Gospel Star Jekalyn Carr Talks New Album, Pre-Concert Self-Care, And God's Timing
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Gospel Star Jekalyn Carr Talks New Album, Pre-Concert Self-Care, And God's Timing

When you hear a voice that moves you to tears, shouting, and standing ovation, you know you’ve got the makings of an entertainment phenomenon. Jekalyn Carr has already set herself on a path of icons, and she’s only 26 years old. Five Grammy nominations. Six Stellar Awards. Four GMA Dove honors. Two Billboard Music Award nominations. A Lifetime Achievement Award from President Joe Biden and AmeriCorps. An induction into the Women’s Songwriters Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. There’s a clear path of connection, engagement, and excellence that can’t be denied.

Carr talked with xoNecole about what inspired her new self-titled album JEKALYN, the pre-concert self-care routine that sustains her and her voice, why she continues to pursue multiple passions while honoring her purpose in faith, and more.

​xoNecole: What can fans expect from your new album, and what inspired the songs and vibe?

Jekalyn Carr: Growth and original Jekalyn Carr. It’s been four years since I recorded an album. Within that time period, I’ve been able to expand my mindset when it comes to music and understand that it is okay for me to tap into other styles. [The] message is still the same, and I love every bit of it.

With this album, I wanted to give people a bit of a different view of Jekalyn. Not just traditional but other things. Like we’re going to Jamaica on this album, gospel hip-hop, and other things. I really want them to see that and, most importantly, to give them the message that it is their time to stand on the mountain of victory and to declare their testimonies.

I think this is an album to reveal to you the heart of God for you and what He wants for you—even the song I released on pre-order, “God of War.” There are certain fights that God wants us to fight; however, when it’s beyond you, it’s on Him. And so, you have to understand he wants to go to war for you. Not only go to war for you, but bring you your victory. You just have to open up and allow Him to do that. In return, you are thankful and grateful.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

​xoN: You have an amazing voice. When you chose to pursue entertainment professionally, what led you to gospel?

JC: I grew up in church, for one. And then No. 2, I just always loved it. I feel if I were to ever sing any song, I’m always going to just add, “Thank ya, Jesus!” [Laughs] I love singing this type of music that just really gives people hope.

​xoN: And your songs are indeed inspirational and freeing! With a voice like yours and the success you've had, there must be a routine that grounds you. What are three must-do things you have to do before a performance, so you can get into worship and connection?

JC: Well, first, sleep. No. 2, definitely prayer. No assignment is the same. It’s always something different for each place where I am. And 3, hydrate. I gotta have a lot of energy going out on stage.

​xoN: Your generation is revolutionizing how social is being used, and you have more than 830,000 followers on Instagram alone. As a gospel artist, what is your take on staying connected with fans using the platform? What’s your approach?

JC: It’s very important to stay connected. One of the biggest reasons is, I can’t go everywhere, however social media is everywhere. I’m able to stay connected to my followers all across the world. I think it’s very important. It’s also a sense of connection that you can’t explain.

You really feel like it’s your social media family. It hits differently. It helps you remain touchable, too.

Every now and then, I make sure I respond. I may not be able to respond to everybody, but [it’s about] just being open-hearted so that they know I am touchable.

Paras Griffin / Contributor/Getty Images

​xoN: You’ve appeared in the Will Packer-produced film, 'Praise This,' you've launched Jekalyn Beauty, and you have your own radio show, 'Jekalyn Carr eFamily Affair Show.' Why did you choose to pursue these industries as well, and how do you balance it all?

JC: These are things I’ve always wanted to do and gifts that were in me. It was just a matter of time when I started to fully operate in them. I just believe in doing things at the right time. I started singing first, but it wasn’t until I started speaking that everything else fell in line for me, including my music, so that’s the same thing with fashion, with the TV, with radio. I love all things beauty, skincare, makeup.

I love all these things. It’s not that it hasn’t been there. I just like to wait for the right time to bring it to the world. It’s been going really great.

​xoN: Specific to the beauty brand, what key things do you want it to be known for that stand out in the market?

JC: I was very involved in it. It’s bigger than having a product and just putting my name on it. I wanted a product that I can use, and that has helped me. I was using these products during the pandemic. Even when it comes to growing my hair and taking care of my skin, I wanted to make sure that this stuff works. We’ve been getting so much great feedback from it.

Anything I do, I like to be passionate about it.

Jekalyn's new self-titled album JEKALYN is out now.

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Featured image by Terence Rushin/Getty Images

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