Guest Blogger: Johnathan JohnsonPublished by Torrence Glenn on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm.
I hope you’ve been enjoying the guest blogs from contestants and participants on the show. So many times (myself included) we watch “reality TV” and come to our own conclusions and opinions on who people are and what we think goes down. And guess what? That’s completely right, because that’s what we in this TV thing do. We put it on TV, hope you enjoy it, become attached to it and “feel some kind of way” personally about it. But, (*tap ya neighbor and say “BUT!”*) sometimes it’s better to hear directly from the folks we spend our time and energy watching and/or listening to. So next up is Sunday Best Top 20 Finalist Johnathan Johnson AKA “Jon-John.” You may remember me describing his performance as “David Ruffin-esque” from Episode 3. Well, I’m gonna let him talk because y’all know and I’ll just go, and go, and go…..
*Passes mic to Jon-John*
Hello everyone! Greetings and blessings. I want to first start this off by giving all Glory and Honor to God, my savior for all he has done! I would also like to thank you, Torrence Glenn for this opportunity to just share my feelings and express what I have to say concerning SUNDAY BEST! A lot of people mocked me and laughed at me because I jumped around and gave God a praise. But I’ve learned that when God blesses you, don’t wait- but praise Him RIGHT THERE when He does it!
Okay, now ever since day one- I want everyone to know that I’ve still been trying to “take this all in” (as a figure of speech), because I STILL cannot believe that I actually made it as far as I did. From the long audition process in Chicago, I was floored and didn’t know what to say then… Once we knew officially that we made it on the show- I was even more stunned. But TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Some have asked me, “…What did it feel like?” And the answer is the feeling is indescribable! For me, personally, just making it on this show was so much of a blessing and encouragement to my life. I have been singing for years, all my life pretty much. And I’ve worked hard to be successful in my hopeful career and ministry. I was one of the unique; well better yet- “different” children growing up. The only child singing at my church by age 7, directing the choir by the time I was 10- traveling overseas, starring in and even writing and directing my own stage plays. But even in all the joys and excitement of past accomplishments, nothing compares to this! Walking in that room and seeing such gospel legends, in specific: BeBe Winans and Mary Mary (Erica and Tina Campbell)- you just don’t understand what it felt like to hear them say “Jon-John, yes… Yes, Jon-John go put on you’re Sunday Best!” Oh wow…
Now, going into Atlanta, I was very skeptical at first because I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Honestly, this was my first big “competition”, because I’ve never really believed in singing competitively. So I was trying to prepare myself for it all- the ridicule, the negativity, the “divas” and “divos”, and all the attitudes from the other contestants. However, thanks be to God that He knew exactly what He was doing all along! Because when we all first met each other, you could tell that things we’re going to be much different than we expected. The gifts and the talent this season were just- well, you can see now for yourself on the show! Phenomenal! And I was so impressed. But not just with the gifts and talents, but with the anointing and the spirits of the contestants. All 20, from top to bottom are my friends. We developed so much of a bond, NOBODY will ever be able to break them. And I’m so grateful. I miss all 19 of them each day (I love you all!) Wow, I can think back to when we first start preparing to tape the show, and how we would sit and talk about the day, and get our briefings from the producers, who’d tell us “what we’re doing today”, and then it would be on! Wait… let me stop RIGHT THERE. Ya’ll, these producers work themselves into a frenzy! You would never understand all the hard work they do until you see it for yourself! I love them all as well. I couldn’t do their job! LOL- But I’m thankful that they could.
How were the days prior to the show? Oh wow…. I’ve never felt so “at home” and so “understood”. As the contestants shared our stories and testimonies with each other, prayed together, encouraged each other- even helped each other practice (Yes, I said it- HELPED EACH OTHER PRACTICE, lol) there were so many different things that happened. I believe that one of the particular reasons God had me apart of this cast was because He knew I needed these relationships and I needed to experience what I did while I was there. Have you ever felt like things you were going through, you were going through them all alone? Or like, no one understood you? Well, so did majority of us. It felt so good to be around 19 other people who God had called, and chosen and anointed for such a time like this. We laughed, cried, interceded with and for each other. And I can honestly say that we became a family.
Being mentored and coached my Donald Lawrence was unbelievable. Why? Because I’ve loved his ministry every since I was in the 4th grade singing, “There’s a Stranger in town, He’s giving sight to the blind—“ lol. I couldn’t believe it was him! Man, when the Bible tells you that your gift will make room for you and set you before great men, I’m a witness- God’s word won’t return void. There was such a passion and a genuine concern from D. Lawrence everyday we got to work with him. I worked with him (I think) about 4 or 5 times, and the things I learned I will always remember and apply them in my ministry and my career. He was so laid back, made me feel very comfortable and yet- was very serious and very precise and wise. Wisdom should be his middle name because what he told me to NOT do, I would stop doing… and it would work. If he said, add this… I did, and it would work. If he ever reads this, I just want him to know that I will always be grateful for that experience and his genius. (By the way, go buy his new cd, ya’ll…. What? Fire! Lol “Amen!”)
