Since the age of three, Bernard McKenzie Jr. has lived, breathed, and dreamt music. He began his musical career at the young age of three, singing simple melodies and humming commercial tunes. From that age, he began to sing in his father’s church choir. This allowed BJ the opportunity to break away from his shy and timid ways and crafted him in to the vocal sensation he is today. He continues to sing in his church choir every Sunday and is currently the presiding president. BJ has also had multiple roles in various musical productions under the mentorship of Runako Jahi at the ETA Theater, starred in the stage play “The Great Nitty Gritty” under the leadership of the late world renowned Oscar Brown Jr and had a starring role in Darryl Pandy’s (House Music Legend) stage play entitled “I’m Going In”.
Over the years he was enhanced vocally by joining a few community choirs such as Joshua ‘s Troop, Dr. Alfred Wheeler & Bless Music Ministry, Paul Turner & CMI, and also recorded with Gorham United Methodist Church, where he sang lead on their album entitled “Praise Ringing”. He also sang for many community events that included nursing homes during the Christmas season for the late Albertina Walker. He even sung background for Hip-Hop legend MC Lite and his mentor Darrell Daniels.
This was only the beginning for BJ and his musical career. At the age of 18, God implanted in him a vision that came in the form of his own music ministry, Bernard Jr. and Anchored. This ministry opened doors for BJ; while under his leadership and servitude, he and the ministry opened up for DeWayne Woods (“Let Go, Let God,” “Friend of Mine”) at Iowa Gospel Fest; sang background for Barbra Streisand on her tour stop in Chicago, Illinois; the ministry also recorded their very first single entitled “Rescue Me” which released in April 2013 and landed #1 on the Norway Gospel Music Charts upon being released and can still be purchased on all digital music stores. Later that year, Bernard Jr. and Anchored were chosen to be one of the Chicago Regional Finalists for Verizon Wireless’ How Sweet the Sound and went on to minister their rendition of “Ride on King Jesus.” The ministry also became nominees for various awards hosted by various independent gospel labels and organizations. In October 2013, BJ and the ministry won the ZETA Gospel Music Award for Choir of the Year.
In November 2013, BJ and his administrative team shortly discovered that the ministry was nominated in five (5) categories for the 2014 Rhythm of Gospel Awards. Seeking the thirst to gain more knowledge about his industry and craft, BJ went further and began to attend different seminars and conferences hosted by various celebrities and individuals. In December 2013, BJ journeyed to Los Angeles, California to sing and be critiqued by a celebrity panel that included Dr. Dorinda Clark-Cole & Jacky Clark (sisters and members of the pioneering gospel group The Clark Sisters), Tina Campbell (of the group Mary Mary), Teddy Campbell (Tina Campbell’s husband and famous drummer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno), and Tonex (national gospel recording artist).
Taking all of their critiques and criticisms to make the best of him, that exact same day, BJ was notified that he and his ministry were going to be on Dr. Bobby Jones television show on The Impact Network called “Dr. Bobby Jones Presents.” This event granted simply by God’s unmerited favor and grace opened many doors of opportunity for BJ and has granted him the opportunity to build fan bases outside of Chicago with connections in various states.
In the second quarter of 2014, BJ and his ministry went on to minister along with several other dynamic groups in a Rhythm of Gospel Awards showcase (The Road to the Rhythm of Gospel), held in Detroit, Michigan where he was able to meet and greet upper level coordinators and even the CEO of the awards organization; he was also granted the opportunity to meet Evangelist Lillian Lloyd (Lead Singer of Ricky Dillard & New Generation).
In April 2014, God simply whispered a small phrase in BJ’s ear that said “It is your time,” and with this revelation, BJ proceeded to begin working on his solo project that was recorded live entitled “#Born2Win” on Saturday, September 27, 2014. While in the production stage of his album, BJ decided to begin taking classes to expand his theological wisdom and in May of 2015, just almost a year later, Bernard “BJ” McKenzie completed classes at the Christian Leadership Institute and received his License to Preach. Shortly after, in June of 2015, BJ had the privilege to sing background for the legendary Karen Clark Sheard for the American Heart Association Health Fair. BJ celebrated another milestone on Sunday, September 6, 2015 by being elevated as an Ordained Minister by the Christian Leaders Institute.
Following his ordination service conducted by his father, Bishop Dr. Bernard McKenzie Sr., BJ began to grow even deeper into his calling. Preceding his ordination, he went into the studio and laid vocals for his single, “Born 2 Win” and on February 4, it was completed. Born 2 Win was written by Bernard BJ McKenzie and is a song to bless the nations and to inform anyone that no matter what war they are facing, they are “Born 2 Win.”
Rev. BJ McKenzie strives to encourage, and uplifts God people in any way possible. Whether it’s singing, preaching, or prophesying, his anointing speaks volumes. Introducing to some and presenting to others: Rev. Bernard “B.J.” McKenzie-Anointed and Appointed for Such a Time as This!