Casey J. is a 28-year old elementary school teacher who teaches math to students from kindergarten through grade 5. Yes, Casey J is a teacher by day, but after hours she’s a newly minted gospel artist, a fresh face who has made immediate impact. Her first single, “Fill Me Up” has soared up the charts, reaching the No. 1 position on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Airplay chart.
It has turned into quite a whirlwind experience for the Casey J. She has captivated listeners with a song steeped in adoration and yearning for more of God. The success of Casey J’s inaugural radio hit caught the attention of powerful record label Tyscot, who decided to enter into a partnership with Marquis Boone Enterprises (MBE), the label Casey J is signed to. That’s no small feat for someone who has just stepped onto the industry playground.
The DC Gospel Music Examiner spoke with Casey J about her meteoric rise, her forthcoming album and her reaction to her success. What emerges is a woman passionate about God and committed to bringing listeners into His presence through an experience saturated with worship.
How does it feel to earn a No. 1 hit with your first effort?
Sometimes it’s even hard to wrap your mind around it. It makes you grateful and mindful of how awesome God is; that he can literally do something like this.
Why did you select “Fill Me Up’ as your lead single?
It actually came out of a worship conference that my church hosts for worship singers and dancers, musicians and others. We were trying to figure out a song that really kind of aligned with what we were trying to do in church. We heard the song about 2 years prior to the conference and I released it to the church about 2 years ago. God really blessed that song. The church grabbed a hold of it, my heart grabbed a hold of it and over the next couple of years we kind of walked that song out. When I felt like he was really releasing me beyond just the local church that song was something that had been so closely knitted to my heart that it just seemed like a perfect way to sort of start this new endeavor and Will Regan, who is the writer. was amazing just allowing us to minister it in our own way.
Tell me about your worship experiences.
Well. I think I’ve always been a worshipper. I grew up in church, so I’ve always been in what one would consider a worship environment. I’ve always been into music so I’ve been serving in that capacity in that way. During the last couple of years I’ve served in worship at my home church Fresh Start in Duluth, Ga and over the past year I’ve served as the worship pastor. so a lot of what people attribute to a particular artistry, really comes from serving, Sunday in, Sunday out. I don’t see what I do outside the church any differently. I serve there too, and I just serve a different group of people in different places.
What made you decide this was the right time to launch out in your music career?
I don’t know that it was my decision. About 2 years before I felt God was going to do something, really had no idea what the something was. I really made a decision in my heart. ‘I don’t know what it that you’re about to. do but I’m going to be all in so I’m going to give you a yes now and then you do with it whatever you want to’ and this was the result of that yes. So this is kind of the first thing that I’ve ever done where I was like, ‘God you know what? All in whatever, you want to do, the answer is yes, I give you a pre-yes and you work out everything else’ and this is sort of the result of that.
As you began to see the song climb the charts, what was your reaction?
I think because I was so confident, and am so confident in what God was doing, I know that He’s creating another platform to make His name great. So for me, it’s like, ‘yep, you deserve that,’ not that I deserve it, in and of myself, but God deserves it, so He’s just making a platform. It may have my name and my face and my voice attached to it, but it’s his platform and to see him orchestrate that in his perfect way is really just amazing. Now I have another testimony about how deep his love is, how perfect his timing is and I’m able to see that in action.
The live recording for Casey J’s debut project ‘The Truth” took place with a capacity audience at The Fresh Start Church in Duluth, GA where Casey J serves as the worship and arts pastor.
So many attended your live recording a few weeks ago; was that unexpected?
I got there at noon and I never went back outside until it was over. I heard about it, but I didn’t actually see it for myself, but you could tell from the room; there were people all up on the wall. It was awesome! It was such an amazing worship experience to have people not there for a show, not there because they thought they were coming to a concert, but it seemed like every single person that was in there had the intention to really just worship. It was almost a palpable feeling there that you could tell that people came there to experience God and that’s what I want to be associated with. I mean there are plenty of people out there doing great concerts, great shows. I pay good money to see them, but what I want to be associated with is where if I am somewhere then God is there too and we’re all there expecting what God is going to do and how he’s going to move.
What can we expect with your forthcoming CD? Is it a worship album?
When people talk about a worship experience I think they mean tempo. Is it slow, is it fast? It’s a good variation. We have some upbeat things, we have some things that tempo-wise are similar to “Fill Me Up.” My prayer is that all of it translates into worship, because that’s the point of it. I think worship is about the faithfulness of God and who God is and every single song in some way reveals another aspect of who God is, which makes every single song worship. Whether its upbeat jumping around worship or laying on the floor and crying on the ground worship.
You are still teaching school. How do you balance it all?
I have an amazing team, some personal friends, a group of girlfriends, my church, not just in word saying ‘we’re behind you,’ but they really are. I know if there is something that I need there’s someone there making sure it happens.If people want me to sing somewhere that that’s taken care of. I have a team, I just sing and somebody does everything else (laughs). It’s not me all by myself, by any means.
Do your students know about your success as Casey J?
I don’t know. If they know they have not said it. Most of them do know my first name, but no student has said anything about it and I’m not saying anything about it (laughs). They probably don’t care (laughs), just “can I get an A?”
What would you like people to know about you?
I want people to know that I know Him, that I know God and that what I do is not out of any type of motivation for fame or some type of celebrity. It’s quite the opposite of that; I just want God to be made known to people.
Casey J’s “Fill Me Up” is available on iTunes and her debut project, “The Truth” is scheduled for release April 21.
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