Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sing-Off Winners Committed Rock HPAC

On September 25, the HPAC was packed to the seams as the attendees of the sold-out show eagerly awaited the artist about to preform – Committed.  The once little known singing sextet from the Adventist universities of Oakwood and Andrews was flung into the spotlight on December 8, 2010 when they performed on NBC’s “The Sing Off,” and they rocketed even further into fame when they won three weeks later.

Their newfound fame did not prevent singers D.J. Baptiste and Theron “Therry” Thomas Jr. from stealing away a few minutes before their Howard premier for an interview your humble Sanjo correspondent.

When asked what motivated them to compete on the Sing-Off, Therry responded, “Cedric Dent from Take 6 was doing a workshop in Nashville that Tommy [Gervais, a fellow member] attended.  We had previously done a tribute to Take 6 a year prior to that and when Cederic Dent saw Tommy in the audience [at the workshop] he said “Hey Tommy, let’s talk. I think you guys should go on the show called “The Sing-Off.”  So, he recommended us to the show and they called (quite a surprise for us) us and we sent them some videos.” “Some of us had already been working and some had just graduated so it was really something to think about, but we were excited to do it.”

The band has performed at many secular and Adventist functions since their win, and when asked who gives more support – Adventist or non-Adventists – Therry said, “There’s more non-Adventists percentage-wise but everywhere we go there are Adventists coming out to support us, or if they can’t make it they’re tweeting us saying “wish we could come see you guys.”  The Adventists have been very supportive – surprisingly supportive actually.”

While on the Sing-Off, the group was given many secular songs to perform.

“Whew! ‘Shure was new. I mean before that, all we did was sing in the church and Take6 songs,” reflected DJ. “It seemed like all the other groups had been doing [secular songs] for years while we were going bumper to bumper trying to bust our tails trying to get this song and the next song done. It was really new but we didn’t really have a choice; it was either do it or go home.”

Understandably these various performances did receive some negative feedback from fellow Adventists and when asked if Committed received any backlash upon preforming an Usher medley, Therry replied, “We did, but we live with our regrets you know. What’s done is done and we’ve had so much more positive feedback than negative because of the things going on behind-the-scenes. And even in-front-of-the-scenes everybody was saying how we praise God for everything that He did. We gave all glory to God and we’re not perfect, we’re not gonna be, but we’d like to be inspirations.”

Therry also said that their music led to some pretty powerful responses.  “We’ve gotten messages from people saying that they were touched on how open we were about God that they wanted to go back to church, but we didn’t even sing gospel in the show! For God to use us in such a way, I mean he used us in ways we didn’t even understand and when you mess up He’s like ‘Ok, well, I’m still gonna use you anyway’”.

Suddenly they went from singers to ministers through music.  “People would come up to us and ask ‘how do you pray?’ or ‘what’s this Sabbath thing about?'” DJ said. “Like seriously, God? That easy? You’re just gonna put them in front of us like that?  I mean, it was too easy!”

Because of the band’s musical talent, it was interesting to discover why they thought praising God through music was important. “I believe that music is one of the most influential things subconsciously that goes on every day,” responded Therry, “Mainly because I have a psychology degree…but even in the Bible Moses taught the Israelites certain laws, all that stuff through music so through generation to generation they can remember mainly through music.  We praise God to remind us of things that he brought us through or things he is going to bring us through”.

When asked what they hope to accomplish through Committed’s music, they responded, “Our goal is to inspire people to do better, to be better people, to commit to God and commit in relationships with each other.”

While on the Sing-Off, Committed gained influence and exposure to many famous preforming artists, including preforming on stage with one of the band’s role models – Boys II Men.  “It was great just being in arm’s length of Boys II Men” DJ reflected. “I mean we used to watch them on TV and listen to their albums and there they’re sitting there practicing with us. It was kind of short, or maybe it just seemed short…but it was fun. Sean [Stockman, member of Boyz II Men and Sing-Off judge] has become a good friend and mentor now so it was great!”

In regards to any future albums DJ said that, “It may not be one specific genre. We don’t like being put in a box. It’s definitely gonna be positive about relationships and break-ups and all that kind of stuff that real people go through. We may do an all gospel or all secular album, but it will not go against what we stand for.

When discussing their favorite songs Therry said “Beautiful People by Chris Brown and Still Here by 2103.” DJ said his favorites were “I Am Your Song by Jonathan Nelson and anything on the new Chris Brown album, and when asked what they do for fun both simultaneously responded with a definite, “Sleep.” “When we do have time off” the two continued, “we probably eat, go to the movies, hang out with friends, [and] don’t do anything really.”

On the topic of their favorite song to preform, DJ’s response was Break Free “It’s inspirational and goes real hard.” Therry’s favorite was September by Earth, Wind and Fire. “We got some old-school dance moves and we really get jammin’.”

As the interview drew to a close, Therry gave some words of advice for high-schoolers who were interested in going into music and performance. “Definitely have a passion for it because it’s not always going to be happy-go-lucky stuff. When it gets bad you really need to have a passion for it. Practice hard, practice long hours, and just keep going. Don’t let trials and stuff stop you, just keep going and stay prayed up.”

These words must have been truly lived out because the Committed’s show that night was nothing less than awesome. The deafening roar of the crowd indicated that every one of the 800 fans present was moved and amazed by the group’s performance; none more so than Junior Noel Harris, whom band member Robbie Pressley called upon stage as he performed their love song My Angel to her on bended knee. “ I was on cloud nine,” Noel reflected in an interview, “I got stage fright, but it was ok because he was really attractive, which made it better”.

Committed will continue to make special appearances on The Sing Off, and their new self-titled album is available at Best-Buy and off of iTunes and Amazon.



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