Epic! Awesome! Next level! Truly a blessing!
This was how patrons described the launch of John Yarde’s first album 1st John Sunday night at the Collymore Rock Church of the Nazarene. The church was packed to capacity and hardly anyone remained in their seats as the music moved them to worship.
The gospel duo A Few Good Men opened the show with their popular hits The U.G.L.Y. Song, Still Believe In Love, and Like You. They were followed by Trinidadian-born artiste Sherry Ann Maughan who performed Stand Up For Jesus and Shine.
Maughan, who credits Yarde for pushing her to pursue her solo career, had nothing but pride in her heart for him.
“I am totally proud of John that he has finally gotten to this stage of his ministry. I would have been privileged to sing background vocals with John just before I started ministry. John pushed me into the Flow Gospel Challenge which I won in November 2014 . . . . He has been like a mentor for me and has helped by giving me good advice. I am just so proud and happy,” Maughan said.
When conceptualizing the name for his first album Yarde said 1st John seemed like an obvious choice, but to him it meant more than just a clever pun.
“As a singer, songwriter, I make music and I sing songs that inspire other people. So I am positioning myself to first be ministered to. I want to be the first person that is blessed by any song or sermon that God gives me. So that is where it came from . . . . God blessed John first so it comes from a place of conviction or experience so I don’t talk or sing about something that I have not first encountered,” the Jackson Church of the Nazarene pastor said.
Yarde wrote all but one of the 13 songs on his album, some in collaboration with other songwriters and artistes. And while they are all beautiful and inspiring songs, it is Redeemed that holds a special place in his heart.
“Redeemed is one that I am particularly attached to because that is who I am, I am redeemed. And I wanted to talk about that, I wanted to sing about that . . . . Redeemed is my identity. So because of me being redeemed, my perspective on life is through that lens. So that song is a reminder that there is no condemnation for me once I stay in Jesus. It is a declaration I make when I feel far from God.”
And it was clear from his performance that Redeemed was very personal to him, as ministering the song brought him and many in the audience to tears. He also delivered a moving testimony about feeling low and depressed and on the brink of giving up when God came through for him. This lead to an impromptu performance of We Have An Anchor during which he handed over the mic to seasoned gospel singer Mya Daniel who was in the audience. Her powerful voice echoed throughout the church, leading many to raise their hands in worship.
During Yarde’s performance of Champion, he was joined on stage by the little ones from the Covenant Life Teaching Centre School of Dance. The danced with pure joy and passion to the infectious African beat of the song that had many on their feet moving to the rhythm.
Other artistes also joined Yarde on stage including Nicovia, Allison Norville and Raphael Saul.
Towards the end of his set, the crowd went wild as he sang his first recording single Revival Is Possible.
At the end one patron spoke about how blessed she was by Yarde’s ministry and also mentioned how the lyrics inspired her. It was clear that 1st John was more than an album launch and more than a concert – it was a worship experience.