Yes, “Glory” is a traditional hymn. I’m sure it has been sung numerous times by singers renowned and unknown. I know it is most commonly associated with opera diva Kathleen Battle. However, the only version I care to know (and which I discovered almost by accident) was recorded by pop ‘n b singer JoJo in 2014. And yes, that is the same JoJo who had a bunch of teeny bop hits in the early oughts and co-starred in the movie RV with (the late and much missed) Robin Williams.
JoJo’s version of “Glory” is culled from a “mixtape” called LoveJo. It was never commercially released. I can’t even remember where I came to obtain this collection of songs. I must’ve been at home perusing either music blogs or Twitter when I became aware of its existence. JoJo, having been stuck in label purgatory for much of her late teens and early twenties, was celebrating her independence (and her signing to Atlantic Records) by releasing an EP comprised of cover versions of songs by Atlantic artists (and another song from this collection will appear much later on this list, so I’ll reserve further comment on the EP until then.)
I’m not a religious fellow. I’ll probably talk more about that in a later post, though. But you don’t have to believe in God to understand what beautiful singing is. And if anyone was ever in doubt of the pipes this young lady is in possession of, one listen to this will confirm that JoJo is, indeed, the real deal. Much less Mandy Moore (no disrespect to Mandy) and much more Teena Marie.
This is a stunning, knock-down vocal performance that leaves me floored every single time I hear it. If it doesn’t move you, I don’t know where your soul is, homie.