Judah Band’s Randy Weston shares about the vision behind the ‘Hush’ EP, the value of today’s ‘Levites’ & navigating this world health crisis.
It’s been thirteen years in the making for the Indianapolis-based collective, known as Judah Band, a rollercoaster journey that’s included 3 distinctive albums, a breakout single – For My Good – and a debilitating health scare suffered by its founder, Randy Weston.
Undeterred and perhaps, bolstered by each experience, Judah Band released its most intense project to date on Valentine’s Day called Hush, a hybrid of sounds and styles to silence the enemy, as God gets the glory. BlackGospel spoke with the charismatic frontman of Judah Band about the vision behind Hush, the latent value of today’s ‘Levites’ and navigating through this world health crisis as Christians.
Christopher Heron: Judah Band adopts a lot of genres into their sound like Hip Hop, Funk, Worship and Contemporary Christian. That’s a lot of styles. Who are a few artists that you draw inspiration from?
Randy Weston: My inspiration is not necessarily drawn from artists, it’s more about sounds. I’m a huge lover of all genres. I love Classical and Jazz just as much as I love Funk. I love Funk just as much as I love Pop. That’s because of my exposure to all those styles over the course of my life, my close encounter with all of those genres. It’s part of my identity, so I try to be true to my country boy identity. That’s who we are as a group.
Christopher Heron: As Pastor at All Nations New York, and as a minister of music for many years are there any particular Levites or Psalmists or Pastors that you admire or who’ve mentored you as you grow into your calling?
Randy Weston: I don’t like to get into names, as you can see but I have a respect and love for anybody who has been on the frontline. As Levites, we’re the most misunderstood, most under-appreciated, the most critiqued, the most judged and the first attacked. We don’t put a lot of light on the battles that we deal with and what we have to go through to get other people into the presence of God, understanding that if I could get somebody into the presence of God, even though I’ve had hell all week, then their life is a little bit better. Every Levite and Pastor I’ve ever worked with who’s holding up the blood stained banner, I have a great deal of respect for, whether your skill-set is for a storefront or megachurch. You’re still at the frontline and I love them.
Christopher Heron: Judah Band’s album covers have always been a visual experience. Where does the inspiration for these unique covers come from and what’s behind the title Hush for the latest EP?
Randy Weston: For covers and videos, I want people to see what we’re saying. No matter what, you’re always seeing it first. I’m trying to paint the visual picture of what we’re saying. I would do everything that I can to get the message to the people that it’s intended for. With Hush, it’s all about faith.
God told me months ago that the faith of the people will be under attack and to create a body of music that would be geared toward pushing people back to believing God is who He is. We’re in a time where we gain a lot of knowledge at the press of a button. But at the end of the day, there still must be a huge margin to let God be God. Some things are outside of our understanding. Hush the EP is all about pushing people towards believing in what God says.
Christopher Heron: You’ve been candid about your battle over cancer. How much of an impact did that personal experience have on your relationship with God and your approach towards ministry?
Randy Weston: That’s the only reason you and I are having this conversation. Had it not been for me trusting Him with that affliction, I don’t know if I would be here today. I believe that the experience saved my life and my ministry because there was such a recalibration that would never have happened if I had not trusted in Him. The experience recalibrated everything in the months that I was down and recovering.
God literally peeled me back to my core, showed me who I thought I was versus what I really was, showed me my motives, my intents, showed me where He became a backseat to my own ambition. He showed me all these things and it changed everything. And when it did, I declared there and then I’m standing on the ground of God’s goodness.
Christopher Heron: We’re in the midst of an international health & economic crisis that’s having a devastating impact on New Yorkers and Artists like you. Touring and crowd gathering has been taken off the table. It’s devastating. if you can personally share what are the real-life consequences that the sudden turn of events had on you and your family and how you’re managing. And what advice do you have for other in the same predicament?
Randy Weston: I’ve always been an advocate for making sure that musicians, especially those who are in Gospel music, have their business handled right. We do a lot of things in the name of Jesus, we’re singing and touring, everybody is shouting and crying and we still haven’t handled our business right, we don’t have life insurance. Some of the most prominent musicians don’t even have bank accounts.
We have to be good stewards of our gifts. Stewardship is not just about having money or what to do with the money, it’s about being a steward over everything; our livelihood, our very existence and knowing people are depending on us. In this current crisis, it has obviously affected my ability and Judah Band’s ability to tour and generate income. We had multiple events canceled.
But Judah Band has so many gifts. I’ve always pushed everyone to be more than what they are on stage. We’re only performing for 45 min at a time. I’m just making sure I take care of business. When I turned 18 years old, I bought and kept a rental property. Then, I bought another rental property and I kept that rental property. I’m just creating streams of income, investing in stocks and things like that. I think, if nothing else this world problem should serve as a wake-up call, to not only artists or musicians but to their employers.
Here you are, using gifts every week to your benefit. People benefit from our gift but don’t offer health or dental insurance, and they’re okay when musicians make everyone feel good. I think there are so many lessons that should be learned. I don’t want to sound judgmental, because I’ve been a musician that has struggled financially and I still don’t have everything that I want, but as a man, it’s my responsibility to make sure that my family is taken cared of. I’m praying that this ends quickly and we will take every lesson learned out of this and be better. That’s how God gets the glory.
For information on Judah Band, visit the official website at www.judahband.com. The new EP, Hush, is available on all digital music platforms.