Here I am again, celebrating 25 years doing Gospel music; still my father’s child even though I’m knocking on 50’s door. A child in the sense that even though I’ve been serving Him all these years, I still exhibit at times spiritual childish tendencies. But I believe this is how My Father relates to me showing me just how funny the things I do really are; not causing harm but slightly sketchy. Still able to laugh at myself and at times feel the smile right back at me.
I’m so blessed. At the time of this bio both my parents were still here. Brother, sister, wife, children and grandchildren were still under His awesome promise of Grace and Mercy. I have been in the gospel music ministry industry for some 26yrs now; beginning in 1994/95 with “The Gospel Travelers”. Singing songs on that tape cassette like,” Pharaoh let my People go” and “We’ve traveled this Road before,” to name a couple. Learning lessons then, to be still and allow people to show you who they really are and always listen to what The Spirit is trying to show you as well as tell you. I’ve learned to use that wisdom even when it comes to those whom are the closest. The vision God’s has for you, is for you and your hunger while on the quest of it will not be understood by others less hungry.
Then in 1996-2003 fulfilling a dream of mine, I was blessed with the opportunity to sing alongside my mother Reola, brother Jason and sister Jeanah; forming the gospel quarter “The Braden Family.” Singing songs on a c.d. with my family; like “Joy,” A Change has come over Me” and “A Storm is Coming your Way,” sharing in the adventure and the process; ups and downs. Along with them and my dad as the manager, many things were checked off my personal bucket list, sang on many television shows and even sang the national anthem at a Warrior’s game on MLK day none the less; glory to God. But the quest was pushed a side and the hunger was intensified. So, in 2003 the hunger became too strong to ignore and I embarked into what I thought at the time was a solo endeavor. Later to be reminded, what I’d already known that even though I’m singing up there all alone; spiritually I am always accompanied by my Savior dwelling on the inside and the constant comforting of the Holy Spirit. Making each presentation and ministerial endeavor a trio never a solo.
In 2003 I released my first c.d. “Just to Bless,” featuring songs like,” Jamani,” “Look at me” and “Victory Belongs to Me;” the latter also my first music video. Then in October of 2007, I released “Fragrance of a Rose,” expressing myself in every song through a form of transparency I had never felt up until then. Don’t get me wrong, all the songs I write are testimonials for the most part, but these were from my heart. “Just a Prayer Away,” “Missing Hymn” and “Sprinkle Me,” were all examples of just that, while also declaring life’s altering lessons learned. Also, during this time My heavenly Father blessed me with a band; The Spirit named “Zion.” Consisting of individuals though with different views of religion, shared all a thirst and passion for worship. Together we have had plenty of opportunities to serve, in some places where religion would’ve held it’s nose up to. But tell that to the numerous souls and lives touched, excited that we lived outside the walls.
Now here in 2018, the Lord called, and I answered. “Finalize Your Vision,” He said. I was ready, had the songs wrote and everything, but He told me not those, and would soon give me the ones. Only four, an EP (Eternal Presence) created from the depths of my soul. And that he did, three new ones, “Remember Me,” Walk Around Heaven,” “Just Ask” and a remake of “Still” a song from my first project. Another surprise, was my daughter Jamani, not only did she accompany me to the studio, but shared her gifts and talents on three of the four tracks.
I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me, but I do know one things for sure if I do His Will, He will….
Taxi – Listener #37
Strong, confident vocal, sence of purpose to this lyric, as well as relentless groove stand out as highlights here. some inventive rhymes,... song is engaging has hip-hop, R&B influences
Songsalive San Francisco Chapter – Andrew Kasmer
Take a modern urban beat that you might find on a smooth jazz radio station and layer on a silky smooth voice. Then mix in a groove-driven message of aspiration for something higher. That's what you get when J. Thomas makes music, whether on stage or via his CD, "Just to Bless". Together with his musical partner Christian Houston,(keys/producer/vocalist), J. Thomas,(Jimmie Braden Jr.) sings his hear tout, letting his voice take flight. Starting out in a mellow baritone range, his voice can soar into the stratosphere, reaching heights few can match.
But his voice is not the only thing about him that soars. His songs are about his spiritual journey, which is grounded in his faith. They reflect his struggles, his triumphs, and his devotion to his beliefs. He truly puts himself into his music, and tries to bridge the gap between the stories in his religious tradition and his daily life. In "Look at Me", he puts himself in the shoes of the biblical Moses looking at the Red Sea and relates it to his own life, and how his faith has made his life better.
But as well as containing a message, J. Thomas's songs are easy to listen to. His uplifting songs contain strong story lines, melodic verses and catchy hooks that stick in the mind, giving his lush voice a place to play. J. Thomas blends gospel music and it's message together with modern influences that range from hip-hop to R&B to quiet jazz. The final product is gospel music like you've never heard before, but which you may very well hear again.
Title track makes charts!! – Cecil Brown
"Fragrance of a Rose" debuts #22 on Gospel USA Magazine's Aug/Sept independent single top 30 chart.
105 FM in Ft. Wayne, IN adds song!!! – Shane Burris
Hit single "Fragrance of a Rose" added to rotation on gospel radio station KQSW 105FM in Indiana.
J. THOMAS Gets Diverse on Sophomore CD – Buddy Hollywood