With a glance at 28-year-old Blake Bolerjack’s family tree, it’d be easy to assume that his decision to become a solo gospel singer was a no-brainer. But for those who know his story, what he’s chosen to do with his life is not only unexpected, it’s downright miraculous.
Throughout his teenage years, Bolerjack was plagued with depression and anxiety attacks. Sad memories from his childhood and feelings of betrayal weighed heavily on him. To escape those feelings, Bolerjack found himself doing whatever it took to make sure everyone liked him. “It was a very low point of my life. I grew up with a certain expectation of myself,” he says.
In the midst of his junior year of high school, Bolerjack was taken out of school and hospitalized for the depression and anxiety that was making him suicidal. “It was the best and worst experience of my life,” he recalls. “I actually attempted to take my own life. But the next morning, I learned that my grandmother had been praying for me at that exact time, and someone walked in on me and saved me.”
“I think a lot of us get distracted along the way and start to believe lies. I’d based my life on things that weren’t relevant, that weren’t true to God, but I didn’t realize that until the moment after I attempted suicide. I just broke down and cried, and I think for the first time I really understood at a deeper level that God loved me — even with all the messed up things that had happened to me. That realization changed my life. From then on, I could base my self worth off of what God says my worth is. I came to a turning point when I figured, ‘If God can love me the way I am now, that’s worth something.’ The next morning, when I was in my counseling session, I got on my knees and rededicated my life to Jesus. It changed my life,” he says.
Before his transformation, Bolerjack was reluctant to tell people that he wanted to sing because he feared they would say it wasn’t practical – now he’s ready to shout it out.
Bolerjack grew up listening to his dad’s old gospel records, stuff like The Stamps Quartet, The Imperials, The Blackwood Brothers and The Cathedrals. Bolerjack always wanted to pursue music, and one of the reasons he gravitated toward gospel was because it was enriching for him. “It was just very positive and uplifting music,” he explains, “and when I was going through times of depression, it had a positive impact and helped to cheer me up.
Bolerjack started traveling with The Continentals soon after his near-death experience, and he began sharing his testimony all over the country. He has had the opportunity to meet countless hurting individuals and encourage them to start basing their self worth on how God views them.
Bolerjack met his wife, Jenna, at Oklahoma Baptist University. They married shortly after his 2005 graduation, approximately the same time he went solo with his singing career. He’s grateful that his wife often accompanies him on his travels around the country, sometimes sacrificing every weekend of the month to attend his shows. “She supports me 100 percent,” says Bolerjack, “It’s been a real blessing when she’s with me. When she’s not with me, I’m kind of like a lost dog.”
Bolerjack has released two CDs: his 2006 self-titled debut and 2007’s “Somebody Cares.” He heard himself on the radio for the first time this year with the single “Somebody Cares,” which made the Singing News Charts. His second single, “A Little Jubilee,” recently began receiving radio play as well, and another CD is in the works.
“It’s been amazing to see what has gone on in the last three years,” he says, “I’ve been able to share God’s music and my testimony and help others who have struggled with depression. To take what I’ve been through and make it into something that they can latch onto for hope – it’s been a big blessing to be a part of that.”
For more information about Bolerjack’s music, or to contact Blake personally, visit www.blakebolerjack.com.