March 12th, 2010 11:15 EST
SOP Battle of the Bands Featuring Willie J with 'I'm Ready'
Willie Jones, was born in East Saint Louis, Illinois. He began singing at the age of six in his church choir, in which he was chosen as the lead. He also developed an awesome talent for the drums and would often rotate from the drums to the microphone. While growing up, Willie embraced a passion for songwriting and composing, which would become an outlet to escape inner city struggles. At the age of twelve Willie introduced his first written gospel song to his youth choir and the song became a hit within his church organization as well as other outside churches. His success writing gospel songs for his youth choir would become short lived because he found himself struggling with two different lifestyles, church and the streets.
Pressure in his neighborhood streets of Washington Park/East St. Louis was forcing him to become more like everyone else in those streets. He found himself living a double life of performing for God while living a street life. He became a witness to a lot of crime and violence, which resulted in the loss of close friends and family. Willie was hit extremely hard when his close cousin Tony Holloway was killed in a drive-bye. Tony`s death would trigger a new heightened passion in Willie to concentrate on writing, performing, and perfecting his instrument playing.
After high school Willie decided to pursue his music ministry full time. Willie formed the contemporary gospel group EAC (Excited About Christ) where he was the lead vocalist, writer and co-producer. He hooked up with long time friend and high school ban partner, Theo Harden for instrumentation assistance and his brother, Louis Harden, for production assistance. The three of them formed the production group known as MD or the Muzic Doctorz. The group wrote all the songs for EAC and began to perform and open from many gospel artists including Donnie McClurkin, Tonex, Hubbard Spearmen, Lashun Pace, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin, Ce Ce Winans, John P Kees, Bobby Jones and recently opened for Integrity/Columbia`s newest Christian artist Freddy Rodriguez!
Gospel Group EAC disbanded and Willie later went solo as Willie J. He and his production crew MD set out to develop a unique sound for music by mixing different cultural elements of music and melodies to hard urban hip-hop beats.
For years they traveled to many musical cities and conventions shopping demos for and track for other artist. They eventually hooked up with former Universal recording artist, Pretty Willie who fell in love with their unique sound and wanted them to produce his next independent project with his new company WilFlo Records. While producing Pretty Willie now known as P Dub, Willie J pursued a drum career on the side while creating a new sound for his music. Willie J`s songs became edgier and the lyrical topics became more transparent with real testimonies of his personal struggles of living Christian life in this new day and age. Willie`s edgy urban Christian music created a buzz in church youth group ministries throughout East Saint Louis and Saint Louis.
Coincidentally his talents on the drums became recognized in two international drum magazines, Modern Drummer and Drumm Magazine around the same time. Willie J started to receive a lot of attention from local St. Louis news stations, radio stations, and every local St. Louis professional drum endorsement deals, such as Paiste, Evans and Regal Tip. He also received numerous offers from independent record labels in which he is yet to sign until all possible options are explored. After ten years of grinding ,Willie J and MD Productions credits consist of two number one singles with St. Louis recording artist Pretty Willie aka P Dub. They also have a credit with his most recent hit single Good Thang " on which Willie J plays live drums, acoustic guitar, and piano. They have also had live recording sessions with Lil Zhane,and Cedric the Entertainment. Two major film score credits on Johnson Family Vacation and Waist Deep with hip-hop artist Mac 10. Their latest credit in the gospel industry is with Canton Jones on his latest album.
Willie J is no stranger to the Club scene where he has opened for Mainstream secular artist such as The Young Bloodz (Sean Paul), Lil John East Side Boyz, Lil Zhane, Marcus Houston, Lil Scrappy, New Edition, and Even at the House of Blues with DJ Quick in LA Hollywood!
Willie J also a talented author promoted his latest published book entitled The Crying Songbird ", which is now available in all major bookstores worldwide. Willie J received a major publishing deal two months after his mother passed of breast cancer. He dedicated his book in memory of her. Since then he has been interviewed by Denine Busby on Foxxy 95.5, Halleuhiah 1600a.m. on the Praise Mix with D. Stone and Warner, 1570a.m. The Light in Atlanta, DA with Saila Rachelle, The St. Louis Post News Paper, The Belleville News-Democrat News Paper, and Channel 11 on the National TV Show (It`s All About Youth). He was the first author to sale out at a major book signing Walden Books and Barnes & Nobles during his book signings.
Willie J also has a debut album named, The Crying Songbird ", which is the soundtrack to his book. He has a single in rotation on gospel stations on St. Louis, Sacramento California, Columbus Georgia, and Kenya Africa! His single entitled I Don`t Wanna Fall " has been placed on an international compilation project for the nation of Uganda! This compilation consists of various Christian artist from around the country, being entitled Unified by Grace ". This single has also been reported to saving a 16 year old girl`s life during a suicide attempt. Willie has also had two of his album tracks featured on the Christian reality show Urban Living " on the BET Jazz station.
Willie J has released three successful mix tapes. One of the mix tapes The Crying Songbird " sold out in just 3 days in Taiwan while on a 3 week tour opening for a Christian and Praise Worship Group Harvest " in January 2009! This same mix tape is now doing very well in Kenya Africa! There Willie J will be headlining his first tour sometime in the near future.
Willie J is now getting spins in clubs from his new single "Soul Mate" an edgy love story about how his wife held him down through facing prison time, losing his mother and grandma, hustling on tha block, and nearly losing his life to blade wounds! This song is inspired by his poem entitled "Soul Mate" in his debut book as a national author entitled "The Crying Songbird"! His book has been reported to changing lives in the Prison cells of Connecticut so that they have asked him to come and inspire the inmates through poetry and song! Preparing to release his second novel of poetry and principles later this year. The novel is called "Goodbye Past Hello Future!
His story is not just about sadness. Willie J feels that he has a mission to shining his light back to the hoods globally, providing readers and listeners a sense of hope through his writing of both poetry and song!