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POETRY....................................................................PAGE 2

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Changing The World of Gospel With A Modern Spin As We Hang Out With Terry TJ McCarter Jr.


Welcome Kool World to the latest Artistic acts in and around the world sharing what makes them the who’s who in their respected discipline With the art they love the most! We have returned with another musical edition in the Rising Star Chronicles with a singer, song-writer, and vocal producer influenced by The Gospel,  and other quite popular genres: Alternative, Country, and R&B reigning from the state of Alabama in the US!

TJ McCarter, also known as Terry McCarter Jr. founder of his own production team GroundXero shares his love of Christian music, how it is possible to be a man of God singing the Lord’s praises, with a modern R&B flavor I might add ;) while still being very much human in every way possible, hailing from the same town as American Idol Season 2 Winner Ruben Studdard, an opening act for renowned Gospel Artist Marvin Sapp, and the challenges facing today’s mainstream audience connecting with a Divine musical style that has been around and will continue  to be around way after the Nicki Minajs, Chris Browns, Rihannas, Taylor Swifts, Beyonces, and Jay-Z’s are long gone & mainstream has new reigning POP-ular kings and queens.

Hi Terry! I'm glad to meet you & make your acquaintance as my first Gospel singer :) Thank you for sharing your time. I'm happy to engage with an Artist of your genre because not only are you the first one I'm talking with but in times like these we're living in we may need more of it! 

How did Gospel music become your "calling" or story to tell in your life?
First off it’s an honor to talk to you Serenada, Thanks for having me! I come from a musical background and Church is definitely the foundation of my family. My Dad, Terry McCarter Sr. was/is a Gospel singer. I remember as a child my Dad always on the road traveling and singing and once me and my younger brother Jeremy McCarter became teenagers we began traveling with him singing in churches across the country.
A traveling caravan of Gospel, love it! You were already learning the ropes of a self-made Artist, touring without the aid of a label, just you and your family. A star is born.

Give us an a/s/l? "meaning" age/sex/location for the Classic AOL chat roomers or just a biographical starting point ;)
I was born in Alabaster, Alabama in August 10th 1983.
Currently I reside in Birmingham, Alabama.





I'm afraid there's a stigma associated with non-secular or spiritual music that doesn't connect much with today's generation. To be honest even though I've always believed in God and allowed myself to be closer to Him, just like people who don't want to hear someone preaching verses from the Bible and blaring Christian music, I found myself bypassing or looking past these particular things. I've felt torn between because it's challenging to feel both ways, if you can understand my point. Why do you think it's a challenge to embrace "The Word" for today's World?
It's definitely a challenge, I mean when you live in a world like we live in where there are so many different influences whether it’s TV, Music, radio, music videos, these things are shaping the minds of our generation because it’s all entertaining and people feel like they can relate. "The word" is the complete opposite it’s not entertaining so it becomes harder to embrace but in reality "The Word" is life changing but there must be a hunger there to get it. As a singer/songwriter I want to be relatable and also give a word all in one. 

I see your point of view and it makes sense! With you addressing “The Word” in contrast to “entertainment” would you say it’s also the feeling of dread when a child has done something wrong and the parent tells them, “Let’s talk about why you did it…or let’s talk about how what you did was wrong…” That sort of lecturing quality no one wants to sit and listen to. It’s pretty much point blank stating the “right” or best standard of living, like a guide book. Even though it’s for the positive outcome it is also seen as a “limiting, restrictive, rule book that can be taken out of context to bear down on its subjects instead of uplift and empower. It’s all about viewpoint and interpretation from the readers.

When you mention there "must be a hunger there to get it" can you give more of your viewpoint on that?
You definitely have your work cut out for you! Not to be cynical whatsoever because I respect those who face the challenges of life head-on, eyes wide open, with a passion, drive, sincerity, authenticity, and so forth.


For me I just try to stay true to the message. I never write music that isn't real in my life. I write everything from my personal experiences to the experience of others that are close to me but only to encourage someone that if God did this for me he can do the same for you. I never really focus on what’s going on around me musically I just try and focus on the task God has set before me. But I must say musically I’m a fan of almost everyone it’s just the passion I have for it.

