Photo courtesy of JJ Weeks
Since 2002, Macon, Georgia's JJ Weeks has been performing with his band throughout the southeast, spreading the message of salvation and witnessing the lives of many being transformed through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
JJ's genuine compassion for others shines through in his performances that continue to touch the lives of thousands of people every year.
What follows is a recent interview with JJ; who is currently on tour performing an all-acoustic praise and worship set in which he dubs The 30 Lights Later Tour. The proceeds of this tour will fund his next CD which will be produced by Third Day's Scotty Wilbanks.
Q. How did you get started in Christian music? Was it something that evolved over time, or was it something that you set out to do from the beginning?
JJ: I started singing when I was 6 in church and loved it. As I got older I really didn't feel like there was enough financial stability in music to make it a career choice, so I decided to go into youth ministry and just sing when it came up. However, it seemed like music just followed me. Every move I made there was someone wanting me to sing, until finally I realized this was what God was calling me to do.
Q. How do you describe your music to a person who has never heard your band before?
JJ: Our music comes from the heart. We write songs out of situations we face and with that we can sing songs that are real and meaningful. You can hear sounds of Mercy Me, Third Day and Needtobreathe in our music but we really have our own sound!
Q. If you could choose the most life changing event since your band has been together, what would it be?
JJ: A little church in Alabama when God moved in and we gave Him our future. We completely let go of everything we wanted and instead placed our focus on what God wanted. Secondly, this past year we meet Scotty Wilbanks of Third Day and he is about to produce our next album. We feel like this is the next step for us.
Q. Describe your most meaningful performance.
JJ: Atlantafest 2009. We played in the talent search that day and meet a lot of cool bands but most of all one of our good friends was there to see us win the talent search and play the main stage before The Casting Crowns. A month after that, he went on to be with the Lord due to fighting cancer. We will always remember that day.
Q: It is always difficult in the beginning for a band to gain momentum. What did the JJ Weeks Band do to get the name out there?
JJ: We played every opportunity that opened up for us. Pay or no pay, we just played wherever and whenever as long as it was Christian-oriented.
Q: How has the 30 Lights Later Tour been going? Any interesting stories?
JJ: The tour has been going great. It's been one of the best tours we have been on. It's an acoustic tour which is out of the box for us. Stories? Good Lord...anytime you have 5 guys on the road there are always stories!
Q. Scotty Wilbanks is such a great talent. How did you get to know him?
JJ: An out of the blue email. Totally a God thing!
Q. What advice do you have for young musicians who want to form a praise and worship band and tour?
JJ: BE SURE GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO IT! Contrary to people's belief, life on the road is not glitz and glamour. However, when it is what you are called to do it is so rewarding!
Q. What is the biggest challenge that you face as a band?
JJ: Our biggest challenge is the same as everyone's: To be sure our lives are wrapped up in God! It can be easy to get sidetracked. That is why it has to stay 100% about God.
Q. What are some your greatest victories?
JJ: The thousands of people whom God has changed through us! We get story after story of how God has moved in people's lives at our shows and that is the reward.
Q. Tell us a bit about your upcoming CD. Do you have all the songs written for it yet?
JJ: It is going to be the best CD we have made yet and a lot like what you have come to expect from the JJ Weeks Band, only better. We are still in the process of writing but got some great stuff already.
Q. Describe your songwriting process? Is it a collaborative effort or an individual one?
JJ: It's a collaborative effort. What normally happens is one of us will get an idea for a song and bring it forward.Then we all add our parts to it. Unless it just isn't good, and that happens too!
Q. What is your take on the current state of the Christian Contemporary music industry? Do you feel like it is dying, or thriving?
JJ: I think the CCM industry has plateaued but is a lot like every other industry. Many record labels are only interested in putting out the music that they know will sell to make them money. They don't seem to be interested in staying fresh, but more so on staying in a box.
Q. Everywhere you look, it seems that people are continually trying to figure out their purpose in life. What are your thoughts on this?
JJ: I believe as long as you stay connected to God, He will show you your purpose. God has already put in you what you need, to begin your calling in life. Look to what you are naturally good at.
Q. Besides God, who are some other people who have been the source of inspiration throughout your life?
JJ: Our families. Where would we be if our families didn't believe in what we are doing? And our pastors, for understanding why we can't be there every Sunday!
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