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JoJo Barrino to perform in Cleveland Sunday

By Cyntra Brown
For The Salisbury Post
In 2004, we all remember how Fantasia Barrino won our hearts and the title of American Idol.
On Sunday, July 19, Fantasia’s father, JoJo, will take the stage in Cleveland to try and win our souls.
At the age of 15, Barrino knew he had a gift. And that gift was his voice.
He was raised in a Baptist church and with his father’s generation of gospel music.
Singing in various church groups and touring all over North Carolina, singing gospel was all he knew.
Barrino still sings with various groups, letting his passion for traditional gospel inspire him.
His favorite song?
“The Old Rugged Cross,” Barrino says with a smile.
He loves being around people so much he rarely performs by himself.
“I love a background vocal,” Barrino says.
He also plays the bass guitar and works with new talent under his label Jo Wayne Entertainment Production.
At the age of 23, he created “Lil Cedric and the Hailey Singers,” featuring his two nephews, K-Ci and JoJo Hailey.
K-Ci and JoJo then went on to be members of Jodeci before they formed their own group.
“I love it,” Barrino says of working in the music industry, but admits it isn’t always easy. Barrino evens considers starting his own label a leap of faith. Many challenges surrounded the lack of finances they needed for funding CDs and tours. Barrino constantly had to work from the ground up.
Even though his first group crescendoed from gospel to R&B, Barrino continues to work with gospel music and artists. He says the only thing you can do is promote.
“It plays a big part in what you do,” Barrino says.
Barrino remains optimistic that these challenges won’t cause a flat note in producing and promoting singers.
“God will still take care of his people,” Barrino says.
Barrino gives his family much credit for his love of music and people.
The youngest of 15 children, Barrino is comfortable being around many people because of his large family. His father’s personality also had a big impact in his social skills.
“My father was a people person,” Barrino says. “He drove a city bus, taxi and worked in a shoe shine shop.”
His older brothers had signed with a subsidiary record label on Motown, called Invictus, and were singing just as much as Barrino was in the church.
“I love it all,” Barrino says of his singing, promoting and producing. “I love people with the same gift as I have.”
JoJo Barrino knows a gift when he sees one.
He worked with his children, Fantasia and Rico, to get their music careers off the ground.
He doesn’t take all the credit though,
“It was a God-sent gift,” he says.
He says each generation of Barrinos has a different level of musical gifts and talents. They each develop their own unique passion.
As for the future generations and music, “the saga continues,” Barrino says.
Barrino is excited about performing at The Building, located at 1790 Baker Mill Road in Cleveland this Sunday. He loves the feeling of being able to communicate with his audience. Performing, he says, “gives you a good feeling of encourage people with your gift.”
Sandra Cornelius, one of the coordinators for The Building, is excited to have him there as well.
“He’s going to sing the roof off The Building!” Cornelius says.
Stacey Cornelius, a promoter of World Omni Products, and Sandra’s brother is responsible for sponsoring the performance. Omni World is a hire product company that distributes and sells natural pain relievers.
Sandra and Stacey Cornelius have also known Barrino for many years and feels like he’s part of the family.
“I’m happy to go to The Building,” Barino says, “because we’re going to have a family reunion.”
Barrino will be performing with Ervin Watts and the Barrino Boys at 4 p.m. Other musical groups will include Sons of Zion, Rhonda Crowder, The Mighty Pilgrimaires, The Messengers of Christ and Anointed Voices.
Doors will open at 3 p.m. Tickets will be $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Children from ages 7-12 will be $6.
For more information, call 704-819-7408, 704-315-1277 or 704-278-9933.

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