University of Mobile Viral Video Asks ‘Do You Wanna Be Happy?’

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MOBILE, Ala. – A video of the University of Mobile vocal group Voices of Mobile performing the 2015 hit “Wanna Be Happy?” has nearly 6 million views since it was performed Oct. 15 at Abilene Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia.

Among those sharing the peppy inspirational “how to” song was its author, Kirk Franklin. The video got another boost when actor Morris Chestnut shared it with his 4.9 million Facebook followers.

Tyler Allen, the 20-year-old sophomore from Mobile whose rhythm-and-blues lead vocals bring an emotional charge to the gospel song, said it’s obvious why it is striking a chord.

“I think what people are looking for now is something to cling to, something to give them hope. If you listen to the words, this song gives you the steps for how to be happy; it breaks it down for you. Jesus is the start to true happiness, by giving yourself to Him and letting Him take control of your life,” Allen said.

The 16-member Voices of Mobile is one of 19 ensembles in the Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile. During the 2017-2018 academic year, they will perform about 150 concerts at churches, schools, civic and community events across the nation. They are well-received everywhere they go – their rendition of Franklin’s “My World Needs You” at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast Nov. 7 in Mobile brought the audience to its feet.

But being a member of Voices isn’t just about the music, according to Roger Breland, a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame who started the group in 2003 and currently is executive director of the Roger Breland Center for Performing Arts in the Alabama School of the Arts.

“Our mission is to present the gospel with excellence, to honor Him with our lives and praise Him with our voices. I want our students to be musicians second, and committed Christians first,” said Breland.

View the video at


About University of Mobile:
University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in over 40 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres. For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist with a strong background in strategic communications, feature writing/story-telling, copywriting and editing. She serves as assistant vice president for university communications. Kathy joined the University of Mobile marketing/public relations staff in 1993 and has earned awards for writing, public relations and advertising, including twice receiving the grand prize for feature writing from the Baptist Communicators Association. She serves on the board of the John M. Will Scholarship Foundation, awarding scholarships to promising student journalists; and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.

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