If it’s one thing 24-year-old John Yarde knows, it’s “when Jesus says yes, nobody can say no”.
In a world heavily influenced by secular music, it’s rare to find a young person earnestly going after gospel music; but John is on a mission to spread God’s Word though his music.
For the last six years, the self-professed guy next door has been steadily rising as a gospel singer, both locally and regionally; and he knows for sure that he is now on the right path –– after having some doubts initially.
“I started out as a drummer. [Drumming] is what I did. When I travelled to the USA on an internship from school, I connected with a church there, and I played the drums. When I went back a second time, they already had a new drummer; so they didn’t need me. And, the pastor at the time asked me if I could worship-lead because the [regular] person was sick; and I said, ‘No, I don’t do that. I play the drums’,” John said.
But it was that leap of faith that propelled the final year student of the Caribbean Nazarene College into what he now believes to be his destiny.
“I eventually took the pastor up on his offer, and I tried it out. When I did it, it just felt right –– like when you first get a new toy and can’t stop playing with it; yes, that’s how I felt. It was fresh; and it felt so natural.
“I immediately identified something I was passionate about; something I never knew I wanted,” the devoted Christian said.
Having found his passion and what he believes to be God’s calling for him, John returned home to Barbados from the United States ready to minister through song –– but he met a stumbling block.
“I came home excited, and I went to the ministry leader of island worship and I asked him if I could lead worship, and he said, ‘Boy, go play the drums’. At the moment it was a bit disappointing. Yes, I felt bad; but when I think about it, I don’t hold anything against him . . . . I knew I had something in me, and I believed in that,” John affirmed.
Having received that no did not deter him from pursing his passion. John vividly remembers the moment when people, including the ministry leader who initially told him no, started to take notice of his gift and take him seriously.
“When people really started to pay attention was at a youth conference. I was asked to pray, and I was getting ready to wrap up and the keyboardist started to play Give Myself Away, and I started to sing the song, and everyone was like, ‘John, wow! You can really sing!’ –– even the same guy who told me to go play the drums.
“After that he took me in for like two to three months and we would meet every Saturday, and we would spend the time praying and just singing,” the young worshipper added.
That for John was the starting point, and paved the way for his career.
“From those sessions I learnt how to engage God first as opposed to a crowd. My intention is to move the heart of God first and he would do the rest,” said John.
Since then, he has recorded six singles, and has his sights set on recording an album one day. But he revealed “it is not my season as yet. When God is ready, things will happen –– all in his time”.
John firmly believes that delayed does not mean denied, with God, and for this reason he has not stopped dreaming of what his first album will look and sound like.
“I can still dream, you know. I know what I would like to name it; types of songs; all that,” he said.
In the meantime, he is continuing to write and build his repertoire.
“My inspiration to write comes from life, relationships, things that happen to me . . . . God just gives me songs, and I put pen to paper. I believe that it is a gift and skill for me,” he said.
But John, who admitted he got his musical ability from his mother, said writing with other people had also helped tremendously.
With regard to performing, Yarde has been ministering to souls all over the region, and also in the United States. For the last three years, he has performed at the annual Gospelfest concert here in Barbados.
For him being able to minister to so many lives is a dream come true.
But the lives John Yarde is most passionate about are of the younger generation. And he believes that with his theology, psychology and counselling degree training,
he will be better equipped to make a positive impact on them. For now, he is reaching them through his music.
“I have a special love for the young people, and I am focused on helping them to realize the seriousness of a relationship with God. I know that young people have a short attention span; and oft-times after hearing a 45-minute sermon, we only hold onto one piece and forget the rest.
“So what I try to do is put a 45-minute sermon into a three-, four-minute song. The young people gravitate towards music a lot more; and music is always with us. So I believe it’s a better way to get the message across,” John said.
However, he noted that sermons still had their place.
Now, John’s sights are set on taking his music career even further and becoming a household name. The young man on a mission believes that with God’s help, the continued support of his parents, family and close-knit team, he will achieve his goal.
“My dad is a pastor, and my mum is also really involved in church; so that helps to keep me grounded. I choose my friends very carefully, and I surround myself with good people who help to keep my character in check –– those who can point me in the right direction,” he said.
John lives by the philosophy “forward together, no man is left behind”.
And while he may not be able to directly say what he plans to be doing in years to come, he knows for sure that he will be living his dream of ministering in song, involved in pastoral ministry and having fun.
And as to why he was so confident, John simply said: “As my most recent single is titled, Is Anything Too Hard For God?”