DETROIT (WWJ) – Millions of TV viewers know Jesse Campbell from the popular singing competition, “The Voice,” but his career actually was launched well before he auditioned for the hit show in 2012 – and, there’s a Detroit connection.

While a teenager, Campbell started singing lead with the church choir in Chicago where his father was the church’s pastor, a talent that his dad didn’t know he had; that is, until one of the Winans brothers, who hail from Detroit, spilled the beans; exactly which one remains a mystery.

“Marvin Winans corrected me on the story because I thought that Ronald Winans was the one who told my father that I could sing, which I do believe he did, but Marvin said that he told my dad and family first,” Campbell told me before heading into rehearsal for ‘Perilous Times,’ the long-running gospel stage play that has brought him from his home in Los Angeles to Detroit for a series of Easter weekend performances.

“My dad is a pastor in Chicago, and oftentimes a lot of recording artists when they came to town, they would always come to our church, and some of them would stay at our home … and one day Marvin was on the piano at our place, and I … started singing with him, and he’s the one that told everybody that I could sing. But, I guess Ronald told my dad.”

And that, in a nutshell, is how it all began. Because that revelation ultimately led to Campbell making his singing debut on one of Ron Winans’ ‘Family & Friends’ CDs. Since that time, Campbell’s talent has kept him extremely busy. He’s recorded with gospel singer and pastor, Rev. Timothy Wright, as well as Bishop T.D. Jakes. But, despite his talent, Campbell has had his share of ups and downs. Campbell credits his faith with helping him to pull through.

“It wasn’t until I had a rock-bottom experience that I really took the limits off of God. And the rock-bottom experience happened simply because I passed up on a lot of very potentially lucrative opportunities, because my mindset was only ‘what you do for Christ will last’. Although that is the case, but I personally put God and the talent that he had given me in a box and said that this is the only way that he is going to use me and so, as a result, God allowed the well to dry up because I had these limitations on him and the gift.”

Letting go of those limitations is what led to Campbell’s appearance on “The Voice,” and now two years later, he’s here in Detroit co-starring in T.J. Hemphill’s “Perilous Times,” which is appearing at the Music Hall in downtown Detroit from Thursday, April 17, 2014 through Sunday, April 20, 2014. Campbell stars as the angel and in that role, he’ll be performing three songs which he says have never been performed during the show before so audiences, he says, are definitely in for a treat. But he’s sure to point out that the show is full of talented cast members.

“The talent is awesome; one of the guys … was on American Idol and Sunday Best, and he’s playing the main character,” Campbell said. “And … one of the young ladies, her name is Kyla Jade; powerful, powerful singer … so it’s a wonderful play and wonderful people, and I think it’d be a wonderful blessing to you guys.”

Being a blessing to others is exactly what Campbell plans to continue utilizing his talent to do. Once he finishes his weekend run in Perilous Times, he plans to get back to work on recording his debut CD, which he’s been working on since “The Voice.”

“It’s been two years, but it’s a process, and it takes time, it takes money certainly, and it takes who you know,” Campbell said. “I didn’t want to put out an album just because I was on ‘The Voice’. My thing is, you get one good shot to reach as many people as possible, and we’ve just been working on the recording to bring high quality, wonderful songs that people can relate to.”

In addition to his musical interests, Campbell is also working on some non-profit activities, including programs that he says will be an asset to single fathers. He’s a single dad himself, to daughter Soraya, so that’s an issue that’s near and dear to his heart. But in the meantime, he hopes that everyone will come out to the Music Hall to see him in Perilous Times. He’ll be singing his heart out, just like he did on “The Voice.”

For ticket information, click here.

For more on Jesse Campbell, click here.

To get caught up on all the entertainment news, visit Terri’s blog here.

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee


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