William Stevens, Jr. & Jubilant Nation are one of the up and coming vocal ensembles in the DMV area. The group received two DMV Christian Music Awards Nominations in 2012, one for Best Choir/Group/Ensemble and one for Best New Artist/Gospel. In 2013, they were nominated again for Best Choir/Group/Ensemble.
The group’s leader, William Stevens, Jr. is a producer, songwriter, singer, composer, keyboardist and choir director. He is also the owner of Stevens Ministries, CrossRoads Media & Entertainment Group and DemiMadison Music Publishing.
The DC Gospel Music Examiner (DCGME) spoke with Stevens about his recently released single, “The Atmosphere is Ready,” how the group was formed, the genesis of the song and the group’s plans for an album.
DC Gospel Music Examiner: Tell me how you formed Jubilant Nation.
William Stevens, Jr.: “I went through some personal challenges in my life, church hurt and some other things. I kind of walked away from music and the church for a few years, but I always wanted to get back involved. In 2009 I lost my medical business and was kind of living out of my car at one time. My mom let me come back home and get back on my feet and I started working at the church and got back into ministry. When you’ve done all you can do. there’s nobody else but God that you can go to. That’s the kind of place that I was. I became the youth minister and that led me back into music. I met my wife in 2009 (Mikishia) who is a singer herself and we started dating and got married. She used to be part of a couple of other groups here and it was my heart and my desire to get back into ministry for myself. We prayed about it and here we are.”
DCME: Why is the group called Jubilant Nation?
WSJ:“I felt we were a group of young people with excitement and joy. I also felt that the group would be as diverse group that represents the nation and we are young people who are excited to serve God with their music.”
DCME: You seem to incorporate various styles of music in your performances.
WSJ: “I didn’t want us to be boxed in. I grew up in an apostolic church so that pentecostal is all in my blood. One of my favorite things about gospel music is that I want to be able to minister to any type of congregation. I love all kinds of music, CCM music as well. I wanted our songs to be able to minister in any setting that God allows us to. Whatever setting God opens for us, whether it’s Caucasian, Asian people, black people or Spanish. When I started the group my guitar player was from Brazil and one of my singers was Spanish.”
DCME: Tell me about recording “The Atmosphere is Ready.”
WSJ: “I met Gavin Davis (who wrote the song) at the Independent Gospel Artists Alliance and that song on his CD stuck out to me. I really fell in love with the song and felt it was a song that could be ministered in any church or any morning service at any given time. It’s a song that talks about moving ourselves out of the way and that’s the way to really let God’s presence come in. The atmosphere can be changed and change people. If you’re in the church or out of the church, the atmosphere needs to be set in your home or wherever you are at; it doesn’t matter. I said to my wife. ‘I really love this song and want to get in touch with the artist and see if we can record it.’ I just felt that it should be heard all over the world. So Gavin said okay and we tested it with audiences and people were really liking it. It wasn’t supposed to be our first single, but we wanted to release this worship anthem for this season and this time.”
DCME: Although you didn’t write this song, you are a songwriter. Tell me about your writing process.
WSJ: “God always gives me music when I’m asleep and sometimes I catch the theme and the melody and sometimes I can’t. Most of the time I’m sleeping or in the car and He will give me a song and I jot it down and try to play the melody and sit down and pray about the lyrics. I always hear the music first because I’m a musician. I always remember the music and try to pen some lyrics to it.”
DCME: When we can we expect a full album from William Stevens, Jr. & Jubilant Nation?
WSJ:“We are planning to release our album soon in 2016.”
DCME: What would you like readers to know about you and Jubilant Nation?
WSJ:“We are a group of young people that strive to live holy and to serve God. You can be young but still be in Christ and live a holy lifestyle, no matter what’s going on in your life. If you really let God in the atmosphere he can really make changes and I don’t care what the situation is: dealing with your health, your finances, you lost a job or whatever it is. If you really let God come in He will always do what He said. Be encouraged and to know that, that’s what the song is all about.”
William Stevens, Jr. & Jubilant Nation will hold their single release concert on Saturday, October 24 at 5 p.m. at Gospel Ark Bible Way Church at 4551 Benning Road, SE, Washington, DC 20019. The free concert will be hosted by Tracy Morgan, Stellar Award winning radio announcer and program director. In addition to performances by William Stevens, Jr. & Jubilant Nation, the program will feature fellow artists Jeremiah Hicks, Alexis Cook, Tiya Askia, Marvin Myer McCoy, Brea Miles and J. Lanier.
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