The first time I heard Josiah Martin sing was at the 2017 LIVE Recording of Lawrence Flowers & Intercession’s Champion album in Atlanta. We were in a moment of raw worship bliss when Josiah came up for the next selection. Appearing to be in discomfort, he carefully mounted the platform steps, making his way to the mic to minister the amazing song entitled “Hey Hey God” alongside Lawrence Flowers and the team. Suddenly, the atmosphere changed as we found ourselves broken and willing to surrender all in the presence of God. From that night, I found myself captivated by this man’s selfless spirit and transparency as he helped usher us in a place of fervently crying out to God to be made whole. To date, I still have this whole album on repeat and always seem to get stuck on the “Hey Hey God” track. I knew from that night, that I would need to meet Josiah personally, to learn more about his story and the price he has paid to carry such an anointing that we are so privileged to partake of.
Recently, I got a chance to sit down with Josiah in an intimate setting and interview him further about his personal journey. Josiah Martin, more commonly known as “Jojo”, has a story to tell and a Faithful God to glorify!
So buckle up! —
Originally from Monterey, California, raised in the church with both parents who pastored, the 5th son of 5 boys + 1 girl, Jojo began his first Minister of Music position at 17. Not to mention, Jojo has toured and sang in the company of several renowned artists including Fred Hammond, James Fortune, PJ Morton, Judith Hill, Josh Groban, Kirk Franklin, Kierra Sheard and more. Subsequently, while on the road performing, around the age of 21 years old, Jojo found out that both of his kidney’s were functioning at mere 15% and that he would be diagnosed with severe kidney disease. Although Jojo was told that he should start dialysis immediately after being rushed to the hospital, the attending doctor advised him that he could leave only if he started to see a nephrologist (kidney specialist). Henceforth, under the care of Atlanta’s Dr. Frita Fisher who is also a person of faith, she put Jojo on a strict dietary regiment encouraging him that with their combined faith in God, he could go an additional 6 months before beginning dialysis.
Successfully, at the termination of the 6 months around the Summer of 2013, Jojo began a stringent peritoneal dialysis where he would do dialysis at home 7 days a week, 9 hours at night. Jojo explains how this process totally changed his lifestyle especially with the fact that he was still traveling a lot in concert and would sometimes not get in til late at night to begin treatment. As a result, excess fluid began to build up during times he was unable to get the full 9 hours of dialysis which caused him to become even more ill. Eventually, switching to hemodialysis, Jojo shares that this form of dialysis treatment proved more effective and allowed him to do more unhindered. This led to more ministry and music engagements where Jojo could travel and still consistently go on dialysis while in these different cities.
5 years on this path, Fast Forward to 2017, Jojo receives a call that they had found him a kidney from a living donor! In the beginning, he was told that they did not know who the match was, but that he would soon find out. Later, during a Morehouse/Spelman Gospel event, Jojo met Singer Britni Ruff that night and the two would end up becoming good friends. After years of conversing and meeting up at Benihana, it was not until the day that Jojo was preparing for surgery that he gets a surprise visit in the hospital from Britni. He asks Britni why she was had arrived so early assuming that she was only there to support and she responds, “Surprise”! Britni would be Josiah Martin’s donor candidate! This enthralling moment for Jojo was the culmination of years trusting in God, pressing through the agony of physical pain and deaths, to believe for a miracle of which this one exceeded his expectation. Frankly speaking, this is the sort of thing we should expect to happen for those who believe in the impossible! And I believe that the posture he had taken all those years to still worship God in spite of, to minister to His people and cry out unashamedly for God’s mercy, makes moments like these possible for us all.
When asked about his determination and where he gets that from, Josiah shares that his older brother died in 2009 of kidney failure and how he and his brother were the only two in the family battling kidney disease. With the family being so fearful that this could also become Jojo’s fate, he says that his brother’s passing had the opposite effect on him. Jojo was determined! Not only did he feel it necessary to fight through it, but he says that he was even more determined to make God smile through it. This attitude, I believe carried a lot of weight in giving Jojo the strength to endure such a serious infirmity for so many years.
Beforehand, In 2016, during a Kirk Franklin concert in Jacksonville, Florida, Jojo tells us about the time that forever changed his life when he made a declaration in the presence of God to “run on”. Kirk handed the mic to feeble Josiah to lead in a spontaneous song called “He Intercedes for Me”. Not knowing the words, but following Kirk’s lead, Jojo sung from his heart. Jojo says that he found himself crying tears of joy and anger, both of which would become a petition and anthem for his life. The video was posted on Youtube and has had an innumerous amount of views since. Jojo says that he is still responding to emails and hits from the Youtube post from people who had given up on God, some who had stopped praying and who too were suffering in silence simply needing a touch from The Master.
This has given Josiah a deeper sense of purpose and he understands that his pain was never for him alone, but for the purpose of helping other people get through; to those both inside and outside of the church. Currently, Josiah Martin is excited to announce that his album (which was put on hold many years ago due to his illness) is scheduled to be released sometime this Spring. The album is produced by none other than PJ Morton. Also, he tells us he is collaborating with another 20 - 30 worship leaders in delegated cities to host “A Night of Refreshing” where his aim is to have an array of anointed worshipers pour out and to be poured back into. Josiah says that this is especially important in 2019 as God wants ministry coming by way of the minstrels and psalmists to be both relevant and effective.
For updates on Jojo Martin, be sure to follow his IG via www.instagram.com/jojosvoice.
DRESS LIKE A GENT