Of course, saying all that I have said it shouldn’t be a surprise that the stage experience was just—breath taking. And I’m not joking; I cried when I first walked in and saw that stage. Oh wow, I couldn’t believe that I would be singing there. It’s like making it (in relation) to The Apollo or something. Especially after so many THOUSANDS of people applied and auditioned, and only 20 people were selected- seeing that stage helped me to really for once realize who I am, and who God has purposed me to be. Backstage, we were all treated like royalty. I’ll never forget the hair and makeup crew, they were so nice and took care of us. The food was on point (although we would almost die until it was time to eat, lol… that’s just a joke!) and, the wardrobe crew, the lights and sound crew, all the stage hands, etc. etc. They were all so loving and pleasant! I mean, you couldn’t ask for more.
Okay, so let me get here— because a lot of people have had a lot to say (some good and bad) about my performance. I sang “The Lord Will Make a Way” by the Sounds of Blackness. Which, I would like to point out was an honor because the writer and lead singer of the original version was playing the organ in the Ray Chew Band (Jimmie). So that was like, double honor at the time. I had never heard that song prior to the competition, and I didn’t have long to learn it once it was given to me. But I sang it with the best of my ability. Now, even from the auditions, BeBe had called my voice “husky”- so I believe that with all honesty, I was given a song that was made to (in the producers’ opinion) fit my voice and style of singing. I didn’t feel like it did, but in such a professional platform you don’t want to complain. So indeed I didn’t. I stuck my chest out, head held high (after praying about it), and I sang from my spirit what I believe even til this day is true- the Lord WILL make a way! I was given some very good critiques, even outside of what was edited. Tina has asked me if I could hear myself on stage, due to some sound problems on stage during my performance, when the show aired you couldn’t tell, but due to some minor technical problems; it seemed as if I was a little “sharp” or above my notes at one point in the song. I won’t argue with that. I will say that you all only got to hear the “bad” critique from Tina, but what she had to say wasn’t just “You were a little pitchy, but you got me with the heart!” I kind of laughed to myself when that was what was aired and edited, but hey- life goes on!
Moving on- I was blessed to be apart of the very FIRST group of TEN to not have no one eliminated on the show. Maybe next year we’ll see that again! I say that because I met so many others who auditioned in various cities, and even if those same folk come back to audition for the next season, Oh wow! We have a serious competition again on our shoulders. But I’m grateful that I was apart of that show, (Season 2, Show 1) because in my opinion, it raised the bar for vocal competitions. When you have ten people from all over singing to God’s glory, competing for a record deal- and NOBODY goes home. Wow. That is absolutely amazing. God is good! Some of us didn’t get another chance to sing, but I was more than satisfied with what I got a chance to do.
Do I feel like I got a chance to let America (and any other countries watching) who I really am musically? No I don’t. As I said before, I wasn’t 100% comfortable with the song, but I made it my own to the best of my ability. Is there more to my voice than “husky-ness”? Well of course it is. But that is for everyone who is interested to hear what I have to offer to find out. I feel that what Sunday Best did was open a door for me to reach out to more children of God and even more sinners, to minister to them on a different platform. There are some places that I walk into now, and people know going in who I am and what I can do- and that’s mouth dropping. Like, for real. But I’m still the same me. Nothing’s changed. I’m “Jon-John” and I always plan to be. I know what people see on TV is surreal and so when they run into any of us off the show, they tend to be star-struck. But I’m just me. Honestly. If we stay humble, God will do the exalting because elevation comes from him only.
So I’m sure someone wants to know, what’s next from Johnathan Johnson, (also professionally known as “Jon-John” -lol)???????? Well, we will all just have to wait and see, I am being asked to travel a lot more, prior to Sunday Best- God had blessed me to be apart of some awesome stage plays, etc. So as God see’s fit, He will continue to open the doors He would have me to walk through. I will say that I have learned how to trust Him more and believe in myself more than ever! So I’m expecting God to do what He promised He’d do. There is an album that I will be releasing sooner than you think! And I just may be coming to a city near you in ministry- could be a stage play, could be a concert, who knows maybe even hosting a fashion show of my Christian clothing line! … So be on the lookout!!!
I HOPE AND PRAY YOU’VE ENJOYED READING THIS BLOG, AND TORRENCE I PRAY THAT YOU’D HAVE ME BACK!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!!
I AM CONFIDENT YOU’LL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT MY FRIENDS ON SUNDAY BEST SEASON 2! CONTINUE TO TUNE IN, SUNDAYS on BET!
Yours in Christ, Johnathan –jONjOHN- Johnson
*Takes mic from Jon-John*
Thanks Jon-John! So there you have it, straight from the singer’s mouth. (Mouths are so not exclusive to horses, so why in the world do we reference them in that old saying. Shakin my head!) Well that’s all for today folks. Check back tomorrow for the next guest blogger. Way more to share!
Until then, I’m out!