I've always felt there must be a struggle of interest when someone is basically an ambassador of Christ, on the forefront to make a statement in the Lord's name, while still being very much human and dealing with all those emotions. Do you ever feel torn or conflicted as a man with sexual needs and desires and upholding your position with this style of music?
Before I’m a singer/songwriter, musician, or even a Christian I’m a man first, I’m human so to say I haven't felt any emotion is insane. I'm not exempt because I write Gospel music but I think that’s why so many people can identify with my music because for an example I'm not afraid to write about being a man of God facing temptation or how it’s not so easy to just turn the other cheek. I always want to express realness in my music so not only does it sound good to the ear but people can truly understand the message. 
When the decision was made to ask this question there was a definite expectation for your answer. It is insane as you state to not feel sexual emotions. You’re a man first and everything else comes after. Other Christian or Gospel Artists out here are faced with the same struggle or conflict at hand because being taken seriously is at stake. You know exactly what your purpose is and you’re going to make sure you accomplish it no matter what which helps you to continue without worry. Even outside of music, there’s a struggle with one’s faith and spreading the Gospel because for some reason as people we think that a person who is a messenger of God can’t possibly have sexual thoughts, desires, lust, or “freaky thoughts” or feelings, let alone act them out, because it’s “sinful” or far left from what “The Word” is about. I guess it’s the perception that a person who is associated with the Divine is “untouched” or in a different category from humanity. But it’s respectfully a way of life! It’s how you live and what you do in the name of the Lord. As far as I’m concerned I haven’t met a single person who is in the Lord’s service say anything in opposition to sex, except don’t have multiple partners. Everything else is A-okay ;) lol. But there’s still a disconnect with the youth of today connecting with music of this kind because of the desensitization influence of mainstream subject matter. I can’t speak of the years before I was born in ’84 but music with an allure of danger, the forbidden, and edginess is what draws many of us in because it is “freeing and enlivening”. The same can be obtained from Divine music as well, but reaching the audience is the challenge.


I'm curious to ask if at some point did you sing or write songs of the mainstream kind that is popular today, with the suggestions, the sexuality, the profanity, and the violence we listen to?
Actually I don't just write Gospel music. I write all types of music. I write R&B, Alternative, and even Country. I love music and it is an expression of life in different rhythms’ and styles. I stay away from any profanity and violence in music as I feel it’s not necessary in my music but I love to write about "Love" in any genre.
Ooh okay! You know this changes the whole flow of our convo right? Haha, kidding.

Not too much though, it actually enhances everything! At least it portrays you in a very honest and human light! Now this is dope what you’ve shared: Alternative, Country, and R&B.



Tell me how these three genres speak to you the most in expressing yourself musically?



I love all genres of music, Gospel is by far my favorite but R&B, Country, and Alternative moves me as well. Country music tells a story, every single time, Alternative I love because of the musicianship, R&B because of the soul it brings, Each genre is completely different from the next but as a singer/songwriter and producer I love to put a Groundxero stamp on each.

Are you Independent, Unsigned, or Signed to a label or your own? And are you solo or work with others?
Name them too if there are any.
I'm an independent contemporary Gospel artist, but I do have my own Production team known as GroundXero Entertainment. My team consists of my younger brother, Jeremy McCarter who is also a singer/songwriter and producer and Calvin McHoward who is also a songwriter, producer and independent hip-hop artist.
How did “GroundXero” become the official name of your production team and how long has your team been in operation?
Groundxero Came into effect in 2011. We were in the studio working on an R&B record called "Hurricane" and we use the word ground zero during the bridge of the song and for some reason it just stuck out to me so I mention to the guys about making that our official production team name and they like it. Of course my brother thought to change the Z to an X, he's the more creative of us 3. Lol
I'm listening to a new release titled, "Call Him Up" Operator! Operator! (That’s just me singing! lol) with first time singer Ant Harris and it really is good! And if you don't mind me mentioning it was rather sexy in production. But not in the way that is expected, it's just an interesting modern concept towards Gospel.



Two artists came to mind, Marques Houston and Omarion.
What secular and non-secular music Artists have listeners pinned your sound to?
Everybody!!! I think it’s a good thing because I listen to everybody and musically I'm influenced by everyone in some type of way but I'm not surprised because I get that a lot. People always tell me that my gospel music has an R&B sound. To me that’s just fine as long as you get the message in the record.

Any particular names?
I get "Mitchell Jones" a lot. He was one of the Original members of the Contemporary Gospel group Commissioned. I also get R&B singer "Donell Jones". I’m a Huge fan of both Guys so to me it’s a compliment.
And rightfully so since you’ve given acknowledgment to R&B as one of your favs! It’s actually a great way to connect with today’s youth musically and embrace R&B fans. I love how now it is noticeable in music how Artists are experimenting with music from their parent’s time and what was popular for them growing up. The combination is creating a brand new sound for future generations to take from this generation.


I only know a few Artists that are "mainstream" Gospel Artists that stand out in my mind, Mary Mary, Ruben Studdard, Deitrick Haddon, and Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and his gospel choirs. Have you met any of them or other popular Artists in person? If so how did you meet them if it was a surprising or unexpected encounter?
It’s funny because Ruben Studdard and I are from the same area and state, Alabama but surprisingly we have never met and what’s even funnier is we work around some of the same producers and musicians often. I have never met any of the other artists you mentioned but I'm a huge fan of each and every one of them. I have had the pleasure of spending some time with Pastor John P. Kee who is in my opinion the Godfather of Gospel Music; out in Durham, North Carolina He gave me great insight and direction for my career. I was also given the pleasure to open up for Marvin Sapp and I had the pleasure of meeting Zacardi Cortez.

