UB Interview: Jerome Wiggins Speaks on New Music, Tia & Tamera & Much More

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Guess what? Jerome’s in the house!!! Jerome Wiggins, that is. The public was first introduced to the lovable, tell-it-like-it-is cousin of twin sisters Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Tamera Mowry-Housley on their hit reality show.

Always a source of support and enlightenment (and perfectly timed snark!) for the girls, the Pennsylvania native’s true purpose in life soon became apparent during Season 2 of the show as we watched him record the soothing yet passion-filled song “I Will” with Tamera for his upcoming Gospel EP, Manifest.

The rest of the world may have recently caught on to Jerome’s calling, but he was aware of it from the beginning. He was surrounded by soul music growing up. In fact, he is the son of a jazzman and educator-mother, who taught him everything from his name to his address through song starting at the age of 3.

Born and bred in the church, he consistently attended mass. But health scares and a second chance at life strengthened Jerome’s devotion. At his heaviest, he weighed in at 327 lbs. When he was an 18-year-old freshman in college, his gallbladder burst and he almost died. After that wake up call, he decided to give all of himself to God. He’s since lost 142 lbs. (Amen!) and become a minister and worship leader at Kingdom Come Ministries in Clairton, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh. Later, Jerome, whose musical influences include Andraé Crouch and Pastor Donnie McClurkin, pursued a gospel singing career.

The independent artist has two singles on iTunes: “I Will” featuring Tamera and “Another Chance” with another one on the way. He also collaborated with Christian clothing line Grateful Apparel to put out a collection called I Am a Champion. Furthermore, he’s working on possibly doing a book and more TV.

So as it turns out, the multitalented rising star doesn’t just want it announced that he’s “in the house.” He wants to make a name for himself and take up residence in your home…as a fixture in your iPod, TV, bookshelf and closet.

Recently, Jerome spoke with UrbanBridgez.com reporter Danielle to talk about all of that as well as his musical journey, new single, chance encounter with one of his all-time favorite singers, the late, great Whitney Houston and more.

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UrbanBridgez.com: How have you been since the third season of Tia & Tamera wrapped?
Jerome Wiggins: We’re moving! The transition is really wild. For the last year, my life has been the show. I’m excited because I’m shifting into the thing that I love the absolute most, which is ministry and offering music to God. Now, I am full-fledged doing the recording artist situation and can focus all my attention to finishing my EP.

UrbanBridgez.com: Tell us about your new single.
Jerome Wiggins: I just finished recording my new single, “No One,” which is up-tempo and really fun. The song is declaring that there really is no one who can care for us like God can, no one can heal us like God can—there’s no one else like him! If you’re looking for somebody who can console you when you’ve lost your child or when you’re going through a breakup, no one can do that like God. Other people can do a really good job, but no one can give you peace like God.

UrbanBridgez.com: Did you write “No One?”
Jerome Wiggins: Yes, I did!

UrbanBridgez.com: How many songs on your debut EP, Manifest, will you have a writing credit on?
Jerome Wiggins: As of right now, it looks like five of the eight songs will be mine, which is amazing. Possibly, there will be a sixth one that I’ve been toying with.

UrbanBridgez.com: When can we expect “No One” to drop?
Jerome Wiggins: You know what? I think it will be really cool for “No One” to be a Christmas gift. Maybe that will be my Christmas offering to the world.

UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of the producers you’ve worked with?
Jerome Wiggins: As you saw on the second season of Tia & Tamera, I worked with Eric Dawkins for “I Will” with Tamera. I’ve also worked with Michael Day, who is phenomenal. Those are the two I have with me thus far. Actually, I’m learning about the production side myself, which is really fun.

UrbanBridgez.com: Speaking of Tamera, why was “I Will” the perfect song for your cousin to sing on?
Jerome Wiggins: I picked “I Will” for Tamera because it’s so much like her: pure, true and beautiful. It’s a song of worship, and she, much like myself, loves to offer up worship to God.

UrbanBridgez.com: How would you describe Tamera’s singing voice?
Jerome Wiggins: Tamera has a beautiful voice. She has a pure voice. I would call it “pop.” I’ve always told her that she should sing on a Disney cartoon. She has that voice.

UrbanBridgez.com: Will you have any other features on your EP?
Jerome Wiggins: As of right now, I do not have any other features.

UrbanBridgez.com: What was it like working with Eric Dawkins?
Jerome Wiggins: Eric Dawkins is the man! He’s such a great guy. He pushed me to another level of confidence. The best compliment he gave me was when he told me, “You have a nice pen.” He told me that after he found out that I wrote “I Will.” I was like Wow!

UrbanBridgez.com: How did you get into songwriting?
Jerome Wiggins: I developed my skill for songwriting purely out of the desire to sing my love for God. It’s like any other relationship: if you appreciate somebody, you tell them. My songwriting was born out of my wanting to articulate back to God how I really feel about him.

