James Fortune is an amazing man. He is not amazing because he has the number one Gospel album “Identity” in the country. He is not amazing because he has been nominated for Stellar Awards. He is amazing because deep down he is a Joshua man. That being said he took time out to talk about “Identity” and life.
Elev8: How has working on this album been different from others?
James Fortune: So much is social media and being truly present in our loves now. Understanding new technology and how to get The Word out is something that everyone is learning how to do better each day. For that reason on this album I was able to reveal what was going on in the studio. I was able to really show the truth.
Elev8: How did you do that?
James Fortune: I filmed in studio recording sessions so that you could see the honesty, …this album has so much power. The words of the songs are upliffting and inspiring. I was seeing and hearing all those stories. I was understanding that identity, ….identity itself helps you understand who you are in truth not just who people see.
Elev8: What lyrics strike you as powerful that you hope people grasp?
James Fortune: “The curse is broken/ My past can’t hold me/ I’m more than a conqueror/ That’s what he told me” It’s those lyrics that inspire you to know that we have a true belief in Jesus Christ. That is what I want people to know. I want them to be empowered by prayer and Jesus. I want them to know they have an ally.That ally is always there, always present.
Elev8: You understand struggle. You have seen some low-points in the valley.What was your experience?
James Fortune: Man, I have seen low points. I was homeless, unemployed and not able to provide for my family. We lived repossession for months. It was a teaching and learning moment. We had two children and basically my whole world in the monetary sense was gone. It was only God’s strength that pulled me through. I understand now though that I had to go through that valley. I was always encouraged that God would not leave me.
Elev8: What do you say to people who are in the valley right now?
James Fortune:For me, I always encourage everyone . It’s easy once you know that you are sealed under God loves you. Be encouraged by His love for you. He did not make you to wallow or be defeated and destroyed by things of this world. He will not give you more than you can bare. I was blessed to have great examples of what it meant to be priest in my home. My first ministry is my family and it has always been my priority. A lot of young men in our world don’t have that and it is so key to your formation to how you handle life. It definitely helped me handle things.
Elev8: What do you say to people who feel like today’s gospel music is “too worldly”?
James Fortune:Wow… in my opinion I don’t think we should create music that is just for church people. It’s about changing the wrapping of the gift. The wrapping paper is different but the gift inside is the same. We pick the wrapping paper that is suitable for the person. I wouldn’t wrap my children’s presents all in the same way. I wrap what is right for my daughter in a certain paper. The message is Jesus Christ’s word and that is the gift. Just different people have different ways of delivering that message to where that person is at that moment. That is what we have to embrace. People understand things and embrace things in different ways.
Elev8: What advice would you give someone just starting out in gospel music?
James Fortune:I would say know your craft. Know it well. Discern if it is for you. Be patient and wait in God’s time. Understand that he may be making you ready for something. You can’t rush it. Prepare, keep your integrity and stay humble. Make sure that this is a calling. Be encouraged and be humble. Learn and listen. Don’t forget to pray.
What is in the horizon for 2012?
James Fortune:A road tour. We are in the early planning for it. It will be spring , summer when you will see dates. I’m talking to a playwright right now so some acting may be there as well.