Jovonta Patton of North Minneapolis is a community-oriented artist who loves to express himself through the vehicle of music. Over the past couple of years, Patton’s faith in God, and utilizing social media helped him reach new heights in gospel music.
Patton describes his style of music as “pop” gospel, “Really catchy but [it’s] something that you’ll sing forever. Then my other side is complete worship,” he says.
Patton’s unique way of marketing via social media was instrumental in rising to No. 1 on Billboard’s gospel charts a couple of times, in 2016, for his self-released album, Finally Living, and again for his latest single, “Way Maker.”
Rolling out caught up with Patton to talk about the music scene in Minneapolis.
How would you describe the music scene in Minneapolis?
The music scene is really growing here. I’m very proud of the hip-hop and R&B up-and-coming artists here. They are very talented and creative from music to visuals and overall hustle of letting us know about their music.
Minneapolis is a city filled with diverse cultures and music has a way of connecting people. How does music bring people together?
Music brings people together in one or two ways. One way [is] it makes all have a good time and forget about our individual issues. Or It has a subject that makes us all aware of our individual issues.
For many years, Black artists dealt with racism. Has anything changed or is it about the same?
I’ll say things have changed with the art format but I believe it’s only because we generate so much money from our talent. I think they like us to entertain them. But they’re not interested in entertaining our ideas of justice.
How about in Minneapolis?
Minneapolis can be a very racist community when it comes to art. Black artists can sometimes be shut out of certain venues and opportunities, not because of a lack of talent or professionalism but the color of our skin. Also, if we get in the doors, we are treated poorly and not respected as an artist.
If you could recognize and honor any artist for Black Music Month, who would you choose?
I would honor Dr. James Grear, a Billboard chart-topping artist himself and his amazing group, Company. They have kept the same sound, loyal singers and consistency more than any group I know. They truly are honorable.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired a lot by travels and seeing different cultures.
Does Minneapolis artistically inspire you?
Minneapolis does because it’s where I come from. It also inspires me to see Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, And Next come from this area and have such a strong impact. They are global and strong in the music industry period.
Name three people who have inspired you — in life or your music career.