In December, I stumbled across a video on Facebook of a father rapping and dancing outside his car with his little daughter. At first all I did was watch the video, which was simply adorable. I clicked on the audio and was so pleased to hear this Dad singing, “Jesus Got Me Lit” with his little girl, Evony, having a great time. I scrolled through a few more of his videos and saw he and his family were always rapping Gospel messages. Now, ‘Jesus Got Me Lit’ has netted Edwin Covington a viral Facebook video .
Yes, that’s right. More than 5 million people have seen Edwin Covington’s video, “Jesus Got Me Lit.” Yet, who is he? Is he signed to a label? No. Does he have a manager? Not to my knowledge. But what he does have is a charismatic appeal, great beats and an international following, with people clamoring for his song. Is “Jesus Got Me Lit.’ on iTunes? No, not yet. To buy the song and his recently released CD, Team Jesus , you contact Edwin Covington directly and folks from as far away as the Philippines have been doing just that.
Covington’s rise is reminiscent of another independent artist who seemingly came out of nowhere , but Covington’s journey took a much more circuitous and hard-fought route. It’s one peppered with rough patches, but all leading to this place in time, where Jesus has Edwin lit.
So, who is viral video star, Edwin Covington; the man with the entrepreneurial spirit, selling his music directly and extending his brand with t-shirts and other ‘Jesus Got Me Lit’ clothing? I caught up with the South Carolina native about his journey, his incarceration, his redemption and his reaction to his viral status.
You just released a CD; tell me about that.
“Yes, me and my wife (Shanice), released Team Jesus and we’re just giving God the glory on it. It’s our testimonies and what God has done for us and at the same time, we’re ministering and encouraging others. There is something already inside you that God wants you to say. You just have to open your heart to the Holy Spirit, and listen and see that God can do the same things for them.”
Do you have any musical influences of styles of music?
“I grew up listening to all types of music hip hop, R&B and jazz, rick and hall, if the music is good, if it pulls me in, then it’s got my attention. If I turn on any song and within the first two seconds of me hearing a song, if it doesn’t pull me, then I’m on to something else. But if as soon as I turn on that song, I’m pulled to that beat or that lyric or that spirit in that music pulls me in, then that’s good quality music. That’s’ what basically influences me about music and I use to music to express myself, because music is a form of arts to me. I look at it in many different ways. It’s music that make you free so whenever I’m doing it for God it’s just it makes it even better because the joy that gives us in rejoicing doing his will is unexplainable. It just seems too good!”
On your CD, is there any particular song that you feel is closest to your heart?
“Every one of the songs on there. I know it may sound funny because I’m saying every one of the songs but every song that I wrote hard pain, but I can tell you that has touched. I put a video of me and my daughter dancing and singing to one of my songs called Jesus got me lit. that song the numbers on that video. Mike Steele’s radio show picked it up on his wall and right now the video has almost reached 4 million views on his wall. It has 100,000 likes and a bunch of shares. On my wall it’s close to 2 million. It’s a song that really connected with the world, got people like from around the world calling my phone right now. It just exploded!”
What led you to this write music and in this genre?
“I was already doing music. I taught myself how to write music when I went to prison. When I was out in the streets and when I got into prison, I started, but I was writing music that wasn’t Godly music. I did write a few Godly songs, because the Lord was working on me inside of prison, but I was mainly focused on writing street music, but then when I got out of prison I had one wanted to do some more stuff. I got shot and a whole lot of altercations, like to have died a few times to God finally got my attention the last time I went to jail. at their county jail that’s when I gave my life to God so when I surrendered to God, he started giving me these beautiful gospel songs that transformed my mind and heart so I started writing for him. That’s what inspired me to do the different gospel music when I gave my life to God and then he started working on my heart. He started giving me a new vision of how to write music, instead of writing that negative music.”
Yes, that right, Edwin Covington spent some time behind those walls. His testimony is one of struggles and eventual redemption. He glady shares his story. After all, Jesus redeemed after he many life-threatening encounters while living what some call, “that street life.” So we talked about what was behind the music.
What led you down that negative path? How were you able to connect with God and know that he needed to be that force in your life?
“Well, what led me down that path was I was going to school and I got good grades just like all the other kids, but I found myself having interest in the finer things in life. Even though my mother worked really hard and got us the things that we needed ,and took good care of us, I started wanting more of what I was seeing, things like name-brand clothes and stuff like that. I was looking at it as being cool. The neighborhood I grew up in wasn’t a bad neighborhood, as I traveled and go through certain spots, I ran into my cousins on that journey and they were already in that place; selling drugs. So, I found interest in what they were doing because they always had new clothes; they had jewelry; they had money; they had the good girls and stuff like that. As a teenager you only see one side of that. That’s what basically drew my attention to that fast life of selling drugs; things that I wanted. I wanted to get my own shoes and clothes and girls and stuff like that, so I thought the fast life was going to bring me all of that.”
How did you encounter the Lord in prison?
“God has his way of working on people’s hearts and when you get to prison you don’t have much to do. You can’t do the things that you normally used to do on the streets. All you can do is sit in your cell and write and most of the time when you are writing you’re sending letters to people who probably won’t respond. Once you get behind those walls, its like you’re dead, like you’re not even living any more. You become lonely and start learning how to survive ;it’s an environment that you’re not normally used to. I found myself picking up the Bible and reading the Bible and became closer to God and he was just working on my heart. I was reading the Bible and he was ministering to me to open my eyes; give me these songs. The more I read and the more I communicated with him, the closer I got to him, so that’s how I had an encounter with God.”
Who produced your CD and how can folks get their hands on it?
“My best friend, Musik Drama produced the music. I write the songs and get on the mike. To get my music, people can place an order( 843-439-7828) and I’ll send it to them. I have sent music to several countries, including the Philippines; some of everywhere. I am working on getting on iTunes because it’s at the point where its exploding; lot of really want it right now.”
Edwin Covington found his way to the right path and like a wise sage, has some sound advice for others, especially young people who have dreams, but are going about it the wrong way.
“I would tell them that if you’ve going to do something in life, if you want to do something in life, its best to get it right the first time. Do the right the first time because you know it’s rough out there in the streets, all those drugs or whatever and for those that are out there on the drug like that: there is a way out! The only way out is through Jesus Christ because he did it for me. I can only speak from experience. I mean what he did for me. I’m a witness. He did it for me so I know that he could do it for them. He could bring them out of any storm, any addiction, any rough situation they are going through if they would open their heart, he can turn that thing around for them because I’m a witness.”
Check out the video that so many have fallen in love with.