John Jay | The Secret to Life

John Jay - The Secret To Life

John Jay |The Secret to Life
By Peggy Oliver

John Jay may not be a household name in the gospel industry — yet. However, by no means, does it diminish the fact that his talents have been solidified through his body of work and in a variety of musical settings. From appearances at Jazz Aspen Snowmass to the Holy Hip Hop Awards, Jay’s gospel journey can certainly not be put in any kind of box. As a vocal and songwriting contributor to Bloodline Music Group, the Richmond, Virginia native primarily ministered to a high school and college audience with an unusual brand of urban worship utilizing neo-soul, hip-hop and R&B and jazz. Jay also experienced a six year relationship with gospel choir extraordinaire — Ricky Dillard & New G — from 2004 to 2010, including being part of their 2007 release The 7th Episode: Live in Toronto.. But no matter what musical environment he participates in and how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sent, Jay always maintains a high integrity level in his ministry. After ten years in developing his niche in a group setting, Jay steps on a solo platform for the first time with The Secret to Life.

Jay’s laid back neo-soulful tenor voice on The Secret to Life sinks into honest lyrics that center on how to maintain a victorious life in Christ. Yet his impressive musicality makes this DesDan Music Group disc an extra appealing listen. “My Good” skates on a mix of hip hop and a brass-induced tango while illustrating how Christians need to draw strength from another source: “Lord I love the way you came and took all my mistakes.” The first single, “Take Me Up,” demonstrates the exuberance of gospel music matched with go-go beats and the chants of “a lil’ bit higher” supply plenty of after-kick. With an intriguing contrast between spring in the Big Apple and the warmth of Christ, the poetic flow of “Spring in New York” is accented with a soundtrack of sparkling piano driven by head nodding beats. Upcoming independent Richmond, Virginia gospel vocalist Delirowe joins Jay on the chilled out R&B vibe of “Searching” that deals with handling daily trails: “It’s a problem that’s too big to ignore.” The title track is anchored by looped intensive Irish chords, which fits the theme of battling spiritual good and evil: “Speeding down I-64 going about 75, Frustrated and angry cause I had so much on my mind.” Of course, there is that joyous solution: “I started thinking about You and all the things you do, and I started smiling.” Even with the bouquet of hefty beats on The Secret to Life, Jay takes a break to enter the simplicity of worship with voice and piano on a medley entitled, “Your Will, Your Way.”

Just about everything clicks on The Secret to Life except the theatrical tracks; the over the top introduction and a slightly overdone interlude to the title track. Nonetheless, The Secret to Life should generate more notice for Jay’s remarkable ministry gifts and sincere heart in serving others for Christ.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

Official Website: John Jay