UrbanBridgez.com: What is your favorite gospel album right now?
Jerome Wiggins: It would definitely have to be Tye Tribbett’s Greater Than. That album is on heavy rotation on my everything. It’s on my iPod, in the gym. There are so many amazing songs on there, but I really love his songs “Better” and “He Turned It.”

UrbanBridgez.com: So you CAN work out to gospel music?
Jerome Wiggins: Oh my goodness, yes! Guys, if you want to work out to gospel, I need you to go to iTunes right now and download the song “Another Chance” by the anointed artist named Jerome Wiggins. It’s very up-tempo. There are so many gospel songs to listen to on the treadmill, but since we’re talking about what Jerome is doing, “Another Chance” and my next one, “No One,” are really good. I don’t work out to anything else but gospel music!

UrbanBridgez.com: Is there an artist out who you wish would make a gospel album?
Jerome Wiggins: I’m absolutely waiting for Fantasia to do a gospel album because she is definitely a woman who’s come from the church. Everything about her is gospel. She’s one that I think would be phenomenal. It’s just in her. She has that sound.

UrbanBridgez.com: Which artists in other genres of music do you love?
Jerome Wiggins: Honestly, I grew up listening to other genres of music, but I’m a gospel fanatic. I don’t want to listen to anything else. Gospel has so many genres within it. If you want rap, they have that. I try to steer clear of things that will pollute me or take me off track. I’m single and don’t need to be listening to a bunch of love songs. But growing up, I loved Luther Vandross and Whitney Houston.

UrbanBridgez.com: We understand you got to meet Whitney Houston. What was that experience like?
Jerome Wiggins: It was over 10 years ago. Tia, Tamera and I were in New York and we got invited to Faith Evans’s birthday party–that’s another person who I would love to hear do a gospel album. We made sure we had our outfits together. P. Diddy and Jay Z were there. Next thing I knew, the girls said, “There’s Whitney Houston!” I was like, Ahhhhhhhh! I don’t get starstruck, but yea…The girls wanted me to meet her. I was like, Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. OK! We walked up and I met Bobby [Brown], who was cool. I shook Bobby’s hand and said hello. The girls told Whitney how big of a fan I was and how much I loved her. She was so amazing! Really sweet! She didn’t just shake my hand and kept it moving. She was like, “How you doing, baby? Nice to meet you.” She was just so kind. She thanked me for being a support for her and her music. She was just cool! She was partying like the next one! We hugged and talked. I don’t ask for autographs, but I asked for hers that day. I still have it in a frame. I will never forget it.

UrbanBridgez.com: What is your favorite Whitney Houston song?
Jerome Wiggins: She has so many songs that I love, but Whitney Houston at her core…when she sang “I Have Nothing,” I promise you, she killed that song every time. She sang with such passion and such conviction that even if she was just acting, I really believed that she had nothing. No matter what, your passion should show.

UrbanBridgez.com: What are your next steps in terms of the EP?
Jerome Wiggins: I am currently working on the title track, “Manifest.” Fred J Dukes, who is an amazing recording artist, writer and musician, wrote a beautiful song that I’m going to get to do on my CD as well. It’s called “Worthy of My Praise.”

UrbanBridgez.com: Do you have a release date for Manifest?
Jerome Wiggins: I’m working hard. At the rate that we’re going, if not the end of the year, then probably the top of the year. I don’t want to rush it. I want the artwork to be amazing. I want production to be amazing. In the meantime, the singles, “I Will” and “Another Chance,” are out with “No One” to follow.

UrbanBridgez.com: We’ve seen some photos of you from recent shoots. Are those going to appear in the art for your EP?
Jerome Wiggins: I am in the gym working HARD! I’m going to wait until the last minute to shoot those pictures. Everybody keeps asking me, “What are you doing?! You’re losing so much weight.” The gym is killing me! I go four to five days a week.

UrbanBridgez.com: You’re quite stylish. What do you like to wear when you’re performing?
Jerome Wiggins: I love blazers. The better shape I get in, the more I love blazers because the more you can do with them. I think a blazer makes everything better. I like to roll up and push up the sleeves.

UrbanBridgez.com: What else is in store for Jerome?
Jerome Wiggins: My producer, Michael Day, has a Christmas project called Joyful Noise, and I’ll be featured on the second edition. I’m so excited to be singing “What Child Is This” for the compilation. Because the fans are loving the things I’m saying on Twitter, you might see an inspirational book from me with a quote for every day of the year. I’m working on getting a record deal. I’m working on launching my website and logo. You might even see me on a sitcom. For now, I’m enjoying being a gospel artist. I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt. I’m more confident than I’ve ever been. I’m just ready to share my God-given gift with the people.

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