Oooh that’s nice! I almost forgot, how can I ever forget Marvin Sapp! He is one major name no one should ever look past.

Has more doors opened up for you with your interaction with these specific Artists?
Yes it has. each opportunity has open the door for the next. alongside my Dad and Brother we have had the opportunity to open for some great artist and made great friendships within the music industry.

In terms of longevity it's excellent to have many skills. As a singer, song-writer, and producer you are pretty much an entire team! Did you take lessons or go to school to learn what you needed or developed the skills on your own?
No! I never took any lessons; I have just spent more than half of my life in the studio and on stage. I'm also a bassist and also self taught. To me it’s just a gift of music, a God given talent and everyday I’m so grateful for that.
A bassist?!!! That’s awesome! In reference to “spending more than half” of your life, it’s a sacrifice for sure. I think about how in music an Artist can spend hours in a studio setting or alone putting together selections of their own music with high hopes of a future. It’s a choice of living and it’s a question of “Is it worth the time?” or “Am I wasting my time?” Time can’t be given back. Every second that we’re doing something in a day is the first and last of that given moment we will ever have. Everyday has to count for something and if it’s in the pursuance of a goal, can a person really regret the choice to aim for the stars? No one knows the future or outcome of their actions so I guess faith will be a major component with the hard work.

What sets your production apart from other Gospel producers or music Artists in general? 
Do you have a particular sound quality or rhythm that is signature to you?
I think my sound is impacted by every artist I have listen to growing up. Not a day went by that my Dad wasn't listening to The Winans, Commissioned, Rance Allen, Rev AL Green, John P. Kee, Dawkins and Dawkins etc. I mean the list goes on and on music was all I ever knew. I have always had a contemporary sound but getting the opportunity to work with Harvey Mason Jr and Damon Thomas of the Underdogs was musically life changing. It really helped me and my team develop the sound we have now.
You know it’s wild that you mentioned Commissioned. One of my past guests Cristian Tyler has also worked with the same Gospel group with her musical beginnings before becoming the Artist she is now! And again how could I ever miss acknowledging The Winans!!?!! Majorly them too, but forgive me for not being familiar with of few names.

What is it about Harvey Mason Jr, Damon Thomas, and The Underdogs interpretation that you admire? I'll give them a shout-out! 

Their work ethic is amazing! Not saying everyone doesn't work hard but I got the chance to work with them first hand and we "WORK" all day and all night every day. To me they have always been a step ahead of the rest but spending some time in L.A with those guys I truly understood why. There is a record I just co-wrote called "Teach Us Love" performed by my Brother Jeremy McCarter for his upcoming album. The words are self explanatory but the line " Lord teach us how to love is" is powerful.

Do you feel you have what it takes to merge into Mainstream music, if you wanted to make that transition, or do you feel content where you are?
It's never a question whether I feel; I have what it takes to become mainstream, I believe in hard work and I believe in time and seasons. God sets the stage for us, he equips us and then he allows us to walk out on the stage. There are so many things I want to do musically, so many lives I want to touch through music, so honestly I will probably never be content.


What do you think is missing from today's generation music. What we listen to everyday?
Music! That might sound a little strange but music is what's missing from today's version of music. Now a day’s artist can basically say anything on a record and it never has to make any sense. I think the passion for real songwriting is losing its flare.
Halllelujah! Lol, I feel that. For the longest I was feeling the exact same way but as mentioned above there’s a resurgence that is taking place with up and coming music Artists that embraces the classic, or recognizeable music of their childhoods while adding their own spin and trademark uniqueness to it. It’s quite fascinating and exciting because there are so many avenues to take with it and so many combinations because everyone has their own story to tell! And thankfully that’s what we’re learning from you right now! J

Just for the fun of it share one of the most foolish lines you've ever heard from a song (If you dare!) lol. If you're brave enough share the song's title...
Lol! Listen there are some crazy lyrics out there but I won't out anyone!!! Serenada I just can't do it!! LOL
Can’t hate me for trying! Lol. Remember there are plenty of lines out here that have been sung many times so it’s possible you would never be found out haha! Well let me turn it around a bit to suit your taste sir ;)

What song do you catch yourself humming to, thinking of the most, or wanting to sing out-loud?
"Take me to the King" by Tamla Mann. This song is embedded in my soul because this is the story for a lot of people.

What will music lovers of all genres take away from listening to your work?
A different outlook at Christ. I want people to feel like they want a more intimate relationship with Him just from listening to my records.

