Life for Jason Champion is no coincidence. The Cleveland, Ohio native, both a husband and father of two sons, has spent over a decade honoring his faith and following a path to his destiny. As with all journeys, Champion’s has not always been a smooth one, moving through the ups and downs of life, Champ, as he is ironically called stayed faithful to a course that he knew had a victorious ending. Preparing for the first of many victories, Champ released his inspirational solo debut on Brooks Entertainment Group/ EMI Gospel entitled Reflections in May 2008; following the Billboard chart topping single, Always, which was also a hit in Japan. His motivation with Reflections was and still is to be a blessing to people and to bring some joy and hope beyond what we are seeing in the body of Christ. "I embrace the thought and potential of giving people hope in what seems to be a time when hope is a lost commodity."
Music was present in the Champion household, primarily from Jason’s father, an elder in the church. Although he spent weekends with his father involved with church, it was a New Edition concert that sparked Champion’s desire to perform. He aspired to share in the experience of being on stage. Soon after, accompanied to the show by his friend David Tolliver (nephew of then famed Cleveland radio programmer Lynn Tolliver) the duo moved forward singing and performing together as teenagers. The connections with Tolliver allowed the young men to find themselves in the right places and at the right time including a chance meeting with then developing crooner Gerald Levert.
By the 11th grade Jason and David became the R&B group Men At Large. Their self-titled debut album and their follow up recording, One Size Fits All catapulted the young duo to the stratosphere singing, traveling the world and enjoying all the perks that being young recording stars afforded them. In 1996, a voice spoke to Champion. “God informed me gently through his Holy Spirit that I needed to do other things and break away from Men At Large.” Needing and finding confirmation through a series of events that included David’s desire to go solo and the label’s intent to sever ties, Champion knew God’s voice and obeyed his call to leave the R&B world.
Eventually connecting with Gospel trailblazer Kirk Franklin, with whom he had been acquainted during his Men At Large days, Champion contributed toFranklin’s Hero album and tour in March 2005. After two years on the road, touring and singing with Franklin, Champion found himself again dismayed by the business. Within a matter of weeks, Champion’s former Men At Large road manager, Leonard Brooks (Brooks Entertainment Group) called to create new opportunities with him as a solo artist. Anxious about the possibility of recording again and with a perspective that his past experiences gave him, Champion embraced the new challenge. He drew upon relationships that he crafted is his past, including working with Warryn Campbell (whom he met during his time touring with Franklin), who produced ten out of the eleven Reflections album tracks.Campbell produced Champion, alongside his wife Erica who contributed vocals to the up-tempo, bouncy lead single “Always.” Co-written with songwriter/producer/artist Eric Dawkins, the song “is about being encouraged. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through or where you are going, keep your head up, it’s not going to be easy. Your bad days are not going to last always.”Champion mirrors the way God touched his life through his music. “I hope that this message and music will affect someone, some way, some how.”
One fine personal example, is the upbeat title track, co-written and produced by Gerald Haddon (a former roommate and brother to gospel artist Detrick Haddon). Laying bare Champ’s personal testimony, the song speaks to embracing the God-ordained life that we are all called to have. As the chorus boldly declares, “when I look in the mirror, here’s what I see, I see the Savior looking at me/ When I look in the mirror, I don’t see me/ I see the purpose, I see destiny.” It touches a personal chord with Champion himself, and connects to a wider audience; “I couldn’t get away from this particular song … I think, Gerald had me in mind because those are the things that I struggled with,” said Champion.
“Friend of Mine” is one of Champion’s timeless contributions from his transition period after Men At Large. Paying homage to his love, admiration and respect for the Father and all of His creations, Champion simply floats over the pulsating drum pattern to declare, “I’m so glad you are my friend.” Reflections also carries three other ageless tracks from that period in Champion’s life including “Find A Reason,” “For Better or For Worse,” a duet with his wife, Paula and “He Is the Way.” The groove filled sentiments expressed on “The Life” reflect the refreshing, positive and inspirational message found throughout Reflections. “If your mind is at unrest, I want God to come in and breathe on you,” he simply acknowledges.
As things go in the business of music, Jason and Brooks Entertainment parted ways, and his deal was done with EMI Gospel. But as God would have it, his relationship with Warryn Campbell was solid, and Campbell knowing talent as he does, waited for all the legal wrangling and partnership business to end and brought Jason into the fold of his label, My Block Records, distributed by eOne Entertainment. They are currently working on his new project with an anticipated release date of first quarter 2014. Surely, Jason's sophomore album will bear fruit, be a blessing and continue in the spirit of bringing joy to the masses.
As Jason Champion prepares for the next new chapter, he continues to be faithful and obedient to the God he serves. “I want to be known as a husband and father with integrity. I want to be known as a transparent person and somebody who goes to bat for the underdogs.” It is here and now, that Jason Champion is comfortable honoring his own reflection.
Connect with Jason Champion at:
Living In Harmony Show Archives
Archives of previously recorded live Podcasts