Sometimes the internet acts like a lottery. After five years of posting videos to YouTube, Joseph Solomon built up a sizable following. Then one of his videos, a cover of Bill Withers’ Just The Two Of Us, went viral and suddenly his audience numbers skyrocketed, taking Solomon by surprise. At 10m views, the video remains his most popular.
Solomon captures his surprise in a comment under the video: “Crazy to think this blew up like this!?” He says he recorded several tracks in a session, Just The of Us being the last. “It felt good to sing it, it wasn’t planned. I just did it because I felt like singing it not because I thought it would get a lot of views. Totally didn’t expect this”.
Caleb G’s comment vividly captures the tenor of the responses to Solomon’s breakout video: “His voice is like melted caramel ice cream on a sundae. The tone is immaculate.” Another commentator mentions the “angelic raspiness” of his voice. Unsurprisingly, the success of Just The of Us, which Solomon describes as one of his favourite songs by Bill Withers, had a knock-on effect. He now has Rihanna and Amy Winehouse covers with 3.2m views, and his cover of Frank Ocean’s Thinkin Bout You has 4.1m
Joseph Solomon grew up near Fort Hood Texas. The son of a church elder father; his mother played piano in church. In 2009, in his early 20s, Solomon started teaching himself to play guitar with the assistance of instructional YouTube videos. This is when he first started singing. As he improved, he posted performances online. Pretty soon he had bigger ideas and started the ChaseGodTV channel as an outlet for his songs, his poetry, and his faith. Here is his 2nd most popular video on YouTube:
ChaseGodTV, which Solomon started from his Houston flat, included Solomon’s spoken reflections on Christianity. As his reputation grew in Christian circles, Solomon found himself in demand as a public speaker. He started touring the US with appearances that combined talks on Christian doctrine, poetry, and music. His particular focus was the difficulties faced by youth and young adult Christians. When he moved to Chicago, Solomon started assisting with the GRIP Outreach for Youth charity, which mentored Chicago’s fatherless teens.
In 2021 Joseph Solomon surprised his Christian followers by tweeting that he was no longer a Christian. In later posts and in interviews, Solomon explained that he had become conflicted by the idea of God being wrathful. His doubts came to a head during the pandemic. They were also a consequence of his reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement. Solomon found himself questioning whether “goodness and justice” are possible without wrath. He concluded that the notion of a wrathful God, which to Solomon is a key tenant of Christian doctrine, gets in the way of conceiving of authority structures and justice processes that do not rely on violence. Even so, Solomon has emphasised that he is not an atheist, rather he is on a quest to discover and explore spiritual beliefs congruent with his values.
Needless to mention, Joseph Solomon’s crisis of faith is a personal matter, and it in no way impedes our ability to appreciate his popular music covers. With a voice like his, his popularity can only grow. If you would like to see more from Joseph Solomon, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook.