Javis D.Mays is making major inroads in the world of gospel music. The Florida-based singer was pleasantly surprised when nearly a thousand people showed for the release of his debut CD, "The Oil of Worship." Mays and his group, Restoration went on to win Praise and Worship Song of the Year (“You’re My King”) at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards in 2011.
Now, Mays is back with his sophomore album, "I'm Yours." The album is receiving significant airplay on terrestrial and internet radio. A prolific writer, Mays wrote eight of the album's songs. The singer who describes himself as a "humble, low maintenance," guy, currently serves as the worship leader at St. Mark A.M.E. in Orlando, Fla. and is passionate about God and music. Mays spoke with the DC Gospel Music Examiner about his latest album, his musical maturation and using his gift to advance the gospel.
Tell me about your latest CD "I'm Yours Live" that you released in 2012.
“It’s a compilation of songs that were birthed out of victory. There were a whole lot of different things that I was going through in life. I had lost my job. I went through a period of uncertainty, just wondering how am I going to make it, how am I going to survive and I looked back and God always did it. His work is complete. So I told my singers and producers that I wanted all of the songs to be complimentary. I realized that I belong to God, that he has everything under control, so that’s how we birthed the song, “I’m Yours.” My writing has always come out of personal time with the Lord. Once I decided we had enough songs, I decided to record. We had almost a thousand people at the recording and that was a paid recording. It was raining that night, yet people came. It was amazing and I thought ‘we have something here.’ Every time we have a concert, record numbers show up to support it. It’s been an overwhelming experience because I’m not originally from Orlando. So to come here, move my family here, it has really become something great.”
Your Group is called Restoration, is that name connected to any of your experiences?
“It is. I went through losing my job. I was making good money and I loved what I was doing. When they let me go, I came back to God. One of my favorite scriptures is 'many are the afflictions of the righteous, but God will deliver them from them all.' So the Lord had to actually take me through something so that I could understand that he is my God. And then he restored me because today I’m definitely better than I was. I know God more than I’ve ever known Him before. He had to take me through that period of stripping me, taking everything away and then restoring me. He got my attention and nobody could do that but God. My wife was telling me you’re becoming very passive about your walk with Christ. I was like, ‘I’m working on my career.’ I was a workaholic, I wanted to be the boss and all that, but I had neglected my relationship with Christ. But he loves me and cares for me, so he restored me and that’s how I came up with restoration.”
How did your group, Restoration come together?
"We decided to do a concert for a huge gospel event in Orlando and I asked a few of my friends to come and join me. We put together a band and the response was so phenomenal that night, we decided to stay together. We’ve been together ever since, about five years now."
How have you evolved musically from your first album to this one?
"The first album came from surface worship; it was pretty much what I thought I knew. The second album was more prophetic. It was more of an impartation type of worship. It is an album you can take to church. This album has songs you can sing with your praise team, the choir, you can drive your car that acknowledge and give praise to God. I wanted an album that people could actually use to cry, to enjoy. So one of the things that I know that has developed is my writing, because I really wanted to capture the heart of God."
What do you hope the listener gets from this album?
“I want them be encouraged, I want them to be revived. I don’t want any glory, all the glory belongs to God. It’s not about Javis, it’s about the Lord. I’m very confident that the Lord can handle that. I know that within myself.”
Mays experienced the significance of using his gift to touch any audience on a recent trip to Chicago.
“I was in Chicago and a 35-40 member church that was an hour and a half away wanted us to come. I thought that we were past that, but I heard the Holy Ghost say 'no,' so I told my group that it’s not about me, it’s about what God is saying at that time. I was tired, I was drained but I got my band together, my people together. When we got to the church there were maybe 30 or 40 people. But, when we walked away we were blessed. God came and those people were satisfied."
You developed a passion for music at a young age, why does music matter to you?
“When I didn’t know how to pray, I knew how to sing. When I didn’t know what else to say, I knew how to sing. I think that’s one of the things that encouraged me. My grandmother said I started singing when I was five years old and then I started singing at church. I would always run to a keyboard. I would play, I would cry, I would pour my soul out to the Lord. So I think that’s why music touched me, because there’s nothing else that people do that's like that. Not only does it bring them closer to God, it also relieves the spirit.”
"I'm Yours" is available at most online retailers. For more information on Javis D. Mays, visit www.jamaysmusic.com