Artist and rapper Jude’s latest album Inner Light showcases a true sense of individuality, a passion for hip-hop, lyricism, performance, and an unwavering dedication to faith. You can read our in-depth review of the album here, and in the mean time – we were blessed with a chance to interview Jude about his music, creativity, religion, and much more. Here’s how it went.
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Thank you so much for the interview, after hearing your music it’s a pleasure to be able to get to know the creative behind it all a little better.
Thank you so much, glad to be here.
Your music takes a lot of inspiration from modern hip-hop and electronic music to an extent, however, at its core you clearly wish to express a certain set of beliefs and a dedication to your faith. Which came first in the making of this album – a desire to express, to connect, or simply a love of making music within which comes Christianity as it’s just a huge part of who you are?
Definitely a desire to express how awesome God has been to me. Interesting fact is a lot of this album was written while taking the bus back and forth to work.
Have you been connected to Christianity for your entire life, and have there been certain times that have reaffirmed your beliefs and given you an even stronger passion and connection to your faith?
I grew up in the church but was like that prodigal son who ventured out into the world only to return home where I truly belong.
What would you say is the current state of Christian hip-hop?
I believe that Christian hip-hop is becoming a more unilaterally accepted genre in today’s culture. It’s always awesome to see people expressing their genuine love for Christ to in hopes bring about someone else’s salvation.
Do you see a lot of Christian hip-hop artists going mainstream, and if so – why do you think that is?
In my opinion I do see some going mainstream and you can even see it now where the lines are getting blurred. We were called to transform the world not the other way around and the actions should correlate with it. In my opinion it’s easy to get lead astray if you’re not deeply rooted in the word of God.
Do you (or would you) ever branch out away from hip-hop, to the more minimal, acoustic world, for example?
Of course! I have a few songs on my upcoming second album that will be acoustic actually. I think this form of performing just like live music allows the spirit to flow more effectively allowing for a deeper intimate connection with the audience.
You feature a wide range of instrumentation throughout the project – occasionally bringing in something of a jazz-like sound. What sort of music did you listen to growing up, and do you play any instruments or is everything programmed or recorded through additional musicians?
I was raised on the old school for sure. And I’m talking about your Earth Wind and Fire’s, Anita Baker, The Spinners, Brian McKnight etc. I’ve always been drawn to music that has a message behind it and you can hear the artist’s passion, pain and perseverance. I’ve played the trumpet for two years and I’m currently learning to play the acoustic guitar.
How do you start writing – music first, a certain lyric, a melody, or just an intent to create?
There’s really no one certain way. It actually varies but I will still the constant link between all songs on this album is the prayer before hand.
How important is live music to you? Are you touring over the coming months?
Live music allows that more intimate connection to your audience and is very necessary to the success of your ministry cause at the end of the day this is our ministry. As far as touring I am getting locations and events lined up now, so stay tuned.
Do you think it’s better to perform to a smaller crowd in a more intimate, personal setting, or would you rather take on the volume and reach of a much larger venue? (And in either case, why?)
It’s all about humble beginnings. Any crowd be it small or large is a blessing when you look at it. The mission still remains the same, spreading the word of God. I seek to remain humble before the Lord that in due time he will exalt (lift up or raise up) me to a larger platform.
When reviewing the album, I mentioned that Find My Way feat. Pierre Lott & The Duncans had the feeling of being something of an epic journey. What is it about music that allows you to express your own passions and simultaneously connect with and affect others so intensely?
Simply put, I was equipped for it even at an early age. Always being considered the least of these, always being told that I would never amount to greatness, I’m worthless and I have no purpose. This has always and still ignites a fire deep within me. So I write to uplift, motivate, inspire, but most of all to share my testimony that someone will find hope through it.
Which would you say is the song you’re the most proud of or the one that means the most to you?
The one song that I would say brings the most contentment is Growth. It’s takes you on a journey from darkness to my self discovery of who I am in Christ, while overcoming a lot of adversities.
How does it feel to listen back to something like this, an extended project of your own creative ideas having come to life?
It’s an amazing experience to see the vision that God has given you come to life.
What are you plans for the future – any collaborations, further releases, exciting live shows?
I’m already working on my second album with the leading single You Ain’t Know featuring a very special guest to be named later. I will also be opening for Mark Ant on his Never Forget Tour October 28th 2017.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about yourself as an artist or about your music?
I pray that someone will be contagiously blessed by this album, and I thank everyone for their support during this entire process, most importantly my wife. Stay tuned to my Facebook page for upcoming events.
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