BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Grammy Awards brings out the who’s who in performers and presenters, and this year, Maryland’s own JJ Hairston and his choir, Youthful Praise, are among the nominees.

The melody for their Grammy-nominated song, “You Deserve It,” is simple — and the message is powerful.

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“What we do for our Father, we do for God is because of what he deserves,” Hairston said.

The gospel song became the unofficial gospel anthem of 2017. On music’s biggest night, it may get the official title. The song is nominated for the Best Gospel Performance/Song.

“It was amazing that one of my closest friends told me. And, of course, I called my wife and said ‘Can you believe this?’ And here we are,” Hairston said.

JJ and Trina Hairston invited WJZ to their Maryland home, before heading to New York for the award show.

“It is rewarding in and of itself to see something that someone worked so hard for being recognized,” Trina Hairston said.

“You Deserve It” climbed four different Billboard charts.

Hairston has been honored before, by the Stellar Gospel Awards. This is his first nod from the Recording Academy.

His love for Trina may have started it all.

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“I just wanted to get with a girl in the choir, which happens to be her. I joined the choir to get closer to her,” he said.

The Hairstons will be in their Sunday best to walk the red carpet.

“We not going to be churchy. We’re not going to have hats and church outfits,” Trina said.

The competition is fierce, but faith is what gospel is all about.

[Reporter: If you do win, where are you putting the Grammy?]

“There’s a space in the family room. There’s a high mantle. When you walk in, that’s the first thing you see. I’m gonna put it right there,” Hairston said laughing.

There’s also a Spanish version of the song, and WJZ’s Amy Yensi has been told it’s already being sung in churches throughout Latin America.

The Hairstons also have a marriage and relationship advice book called “Amazing Love,”
and will be going on tour this year.

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