NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 4, 2017) — Joshua’s Troop received the surprise of a lifetime when fellow Chicago-native and GRAMMY® winner Chance The Rapper invited them to perform with him at OPENMIKE Chicago. OPENMIKE serves as an outreach to Chicago’s high school students by hosting regular events where teens can perform their original works and learn from professionals within their craft.
Joshua’s Troop president Percy Gray, Jr., received a call personally from the rapper after Chance tweeted asking if anyone had a way to reach the group. Chance had previously shared an InstaStory of himself with his daughter, while “Clap Your Hands”—the ensemble’s Top 20 single—played in the background.
Percy Gray, Jr. and Chance The Rapper pose for a photo at OPENMIKE Chicago
Chance took home three GRAMMY® awards earlier this year. As an aspiring artist, the 23-year-old originally honed his craft on the OPENMIKE stage. Today, OPENMIKE Chicago is supported by Chance’s organization SocialWorks, an incubator for creativity.
Billboard.com highlighted the one-of-a-kind collaboration in an online feature. Sharing time on and off the stage with Chance gave Joshua’s Troop a first-hand glimpse at the significant work SocialWorks is doing and the impact they’re having on youth in their hometown though events like OPENMIKE. Additionally, Chance The Rapper recently donated $1,000,000 to schools in Chicago.
“To have a famous rapper, who is not just famous in our city but in the nation, want us—a young gospel group—to come sing with him, that’s not necessarily the cool thing to do,” Joshua’s Troop member Brittney Gray told Billboard. “But that’s what’s great; Chance is setting a new standard.”
Chance The Rapper and Joshua’s Troop take a group photo after their performance
This collaboration is not over yet. Chance has stayed in touch with Joshua’s Troop and is planning another performance. Percy Gray, Jr. comments, “Chance has invited us to sing with him again at his home church”.
Under the leadership of the Gray brothers, Chicago-based gospel youth choir Joshua’s Troop has blossomed into a global phenomenon. The group’s latest single, “It’s My Time,” released to acclaim last spring. The song was recently named Youth Project of the Year at the 32nd Annual Stellar Awards.
ABOUT JOSHUA’S TROOP Chicago-based gospel youth choir Joshua’s Troop blends contemporary urban R&B and soul with traditional gospel. Founded by Pastor Clay Evans and his successor at Fellowship Methodist Baptist Church of Chicago, Pastor Charles Jenkins, the choir’s aim has always been to create music that appeals to young, teenaged churchgoers. The group released its self-titled debut in 2000. In 2007, the choir came under the direction of brothers Percy and Jeral Gray. Joshua’s Troop released its latest single, “It’s My Time,” in 2016.
ABOUT NEW HAVEN RECORDS New Haven Records is a Nashville-based music corporation that includes label, publishing and film companies focusing on the uniquely American genres of Black Gospel, Southern Gospel, and Country & Bluegrass Gospel. New Haven’s products are serviced to Christian retail through Provident Music Distribution and to the mainstream marketplace through SONY Distribution. For additional information, go to www.newhavenrecords.com.