From the first time I was blessed to hear the song “Lil’ Johnny” by Tommie Billups I knew I was dealing with an artist who was as insightful as he was gifted.
Having grown up in a very musical family where everyone from his parents to her aunts and uncles, and even brothers and sisters had the ability to sing, it’s no surprise that he fell in love with music. The direction his gift was to take wouldn’t be clear until his late teenage years. In the time to follow, his imagery, storytelling and relatable songwriting would be honed and nurtured.
Imagine an amalgamation of Mali Music, William Matthews, David Crowder and Mac Powell (of Third Day) with strong John Legend tones and you have the makings of Tommie’s unique sound.
“Lil’ Johnny” was released on September 22nd is a song that carefully paints a picture of the struggle of Javaughn “Lil Jay” Blakely Jr. who, at age 13, Javaughn was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a very rare cancer that accounts for about 3% of all childhood cancers. Although the diagnosis wasn’t good, it never stopped Jay from fighting with courage. Jay fought strong for 4 years before losing his battle at age 17. Jay’s story of faith and courage has inspired many including Tommie. This song , during pediatric care awareness month, is to bring comfort to the families affected by RMS and other Childhood cancers and help them fight cancer with hope. This song is also an example of how God uses Tommie to inspire.
The lyrics are smoothly picturesque as they play along a simple, well-laid melody. Every line allows the listener to put themselves in the situation. Many songs come accompanied by a music video, this one needs only the imagination to bring life to it. The song ends with a proclamation that could only be enhanced by a rousing chorus and the sound of worship by a captivated audience. One which I can imagine – speaking volumes about the music Billups produces – songs that evoke images. Hear a snippet as Tommie lays the foundation of the song by telling this powerful story:
From his fascinating musical parables, to his raspy heartfelt voice, Tommie is sure to inspire many to love, live and be happy. Speaking of happiness, Tommie is experiencing a lot of it in his life. He’s just coming out of the newlywed stage (married 5 years) and has three beautiful children. As I mentioned in an article about San Franklin-Jackson, it is important to always minister to the home before you go venturing out to win the world. Tommie had a good example (his father, Keenan) and is an example to those coming behind him.
Billups will be hosting “The Worship Room Experience”, an event where a group of worship leaders come together for the sole purpose of worship in Michigan City, IN . This year, it features Billups, Dee Wilson, Atmosphere Of Heaven and many more. His work reminds me of the exploits of Kymm Lewis and Raine McCaa in that they offer a refuge from the rigors of daily life in an atmosphere of pure worship. The Worship Room promises to be a memorable experience in which the Lord’s presence will be present.
Tommie Billups is an artist whose uplifting music is refreshing and life changing. This singer/songwriter builds bridges and breaks barriers with his music. His style comes from the musical influences in his home and his passion, that could only com from God.
Look to hear more from Tommie Billups and from The Worship Room movement. with songs like Lil’ Johnny, his musical future is going to be most impactful. Not only is he an Artist You Should Know, he is an absolute Rembrandt of rhythms and a fine craftsman of lyrics.
Here is a part of a past Worship Room experience featuring Tommie as well as Louis C. Wembley and other masterful minstrels. Enjoy!
In addition to being a recording artist, Tommie has his own photography/videography production firm, T.Vision Photography, from which, we get our video for this story. For more information on booking his musical, photo or video services, contact Tommie Billups at firstname.lastname@example.org .