Arlington, VA

SOJA, a reggae group founded by a group of Arlington natives, made their national television debut Monday night on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The band performed “Gone Today,” from their new album Strength to Survive, which is currently #1 and #2 respectively on the Billboard and iTunes reggae charts. The album was released on ATO, the record label co-founded by Dave Matthews, with whom the band has toured.

(The video, above, is queued up to the beginning of the performance.)

Also known as Soldiers of Jah Army, SOJA came from humble local beginnings. The band was founded by two best friends, Jacob Hemphill and Bobby Lee, who started performing together as middle school students in Arlington. After picking up three other bandmates in high school, SOJA was formed and began performing around the D.C. area. Following graduation, the band began touring and their success has been growing ever since.

“Over the course of the past few years, SOJA has sold more than 150,000 albums, headlined large theaters in more than 15 countries around the world, generated over 20 million+ YouTube views, amassed more than a half-million Facebook fans, and attracted an almost Grateful Dead-like international fanbase that grows with each tour, with caravans of diehards following them from city to city,” the band’s website says. “Most impressive of all, they’ve accomplished all this on their own.”

SOJA is currently on tour and will be performing for two nights at the 9:30 Club in D.C. in May. One of the nights, Saturday, May 19, will feature ?uestlove, of The Roots and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon fame, as a special guest artist. SOJA will also be performing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee in June.

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