“I’ve accomplished so much because I’m in God’s will,” national gospel recording artist and St. Louis native Cheneta Jones said.
“And so He’s putting me before people that he has plans for me to meet and to help lead me in what He’s purposed for me to do.”
That wasn’t always the case.
As her debut album Transformed has enjoyed a steady climb up Billboard Gospel charts since it premiered at number 30 on May 22, the chaos that put her on the path to His purpose was a small price to pay.
By 2008 Cheneta Jones had settled into a comfortable existence. She had a stable administrative job and was in a serious relationship. Her lifelong desire to pursue a career in music had faded when she decided that the R&B lifestyle wasn’t something she wanted to be a part of after giving her life to Christ.
She sang at church, but that was the size of it. It wasn’t necessarily the life she saw for herself, but it worked. She was essentially living her backup plan – and it was filled with enough highs and limited lows for her to coast on through.
But God had something else in mind.
“I went through a season of just turmoil. I ended a relationship that was horrible. It was unimaginable,” Jones said.
“I was heartbroken, and I lost my job shortly after that. And so I didn't have any peace or joy … nothing. I felt like, ‘Okay, this is the lowest I've ever been’ and so I had to really just put back faith in God. I thought, ‘Maybe if I'm doing what He called for me to do He's going to make way to open doors’.”
So in 2008, a time for rebuilding for the entire nation, Jones was forced to opt for obedience and faith as opposed to safety and complacency.
“I started singing background, and God just opened doors. He said, ‘I have this waiting for you,’” Jones said.
“My security was gone. But this was what I needed to happen. He said, ‘Trust me and just thank me for what's to come. You always wanted to do music, and now you can do it full time. You don't have to do something else to supplement.’”
And out of that experience came Transformed, a testimony of songs that became her debut album released through Real Talent Media Group.
She wrote 11 of the 12 songs on the CD and describes it as being a diverse reflection of her musical exposure, with traditional and contemporary gospel, pop, R&B and soul.
The national scene instantly took notice – partly because of an aggressive marketing campaign by her label – but mostly because of her crossover appeal and authentic sound.
Jones has opened for gospel stars such as Marvin Sapp, Kim Burrell, Jason Nelson and Kirk Franklin. She was en route to appear on the Dorinda Clark-Cole television show as she talked about her latest album.
All of the success she sought as a singer on the secular scene seems to be coming to pass on the spiritual side. But unlike when she struck out to sing the first time, there is more to her music than her angelic soprano tone laced with soul.
“My ultimate goal is to continue spreading the gospel and being a face for gospel music,” Jones said.
“It doesn’t have to be just to the church but to the people of the world as well. I want to create positivity for this generation. I want to show that you can do what you were purposed to do and live a life that’s pleasing to God – and not compromise – while still reaching and impacting this world.”
As Transformed continues up the charts, more than any accolades she wants the core message of the music to resonate with listeners.
“It’s the whole thing of just humbling yourself and and allowing God to transform you,” Jones said. “It’s a daily process and it takes faith, but I want everyone to know that they can be transformed.”
Cheneta Jones’ debut album “Transformed” is currently available in stores and online through music outlets nationwide. For more information, visit www.chenetajones.com.