Jovonta Patton is a Minneapolis-based chart-topping singer, composer, entrepreneur, radio program host, and founder/director of the 100-plus-member Deliverance for Youth choir and savvy backing band centered in the Twin Cities. Its members range in age from 14 to 21. Possessed of a reedy baritone reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s, Patton’s singing voice, while firmly rooted in the modern gospel tradition, is readily accessible, offering an edifying approach he calls “pop-gospel” which proved successful on his self-released debut album, 2016′s Finally Living — topped the music industry’s Gospel charts. In addition to his musical work, Patton is a savvy marketer. In 2018, he issued the independent single “Way Maker” to the internet during Super Bowl week; promoting it exclusively through social media, it topped the Digital Gospel Songs chart.
Patton was born and raised in Minneapolis. He started singing at age four in his Berean M.B. Church and began writing songs at six. By the time he was in middle school he was directing the church choir. By high school, Patton was singing at local events all over the Twin Cities.
He joined his first professional choir, the Stella Award-nominated Nu Friends Community Choir, in 2006 under the direction of James Grear. A year later, influenced by Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, and Destiny's Child, and in response to an uptick in gang-related violence in Minneapolis, Patton formed the community choir and organization Deliverance for Youth, better known as DFY. He directed the group, originally approximately 25 youths under the age of 21, from different socio-economic backgrounds with the purpose of E.A.S.Y (Empowering and Saving Youth). DFY released the album There Is D.F.Y. (Live) in 2011 with several original songs penned by Patton. He established a reputation for his service and community work to residents, particularly the families and friends of those impacted by gang and gun violence.
DFY’s success continued: They worked with rock band Foreigner and gospel music veterans such as Kim McFarland and Erron Williams, among others. As the choir members matured, Patton formed The DFY Summer Program, allowing youth of all backgrounds, ages 5 to 26, to participate with the choir, and to guest on his first solo live CD recording titled I Am…A Winner in 2012: Over 100 youths participated. The project included guest appearances by Sheri Jones-Moffett (vocalist Lawrence’s Encourage Yourself) and his worship leader, Bishop Richard D. Howell (Shiloh Temple International Ministries). In 2016, Patton and DFY recorded the studio debut Finally Living. Not having a radio strategy at the time, he sold copies after church services on Sunday and moved 1,500 copies the first week. After marketing the album on the internet, it eventually topped the Gospel charts in August of 2016, displacing the compilation WOW Gospel 2016 in the process. It also landed at 12 on the Christian & Gospel Albums sales chart and at 21 on the Independent Albums chart. That success translated into local stardom and regional attention and Patton turned it all back in leading the choir organization, even as his own reputation spread. Two years later, he followed with The Best Me, which also topped the Gospel charts. He began hosting the radio show Morning Praise with Jovonta. In August of 2019, Patton released the digital-only EP Sanctuary, resulting in his third number after three tries, as it topped the Gospel charts. ~ Thom Jurek