Jekalyn Carr is a vocal and spiritual powerhouse who embodies the wisdom, maturity and talent of a person twice her age. This could be because, at only 20 years old, she has been singing for over a decade (she began when she was only 5!). It could also be because the West Memphis, Arkansas household in which she was raised prioritized family, faith and spirituality over everything. Whatever the cause, the effect is a Godly-confident “girl boss” who is maximizing her every moment to encourage others to live big, bold, God-centered lives.
Carr was 13 years old when she first began evangelizing. She describes her assignment as supernatural faith activation – getting people to see themselves the way that God has created them, and helping them to understand that it is possible to have a successful and prosperous life and have a relationship with God at the same time. “God wants us to have Him wholeheartedly. He wants us to have salvation, prosperity, healing, and restoration – all of Him. Through my music and everything that I do, I want to show that,” she says.
This Gospel Life talked to Jekalyn Carr about her new projects, her life’s mission and why of all the places around the world that her career has taken her, Portland, Oregon is where she can’t wait to visit again.
You just released a new album as well as a new book. What made you want to write a book now?
As I travel the world, I hear the testimonies of people, and it seems that many people are allowing their situations to win over them when it is supposed to be the other way around. I knew at some point I would write a book, but I did not know that You Will Win would be my first one. I believe that we are in a time where people need to understand and be reminded that they are winners. I tell people all the time, “You don’t have to become a champion, you were BORN a champion!” It is just about you tapping into the champion on the inside of you so you can live life like a winner.
What is your favorite chapter in the book?
What I love about this book is that you can apply the information to any situation in your life. One of my favorite chapters is “Patience to Win”. Many people are working on their dreams and goals. You have to understand that you have to be patient if you want to be successful…I also speak on expanding the mindset…if you never think beyond where you are, you will never go beyond where you are. There is so much information in this one book that can help you live a well-rounded, winning life.
What is your #1 Inspirational Strategy?
Be patient. For example, this book took 2 – 3 years to write. Sometimes it takes a while to accomplish your goal, but as long as you start AND finish, that is all that matters.
One Nation Under God is your 4th album. What is the theme of the album?
It was an awesome experience recording this album. I wanted to release the message of unity and help us to understand that it does not matter whether you are in America, Africa or Alaska, we can come together as one body, one nation under God, to give God glory – and in response He gives us victory. That is why you hear the song “You Will Win”, and other declarations such as “It’s Yours” and “It Has Been Established.”
How many songs did you write or co-write?
All of our writing is done in house. Either I wrote it, my father wrote it, my mom wrote it, or we wrote it together. It has been like that for all four albums. For the most part, the songs come to us at different times and we come together to develop them further.
I recorded my first CD when I was 7 years old, and that was the first time we wrote together. The CD was called Blessed.
When did you first discover your singing gift?
I was 4 or 5 years old. Singing was my passion. I knew it was something that I was supposed to be doing, but around that time one thing happened that was eye opening for me, and for my parents. We were at choir rehearsal; I stopped the choir and told them they were out of key, and I gave them the correct notes. It was an eye opener that I was so young and I was able to distinguish my notes. We have been going strong ever since.
You have traveled all over the world as an evangelist as well a performer. Where is your favorite place to travel?
So far I think it has been Portland, Oregon. I am a nature person (when it is not too hot), I love the scenery there. It is a beautiful place. I went there once during my first year of speaking and I am excited to go back whenever I get that opportunity.
Do you have any stories of how your ministry has affected people?
I hear a lot of testimonies. One that stands out was from a young lady in Florida. She was contemplating suicide, and she told God she would go to church one more time. I was in town that night. She came to service and God restored her. He restored her mind and she has gone on to become and author and to live a successful life. It is very touching to me to know that people’s lives are actually being transformed through my music and my speaking…I made up in my mind that I don’t want to just travel, I don’t want to do it just because I know how to do it…I want to hear the testimonies of people being impacted in positive ways and in multiple positive ways. I am thankful that is what is happening even right to this day.
What is your current message to the Body of Christ, particularly young people?
Understand that there is a lot that has happened, and that will continue to happen, to distract us and pull us away, but you can’t allow anything to keep us from completing our assignment and doing what you were created to do. Know that there is a winner and a champion inside of you to help you overcome anything that you face. It doesn’t matter where you come from – how old you are or who you are – you are destined to be successful, it is in you. Tap into it, get connected to the right people, get in the right environment – one that pulls the best out of you and not the worst – and eventually you will begin to see your success unfold. Remain patient, and understand that it takes time, but it is worth the wait. Keep pushing, keep fighting, keep working and you will reach your destiny before you know it.
Who are your musical inspirations?
I love the legends: The Winans, pastor Donnie McClurkin, people who have been here doing an amazing job…and they have amazing talent beyond the stage as well.
What is your favorite Gospel song of all time?
Brian Courtney Wilson “I Will Just Say Yes”
What Gospel Song or Album Is in Heavy Rotation Right Now?
My album,“One Nation Under God,” and my single “You Will Win”
Who would you like to do a song or album project with?
The Winans – all of them!
Do you have any hobbies?
I am a very simple person, anything around relaxation…I love going to the spa, I love getting my hair and nails done – just getting pampered.
You are on the road more than you are at home these days. What are the three most important things in your suitcase?
A variety of shoes, makeup and makeup wipes.
What is your salvation story? When did you accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?
I would say that I have been saved all of my life, but I remember my parents telling us when I was very young that we have to have a relationship with God for ourselves, that when God calls us home they will not be able to stand before Him for us. It is something we have to own. Being able to hold on to that word, and loving God on my own, it reflects on who I am and all that I do. Having a relationship with Him for myself is why I think my ministry is as effective as it is.
What is your scripture “mantra”?
“…No good thing will he withhold from them who walk uprightly”. (Psalm 84:11) That is the scripture that I read every morning. I remind myself that as long as I am walking the straight and narrow path that God has created for me, and I am in the will of God, I don’t have anything to worry about.
What legacy do you want to leave?
I would like to be known as an inspirational person, a person who always encourages and helps to push people to their destiny. I want to help people understand that they were born to do something great and to be successful…that there is nothing you could ever want to do, no dream that you could ever have, that you cannot accomplish as long as you have the right components: keeping God at the forefront of everything that you do, being connected to the right people, having the right mindset, thinking successfully and not holding on to things that may have happened in your past that may get in the way of you becoming all that you are supposed to be.
What’s next for Jekalyn Carr?
I am getting ready to host my first “You Will Win” conference in June. It will teach people to live a well-rounded winning life. I don’t believe you are supposed to win in one area and lose in the rest. I will have daily classes with speakers teaching how to win in areas such as branding, health and relationships. Evening services are going to be free and open to the public. The conference will be in South Haven, Mississippi, right outside of Memphis.
Jekalyn Carr’s album One Nation Under God, and her book You Will Win, are available now. Visit www.youwillwin.org for more information about her upcoming “You Will Win” conference.