What albums or EP's have you released or soon will be releasing?
In mid July 2013 I'm releasing a contemporary gospel record called "Never Fail" It features myself and my brother Jeremy McCarter. We teamed up with my Fiancée, Tanya Taylor to help promote her "self worth Life changing series" to women across the country. I'm also working on my solo project "eight" set for release in early 2014.


What are your hobbies and interests outside of the music you love to make? Or if you have an unusual talent let us know how corky you really are? =P
I'm a huge boxing fan. Boxing is a very close second to my music. In my free time I study old boxing films and documentaries. It’s funny because people who know me think I could be a trainer or an advisor but to me it’s not that serious I just love the sport. 
See what I mean about combinations! Lol

A Boxing Gospel singer with a penchant for R&B, Alternative, & Country Music! That’s dope ;)

Which Boxer are you impressed by the most? What knock-out technique?
Easily Floyd "Money" Mayweather jr. He's not really a knock out artist but he's been on top for a long time. 17 years and never suffered a loss is very impressive.

Taking risks in life can propel someone forward for good reasons or possibly cause problems. There are many outcomes for the steps we take. Have you taken any risks with your career or in your personal life that either helped you or hurt you in the long-run?
I can't say that I have taken much risk that has hurt in some type of way. I've made many mistakes along the way but nothing to the point of it being something I would change. Thus far things have been great, my good days as well as my bad days. They have taught me in one instance or another.


It's expected to assume with the music you make you rarely experience "bad days" or trials since it's supposed to be uplifting and foretelling of the good and better times. But you're still human and go through the same as anyone else. How do you personally manage negativity and challenges you face with the work you do and/or in your day to day life?
I simply believe in the power of Prayer. Praying has brought me through some of the darkest days in my life. I'm so grateful for my upbringing because I was taught at a very early age that God is our only source of help and until this day I still believe what I was taught. I think experiences in life whether good or bad tell a story and that’s where the music fits in for me.


Can you say that through your struggles in life it gives your music that added personal, raw edge that can propel your message even further and hopefully connect even deeper with listeners?
 Absolutely! That’s part of being an artist; you get the chance to express every emotions in your music. I can definitely say that I have written music based on a true story, my story and people can relate either because they have faced a similar situation or they know someone who has.  



What advice would you give an Artist who wants to go in the same musical direction? 
I would tell them to work hard, stay consistent, and dedicate themselves to what God has placed in front of them. Stay true to their sound and don't be afraid to sing about what others are afraid to talk about.
I’m going to be honest, I have to remind myself all the time to hang on, don’t give up, the great things will come if you keep believing, and stay consistent as you said. It’s tougher than ever Terry with many of us trying to find our way in a changing world of morals, values, and viewpoints. Give or take it is a struggle and for the youth coming up now it will take a lot more to keep them in line with what they’re facing already. Thank You for your encouraging words! Beautiful
Are there any quotes, sayings, or mantras that have carried you through the darkest hours and keep you grounded and joyful?
"Feeding only my Faith so that all of my doubts starve to death" - Les Brown this is one of my favorite quotes and it’s so powerful. My family definitely keeps me grounded, my beautiful fiancé, my kids, Ari and Donnie, love and togetherness keeps us happy.

If you could go anywhere in the world where would you want to travel to and why?
I really want to go to Africa. To me Africans are some of the most beautiful people on this planet. I Love their strength and not to mention they make beautiful music!

Name any well-known or high profile individuals you would love to meet in person. For instance if you met President Obama which song past or present would you sing for him?
Steve Harvey and Bishop TD Jakes. I admire men with great wisdom and these two definitely have it. Not quite sure about the song but I would think of something. LOL
Haha I can see it now with Steve Harvey! That would be fun to see, but I’m sure he would be very attentive and not silly as he is lol. Bishop TD Jakes I bet would have you antsy and ready to perform. Pins and needles.

How can newbies keep up with the Latest and Greatest?
You can follow me on twitter @Songwriter4You and  facebook/TerryMcCarter Jr.


Tell us about any recent shows you attended.
I was just in Atlanta Georgia for Culture Shock Saturday June 1, 2013 I made a guest appearance along with my Fiancé to support her "self-worth" motivational speaking.


Are there any special appearances, shows, events that you can share for us to look out for?
Saturday June 22, 2013 I’m performing at Grace & Truth Apostolic Church in Bessemer, AL

I'm schedule to perform in Lakeland, Florida in August at the Purity Party Conference. Dates are to be announced.

October 24-25, 2013 I’ll be guest appearing in Raleigh, North Carolina

What lasting statement would you like to leave our readers with?
I would just like to encourage all of the readers to keep God first, remain faithful to your dreams and purpose by never doubting and always believing in "you".

To learn more about what's happenin next with this rising act Kool World stay tuned to the latest via RPRAI and keep up with all that's happening in his world!


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