The true sense of an artist can be conveyed through the medium that they choose. All things being perfect, most artists regardless of medium have some type of message they want to share with the world in a unique way that will touch hearts and minds while they remain true to who they are. Many aim for this ideal, some succeed; however, some get lost in the spotlight and the message is left by the wayside in the pursuit of fame and fortune. Hundreds and thousands of artists are entering into this pool of activity everyday.
Every once in a while there is an artist who is able to reach the masses with an honest and open perspective that blurs the lines of separation. Jonathan McReynolds is this artist. His sophomore project Life Music: Stage Two, is currently No. 1 on Amazon, is an example of what can be accomplished with a set and focused goal to touch hearts and minds. We spoke with McReynolds at his birthday bash/release party in Chicago recently. We touched on who he is as an artist and what he is looking to accomplish.
Tell us a little about who you are.
My name is Jonathan McReynolds; I’m a 26-year-old Christian artist. I love to make music that pushes boundaries of genre. I’ve been influenced by a lot of different genres and listen to a lot of different music. When I write all of that may come out. The thing I pride myself most is my transparent songwriting. If you know my album you know me.
Why do you sing?
I sing because it is the most effective method to get a message across. I didn’t grow up wanting to sing like that but when I started making music, I realized how great music was as a tool to effectively present a message and I’m getting that opportunity to bring that message to the music.
What kinds of doors has this gift opened for you?
It’s been incredible. I’ve been on the road for pretty much 2 or three years straight. I’ve been on some incredible TV spots. BET celebration of gospel, I’ve done the last two Essence Festivals, I’ve been on revolt TV. It’s been incredible to perform on these stages considering that I do Christian music.
What are your thoughts on making the switch to secular music?
I would not make the switch to secular music. First of all the lines aren’t something that I worry too much about anyway. Honestly I am just a Christian period. The way I see life is through a Christian eyes. The way I respond to my own humanity, my own temptations my own ups and downs, my own pressures all of that is through a Christian lens. I can’t help but to write Christian music. I don’t know what other kingdom I would aptly be able to represent.
What has Chicago given you that has added value to your talent?
Chicago is an amazing city particularly for music. You have so many talented people in every church in every lounge. I grew up around great music. This is a great city for music. I grew up playing organ in my church. R Kelly, Kanye, Lupe and Common are all people who have changed the game. I have to credit the Hip Hop community specifically Common who I met the other day for helping me understand how a message can truly be relayed through music. They do it as well as anybody. Why can’t I use the gift of expressing things through music and then actually have a message that is worthwhile. I owe a lot to Chicago for that.
What song would you say defines you?
I don’t know if it defines me per say, it defines the thoughts that I have and the prayers that I pray but the song Maintain with Chante Cann which is the theme of my life and almost the name of the album would be a good one. Sometimes as Christians we think about church as a thing you go to fill up and by the time you get to the middle of the week it’s gone, we even think of career as this moment where you burst on the scene get your little 2 hits and then you are gone. I don’t want my Christian life to be like that. I don’t want to look at God like that I don’t want to look at church like that. I don’t want to look at the music and industry like that. God help me maintain this. Let it not be a flash in the pan, let it be something that lasts. Maintain probably sums it up for me.
How did it feel to know India.Arie is a fan of what you do?
It was incredible; she is someone that I have admired since high school. I went to Whitney Young. I remember trying to play her songs back in the day. This is somebody I always tout her and John Mayer as people that really affected how I thought about music and song writing. It was really incredible to meet her and have her on the album.
What words of encouragement do you have for our readers?
I would say that God has created us all uniquely. When you look at everybody in the bible their lives and their purposes were linked perfectly. Moses was only able to do what he did because of the weird childhood that he had. David was only able to do what he did because of the strange childhood that he had. The reason that I have been able to do what I do is because of the quirky and blunt person that I am. The fact that I grew up around black folks and white folks, in the ghetto and the suburbs has made my music relatable to all those different types of people. It’s made it effective in a lot of different places because I’ve been able by the grace of God to make life make sense when it comes to this music thing. Instead of trying to be somebody else or trying to do something that you can’t do look at what God has done for you already, look at what he has written your life story as already and see what the next chapter is naturally, not something contrived, but something that’s natural.
To learn more about Jonathan McReynolds and purchase his latest release Life Music: Stage Two
Visit his website. http://www.jonathanmcreynolds.com