out since October, 2004 and it's still getting lots of play. Are there plans to jump right back in the studio for a second CD or do you still plan to ride this out as little while longer?

J.Moss: Oh we're in the studio! It's actually slated for the fall [2006]. We may move it up, and we may move it back, but were already in the studio doc!

GOSPELflava.com: Now that you are a married man, how has life been on the road away from your wife and children? How do you balance it?

J.Moss: You know what man? You don't really. You just flow with it. I'm like Michael Jordan use to say, "Just let the game come to you". Whatever God is doing with me right now I'm just riding the wave. Whatever it is, however he wants to use me or portray me, whether it's the producer, the cousin of, the big brother to, the third piece of PAJAM, the artist, the voice, whatever it is as long as he's getting the glory out of it. I just trust him to work everything out.

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interview by Steven Jones

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