Jonathan Nelson is free from fear. He is brave and he is bold. As a father, husband, brother, son of a preacher, minister, worship leader and artist/producer, for all that he swiftly embraces with grace, it is no wonder that his fifth and latest release is entitled FEARLESS. For his Light Records/Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) debut, Jonathan set the tone in an audacious way with a live recording at his home church in Sunrise, Florida, The Faith Center, a self-described “melting pot of sound.” FEARLESS is anchored in the call and response of praise and worship, alongside the participatory style of audience inclusion. Through the God-inspired songs of hope, inspiration, and strength, Jonathan is confident his listeners will receive the music by “embracing the messages, melodies and songs. Activate the lyrics and expect God to change their situation.”
The multiple Stellar Award winner and Dove Award-nominated artist’s calling for music and passion to serve, has expanded over the years. Inspired by mentor and friend Donald Lawrence to develop his sound further and push the boundaries of gospel music, Jonathan’s gift made room for him. The Baltimore native, with family roots steeped in ministry, strongly stands on the foundation that that journey is to be embraced and enjoyed. “There is something to learn each and every day. If you don’t enjoy it, you will have missed the moments that you should have enjoyed. I live in the day. Tomorrow will take care of itself. I am enjoying the journey through faith and the inspiration of music. Here, I encourage myself as I encourage others.”
It is through Jonathan’s own lens of openness, honesty, and acceptance without fear that he was able to access the vision for his future, but it took a small nudge from a friend in faith in order for him to pinpoint exactly what to call it. That nudge led Jonathan to embrace the forthcoming shift in his life that was revealed to him in prayer. Acknowledging this next place was “a great place of trusting, belief, great faith with no fear,” Jonathan was on his next journey and assignment in life and in music.
The first single from FEARLESS, a refreshing, contemporary-Christian sound titled “Anything Can Happen,” ushers in what Jonathan describes as “easy-listening and prophetic.” Co-written by Shamond Scales, upon initially hearing, the gifted songwriter immediately felt connected to the melody and began to pour out. The first verse clearly identifies the simplicity and magnitude of the possibilities stating, “and because God is near, anything can happen in here.” As Proverbs 18:21 identifies, “the tongue has the power of life and death,” and Jonathan firmly believes that if people can “confess, believe and receive” what they speak and do so with faith, they have the power to move mountains in their own lives. They simply must believe because without faith it is impossible to please God.
Throughout FEARLESS, Jonathan’s reverence for the Lord is amplified as he is joined by friends and family during his live recording experience, truly making it something memorable. The title track “Fearless” featuring Da’ T.R.U.T.H. was one of the last songs he and longtime co-writer/producer Kenneth Shelton, recorded. Under a three month deadline to complete the recording of the album, the ease at which the lyrics and song came together, further delivered on the adage that fear and faith cannot exist in the same space. African musician Sonnie Badu cries out with Jonathan in reverence on “Ba Ba OH” with its deliberate and impactful piano strums in honor of its literal translation, “Father.”
It remains a family affair when Jonathan’s twin brother Jason lends himself on the captivating “Everything You Are (Jesus Chant).” The magnitude of the guitars and piano feel as big as the surrendering taking place with the lyrics – “You’re my sun, my moon, my stars; Everything, You are; Lord, I praise You, celebrate You; For just being God.” There’s something to be said for sitting back and admiring God for His craftsmanship, especially when it reflects how thankful you are. And this song is a stirring example of the beauty and power of the Almighty. “I Believe (Island Medley)” and “My Hope” round out Jonathan’s top three songs that represent and embody the essence of encouragement he is offering to the world through this recording. “People are afraid to take that first step of faith to believe. God is saying don’t be afraid, and these songs, are my response to Him.”
With FEARLESS, Jonathan is clear what he desires for listeners to receive. “I pray people to be healed of whatever is ailing them. I want them to be empowered (to seek Him for themselves), to be encouraged (in whatever situation they are in) and be inspired (to believe).” As the husband of seventeen years to Christina and father to his son and daughter, Jonathan Nelson desires to deliver a legacy of music and ministry that cross generations with FEARLESS. In providing ministry through song, the foundation for the future will be anchored in faith. And Jonathan wouldn’t have it any other way.