Last night I opened my closet, and pulled out an old cassette player. After pressing rewind, I listened to the music of life and read my album liner notes. In the midsts of these reminisces, it dawned on me – the 5th anniversary of my last album is coming up…
“Made to love Him: Celebrating Love” was released on February 14, 2014. It was the biggest project I’d recorded – live strings, world famous jazz musicians, classic love songs spanning 10 decades, a beautiful recording studio, and of course the play on pronouns… celebrating a different kind of love, but love all the same.
Times were different then. There was much to celebrate… news headlines reported progress… at least it felt like progress to me, and many people like me. Unfortunately it didn’t feel like progress to more people. Now acts of love can feel like protest songs, sung on marches to protect human rights.
The record climbed to #1 on CDBaby’s Out and Proud chart and won the OUTMusic Jazz Song of the Year Award. Listeners wrote nice reviews…
OUTMusic Award winner wraps his fluid, achingly soulful tenor (and a few of those trademark falsetto runs) around a dozen compositions, the highlights being a reggae-flavored “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)“; an acoustic, crackling “Our Love Is Here To Stay“; a smoldering version of India Arie’s “He Heals Me“; and traditional yet exquisite interpretations of “Twelfth of Never,” “Over The Rainbow,” and “Someone To Watch Over Me.” – James Earl Hardy
This delightful CD of classic love songs puts you in the mood for romance with its sensuous crooning by Nhojj and rich orchestration led by pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs, Marcelo Cardozo and many other top session musicians…” – Stephen Maglott
The crowning jewel of this project is a cover of India Arie’s “He Heals Me.” Nhojj’s cooing voice invites me inside and guides me through it’s elaborate melody. As the song rises to its climax, Nhojj’s voice soars in turn, holding me aloft, and carrying me above the clouds. It was only at the end of the track, after he had gently set me down back on earth, that I realized that my face was wet with tears…” – Donell
These reviews still feel like waves of love, and I’m so thankful… of course I’m still trying to wrap my mind around all this good. Back in 2001, when I released my first album, I had no idea I would make it this far. Back then I was reaching for freedom and creative expression… I was following my bliss. So to look back at all my blessings – 5 studio albums… 13 singles… 7 film soundtracks… 4 OUTMusic awards… 3 tours… 3 music videos… 3 poetry albums… 2 documentary short films… 1 Live DVD… 1 poetry book… and number 1 spots on MTV Music and MTV Hive – well… words escape me…
A deep feeling of gratitude engulfs my heart… gratitude for somehow still being here to celebrate the 5th anniversary of my 5th baby… a CD created with lots of love. A CD that shares a message that love transcends all. A CD that promises to love regardless of the cost. A CD that invites all to embrace love… in all its beautiful forms.
“Made to love Him: Celebrating Love” is available on iTunes, but if you love CDs… music you can touch and hold, we have some for you. And if you like, I’d be happy to autograph one for you.
This is the final printing of this project, so if you’d like to own one before they’re all gone, click the link below.