Gospel star Joanna Hale-McGill gives back to Picayune

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2017

Before she won Walmart’s Next Gospel Superstar in 2015, Joanna Hale-McGill found her musical inspiration while growing up in Picayune. Friday, she decided to give back to the city by performing live and shooting her first music video in Snyder Park, across the street from South Side Elementary where she went to school.
“Picayune opened my eyes to a lot of things. Being in New Orleans in the city life and then coming to the country and experiencing different cultures and people showed me how warm and welcoming people can be in a small town. As I go out in the world, I try to take that kindness and reciprocate it to others,” McGill said, who moved to Picayune when she was 8-years-old.
McGill worked for years to get where she is today, and is adventuring into a new type of Gospel music, called Gospel second line songs, a genre in which she believes to be a pioneer.
“It’s not your traditional Gospel music. It is contemporary, but every song has a meaning to it. If people were to really listen to the lyrics I promise it will bless their lives,” she said.
Since leaving Picayune, which McGill said was not an easy move to make, she said she is determined to get “Picayune on the map.”
Her first music video, for the song “Cast Your Cares Away,” was filmed at Snyder Park.
“I wanted to come back to Picayune to bring a little bit of New Orleans Jazz back to the city. They’ve never experienced anything like this so I just wanted to bring a little bit of flavor to this little town, which everyone is going to know a lot about really soon once the video hits,” McGill said.
From Stellar to Grammy Awards, McGill has her eyes set on visiting every city and town that positively affected her life and led her down the path she is on today.
“The Lord has called upon me to give back to those communities and so that’s what I am doing right now,” she said.
McGill is currently working on her first project that should be released soon. She said it has been an awesome experience going through this journey with her crew and is excited to visit and show love to the city that helped her become who she is today.

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