If God Said It
Cj Ballance Some people are given their calling quite early in life. And others seem to find it along the way. The former is the case with contemporary gospel recording artist CJ. Although he's young in age, this gifted singer has much to share through the vehicle of gospel music. Corey E. Ballance, affectionately known as CJ, is on a mission to inspire, uplift and give hope to all who have lost it. The North Carolina resident is "launching out into the deep" with his first national gospel release from Gospel Visions Entertainment entitled If God Said It in January 2011. Hailing from a family of singers, CJ was destined to sing. Believe it or not, he made his singing debut at the age of 2 in daycare belting out the song "I Love You", made popular by Barney (yes, the purple dinosaur). Not only did he enjoy singing, but he saw the smiles that were left on the faces of those who listened. The experience gave him a jolt of confidence and he saw how much he loved making others happy. "I didn't realize the gift I had at the time," says CJ. "But it was something I liked doing." It was his parents, Tondra Peele-Ballance and Corey Ballance, Sr., who really saw the anointing on the youngster's life and helped him to fully understand how God was using him to bless others. "I started to realize that what I put into my singing directly affected what people got from it," shares CJ. "My main motive in singing is to touch people," he adds. "I really put my heart into it and I want people to see their situation differently after they hear me. I want them to know that everything will be alright". His goal to inspire continued and he took up vocal training at the age of 7, enhancing his natural gift. Also, around that same time, he began writing songs. Sometimes the melodies came to him first and sometimes the lyrics, but whether it was a situation he's gone through or a circumstance that someone else is going through, he has learned to pour his emotions into the songs he writes, always venturing to strengthen the listener. At the age of nine when most kids are focused on getting as much playground time as possible, CJ was dropping his debut project called "Not Too Young To Serve Him". The title, an obvious response to those who thought he was too young to minister through song, was well-received in his native Ahoskie, North Carolina and found him touring the region singing some of the project's singles including the CD's title tune and "He's A Good God". It was his first foray into the music industry and he found it to be an exciting and incredible learning experience. He's taking the lessons learned from the first CD and using it in the second. Produced by Thurman Lee of Gospel Visions Entertainment, CJ's upcoming release, If God Said It, is a collection of original contemporary gospel songs. Co-writing many of the songs on the new release, CJ's "This Too Shall Pass", is destined to provide a dose of hope for those who may have given up along life's way. The smoothed out groove and relaxing melody provide the track with sounds of reassurance. The song, with a mellow R&B flow, also showcases CJ's impressive vocals and stunning range. "I Don't Look Like What I've Been Though" is a song many will be able to relate to. Featuring Rev. Franklin Williams, CJ's pastor, the song has an old-school vibe, but a current, on-time message. "Singing with my pastor was great," shares CJ. "But we sing a lot together in church so it wasn't new to me singing with him on this record." Each Sunday morning, you can find this youngster singing God's praises at Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in Ahoskie. Although he plays saxophone and a little piano, his passion is singing. "When I sing, I am in a world where nothing can go wrong," expresses CJ. It's no doubt that when people hear him, they think the same. Although some may be stunned at the power he sings with to be so young, this teen has had experiences to draw from. "The world is changing every day," says CJ. "And for teenagers today, we go through more than anyone could even imagine. I don't think adults can really understand what peer pressure is like today." It's his close walk with God that keeps him on the straight and narrow. And when it comes to music ministry, it's his prayer that everyone who hears If God Said It, draws even closer to God.