Can I say Happy spring everyone or would I be speaking too soon? Spring and Fall are my two favorite seasons. As we all know, living in the Midwest we could possibly experience all four seasons in a month. If you could only see how hard I am laughing at myself. Whenever Spring truly happens, I will be thankful. Now for music news.
April New Releases
Hillsong Worship – There Is More – Hillsong – Capitol
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – I Am Reminded (Live) – Provident
Jason Crabb – Unexpected – Daywind Records – New Day
Sanctus Real – Changed – Framework Records
Maranda Curtis – Open Heaven – Fair Trade Services – Provident
Bright Ones – Bright Ones – Bethel Music – New Day
Jonathan McReynolds – Make Room
What was born in his dorm room in the presence of a few friends has graduated to Christian music’s biggest stage picking up fans like Stevie Wonder, Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Franklin, Cece Winans, Nicky Minaj and Tori Kelly along the way. And Jonathan McReynolds, now 27, did it with an incredible voice and a beautifully honest approach to songwriting.
His latest full-length album–Life Music: Stage Two–features another superstar fan in India Arie Simpson (known as India.Arie) and remained #1 on the Billboard Gospel chart for 4 weeks. It then went on to grab a Grammy nomination, multiple Stellar nominations and a Dove Award win. He brought on yet another popular talent, Tweet, on his latest EP “Sessions.”
This unannounced, surprise release reached the top of the iTunes Christian chart in one night. According to the Chicago native, Life Music is everything he’s truly about. “My albums are about being authentic and genuine, pure and transparent. That’s who I try to be as a person,” he says. “I’m direct, I’m blunt. I’m not a fan of church clichés and ‘Christian-ese’. Life Music is concerned with showing others and reminding myself how the Faith doesn’t just fit every part of life, but should frame every part of life.”
In May 2015, McReynolds attained his Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies from Moody Theological Seminary. His contribution to society outside of music is important to him as well. With that, he is an adjunct instructor at his alma mater Columbia College, an official contributor to Huffington Post and the founder of Elihu Nation, a nonprofit organization that promotes wisdom and recently awarded $9,000 in scholarships.
His appeal stretches across generational, cultural, and musical lines. It is shown in the buzzworthy performances that have marked his last four years including BET Celebration of Gospel with India.Arie, Essence Fest (2014, 2015), 106 & Park, Stellar Awards (2014, 2015), Joyful Noise, Revolt TV Live, and the Dove Awards. In addition to headlining monster shows as far as Oslo, London, and Port-of-Spain, Jonathan has toured with India Arie and Lalah Hathaway. Last May, McReynolds recorded his first live album “Make Room,” which was released March 9, 2018. It features his single “Not Lucky, I’m Loved” which, in October 2017, was his first Billboard #1 single.
Jordan Feliz – Future
Following widespread acclaim for his first album The River, Jordan Feliz began the journey of recording a new one. But the process didn’t begin how he expected or hoped.
He was on tour, trying to write for the album, but experiencing panic attacks. He found himself unable to connect with the songs he’d been working on. “My head wasn’t in the right spot. My heart wasn’t either. It was more focused on appeasing people. It was listening to myself and not to God.” Then back home with friends and co-writers Paul Duncan and Colby Wedgeworth, he marched not around the fear, but through it and on the other side was solid ground he says.
“I said ‘What if I just can’t do it?’ but then Paul says to me ‘Look man, there’s no pressure. Everything in your future has already been plotted by Jesus. He has paved every step of the way for you, in a way to have favor on your life. Our future is not wound up in our success, but in the inheritance of God.’”
With those words, something clicked for Jordan. He took a breath. He let go. He remembered that his future is held by the strong, kind hands of the Father.
“A fire was set in me to write a song about freedom. A song we can sing to be stoked that every single day there’s a God that loves us, never ceases, and never fails.”
That day they wrote “Witness,” which would go on to be Feliz’s first single for Future.
It took only 45 minutes.
“And that’s when the record started. This record is just chock-full of story. Every single song,” Feliz says. “It’s kind of me taking a piece of my life, my heart, my beliefs, and my trust in God and just giving them to people. And hopefully they’ll hold onto the message and learn to trust God even more through it.”
He wrote most of the album on the road with a hectic tour schedule and only eight other writers. Feliz was surprised to find that he loved this unorthodox writing process, saying it allowed for him and co-writers to spend more time simply experiencing life together, then reflect on it through creating music. Gone was the pressure to sit in a room and crank out a hit song. The result: more authentic songs that come from inspiration found in everyday life. Songs the musicians poured themselves into— including one of Jordan’s favorites, “Faith,” which came about from a middle-of-the-night writing session.
And as Feliz and his team were wrapping up, something incredible happened for an album that began from a place of insecurity. When it came time to make the final song decisions, typically a stressful and challenging process, Jordan felt an unexpected peace. “These songs were gifted to me by the Lord.”