Gospel recording artist Jonathan McReynolds' music is awe-inspiring, and music listeners are eating it up! The Chicago native pours his heart and soul into his art as he strives to be frank, transparent, and open with his fans.
McReynolds introduced his formidable talent two years ago when he released his debut album, Life Music, which earned him commercial success. The album was number three on the Billboard Gospel Charts, it landed a nomination for a Dove award, and he performed on several awards shows, including BET Celebration of Gospel and The Stellar Awards. But McReynolds is just getting started; he is finishing the final touches to his sophomore album, which is slated for release on September 2015.
He describes the transition from the first to the second album as,"I've gotten a little more notoriety and with that came more responsibility, and certainly a lot more critics. My new songs are going to sound a bit different in this stage of life because what I need God for and what I lean on God for has changed."
McReynolds also has a mobile app in his name where fans can receive notification about his latest events, music, and other extracurricular activities.
McReynolds took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Singersroom about the music industry, sophomore album, Stellar Awards, relationship with God, and more.
Performing at the 30th Anniversary Stellar Awards: It was awesome. Stellar Awards demonstrates the best in gospel music and me being a part of that was incredible. The show was in Vegas for the first time, and it was the 30th anniversary; it was just a different atmosphere. I just appreciated it, and I got to perform on stage.
Debut Album, Life Music: I wasn't really anticipating for it to be an album; I was back in school making music just for fun, just for friends and family to hear. I didn't have any big ambitions for it to be an album until I was signed. I would just write and sing the things I was going through at the time or the conversations I had with my friends and it would just turn into a song.
The Title Life Music: Well, there are a couple of reasons why I named it that. One, the original motivation behind it was I wrote it; I wrote the music. I wrote it based on my life; I talked about things that happened in my life, and music is the biggest creation of our life. Number two, I want people to listen to it and apply it to their own lives. I really wanted to create something that was meant for the Christian life. I hope people listen to it Monday through Saturday, and it will affect their lives. Number three, the truest and biggest motivation behind the album is to inspire people to live a life for Jesus Christ. Those three things and the message behind it explains why it's about life.
Pursuing a Music Career + School: A music career is not always something I dreamed about; I was a musician, a nerd, and I went to school for music. I knew I would have a career in music, but I just didn't think I would be a recording artist. It wasn't too much of a dream or thinking time; I just really had to catch it on a fly.
Status on School: I definitely finished school; I graduated with my Bachelors in 2011, and I am finishing my Masters in May 2015.
Working with Notable Songwriters & Producers for the Second Album: 'Life Music' came out in 2013, and it was pretty much produced by me. For the second album, which is coming out in September 2015, there's an incredible lineup all over the place; PJ Morton, Warryn Campbell, Chuck Harmony, and Claude Kelly; a whole bunch of people and it's going to be an amazing album.
Sophomore Album vs. Debut: Well, the first album was based on the life of a Christian college student, now it's the life of a Christian recording artist, who still in school. People will see an upgrade or a difference in what I write about, what I think, and just how things start to change once you get older. You are going to hear an array of musical styles; there's urban, pop, church; it's just all over the place. That's who I am, and I grew up with a lot of different influences. I wasn't planning to go to any specific field when I was writing the music; it just led to a lot of different stylistic influences, but it's a solid and straightforward album.
Message Behind the Single "Pressure": That song came about after having a conversation with my best friend and that's how I started writing the verse. But it all started with the expectation that she had for herself, the expectations I had for her, and how she may not be meeting those. We face so much external and internal pressure to succeed or fit in as people. You want to stand out in some kind of way, but not too much; there's a lot of different impressions, and I just wanted to incorporate that into the song. But, I think we should all strive to live for God and not for other people.
Continuing to be a Vessel for God: I would have to say be honest and transparent and it will touch people, whether you're in church, at the club or wherever they're going to be, and that's what God told me one day. The same people I'm touching have the same destiny, which is heaven, but for right now, they might be found in places that I wouldn't expect to be at a specific time. My job is to make music that God is giving me to sing, produce, and write and get me into places where I can minister to God's people. They might not know that they are God's people yet, but they're God's people. I have to get in there and show them the honest, true, genuine, loving, caring, challenging, solid, and never-changing God.
Carving a Lane: It's a challenge, but you have to figure out your own lane. Honestly, I don't cater to a specific age group or demographic. I'm just doing what God has called me to do in my style, my way, and all of the ways I can reach or extend to the best way I can. I know I may not reach everybody in the room, but there is somebody who needs to be touched. That's one of the ways you can take the pressure off yourself as an artist; when you start to realize what we do is not for everybody but it's for somebody.
Upcoming Plans: We just released two new singles, "Pressure" and "Gotta Have You," co-written by PJ Morton. "Gotta Have You" was produced by Warryn Campbell and it's a great song. I love it! We have a "Pressure" unplugged video and then we have another music video for "Gotta Have You" coming out this year. So, yes, there's a lot going on but I am excited. The album is coming out in September. Check me out because there's a lot of stuff going on before we even get there, so I am excited.