Grenadian-born, Brooklyn resident Ijeal Joseph is an award-winning recording artiste who has been positively impacting lives in the Brooklyn community and beyond.
Joseph also wears many hats — an anointed Christian music singer, worship leader, actor, songwriter, poet, author and performer, as well as an ordained minister of the gospel.
On June 30, he sang the US National Anthem at the Kings County Supreme Court, downtown Brooklyn, during the Caribbean American History Month celebration, organized by Caribbean American jurists and legal practitioners in New York courts.
“It was a great honor to perform the American National Anthem at The New York Supreme Court Caribbean American Heritage celebrations,” Joseph told Caribbean Life in an exclusive interview. “I do not take for granted this opportunity that was given to me.
“I thank the Hon. Lisa Ottley (Trinidadian-American justice at the Kings Country Supreme Court) for recommending me,” he added. “She is a very big fan of mine. As an artiste of any kind, not every day one gets to say that they got to sing and share their gifts with a room filled with judges and other professionals of the law.”
Early in his Christian life, Joseph said he played different roles as a cast member with the theatre youth group of the Gouyave Open Bible Church.
In 1999, he earned national attention when he participated in the Grenada National Song Festival.
Then, in 2003, Joseph won the Grenada National Talent Search Competition and, in 2005, he was awarded the Grenada National Youth Award for his exemplary performance in the field of culture.
After migrating to New York in 2009, Joseph said he continued to be actively involved in both ministry and community work. He is a chaplain and evangelist.
Among the volunteer assignments he has adopted is being a member of the Brooklyn-based Grenada Independence Anniversary Celebrations’ Steering Committee.
In May 2011, he was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his “invaluable service to the community” by Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn.
Acknowledging his accomplishments and his ability to positively impact audiences, Joseph said he was asked to be the keynote speaker for the New York Ecumenical Service during the 2019 Grenada Independence Anniversary celebrations.
In March 2019, he was awarded a proclamation by New York State Sen. Kevin S. Parker, representative for the 21st Senate District in Brooklyn.
At the time, Parker noted that he was honoring and “recognizing that, in Ijeal Joseph, we have an individual worthy of our highest respect and esteem.”
Joseph said his work has inspired and blessed the hearts of many people of all ages, crisscrossing denominational and social boundaries.
According to Joseph, his mission and purpose for service is “For Christ and For Souls.”
“I am very proud of all that I have accomplished this far in my career,” he said. “It is my dream to be able to spread my message of love and the gospel with as many people across the globe as possible.”
Joseph said it all started as a dream while growing up in Grenada.
“Every day, after school, I would find myself on a rock in Grand Roy Bay singing at the very top of my voice,” he said. “I pretended that the rock was my stage and that the sea was my audience. My imagination was filled with thoughts of performing in front of a large audience some day.
“To God be the glory, I’ve accomplished that many times over,” Joseph added. “This is just proof that whatever you put your mind to do you can achieve it.
“The journey hasn’t always been smooth, and, in many aspects, I hoped to have accomplished more by now,” he continued. “But I promised to keep on trying.”
Joseph said one of his biggest inspirers was Jamaican singer Beres Hammond.
“We met back in 2008 at an event,” he said. “As I was coming of the stage, he grabbed me and hugged me, and told me, ‘Keep doing what you do and, one day, the big break would come’.
“Those words are engraved on my heart and mind,” Joseph added. “I would never forget that moment. This advice has been my guiding light since.”
He said he’s had similar encounters with gospel music legends Alvin Slaughter and Pastor Donnie McClurkin.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joseph said he was forced to cancel his annual gospel concert, dubbed “The Glory Xperience,” and has taken “a little sabbatical as I have been on the go consistently since I was a teenager doing ministry.”
Currently, he said he mostly writes and concentrates on his personal development.
In addition, he disclosed that a new album is “in the works.”
“I have a wide range of materials to choose from,” Joseph said. “So, as soon as the time comes, I’ll be back out there doing what I do best, with new music to share.
“Music is so powerful [that] I do not take its stewardship for granted,” he added. “I always admire [the legendary Jamaican reggae super star] Bob Marley, because of his ability to reach people of all backgrounds. It does not matter their religion and race.
“This is what I aim to do as well,” Joseph said. “My motto is ‘For Christ and For Souls’. So, in essence, I have been given a mandate from Above to minister and attend to the needs of God’s people.”
Joseph can be reached at (347) 669-7633 or email at [email protected].