On an unusually humid night in September, I had the rare privilege of attending a listening party for Jonathan Nelson’s new album entitled Declarations. A small group of music industry insiders which included recording, radio and promotional executives were treated to twelve new musical gems by the prolific singer, writer and producer. But in addition, we were able to get a peek into the mind of the man that has given contemporary gospel music some of its most memorable anthems.
Quincy Jones once said that “melody is the voice of God” and if that assertion is true, Jonathan Nelson certainly has his ear and heart attuned to the mouth of God. One listen to songs like the infectious “I Agree” featuring Gene Hoskins” “Jesus I Love You” the modern spin on the Milton Brunson & Thompson Community Choir’s – (I Am Free) “Redeemed” the anthemic chants of “Our God (Medley)” or my personal favorite featuring one of our Brooklyn N.Y. songbirds Anaysha Figueroa – Cooper “Jesus You Are Lord” it is evident that while Jonathan has a project on his hands worthy of commercial success, the true beneficiaries of these powerful songs will be the praise and worship ministries in local assemblies around the world.
One of the highlights of the evening was hearing Jonathan Nelson give kudos to his mentors and influences like Donald Lawrence who gave him his first opportunity as a writer on a major project. It was Donald Lawrence’s – I Speak Life album with a song penned by Jonathan Nelson “I Am Healed” that introduced Jonathan to the world. That song was also a declaration, a formal explicit statement or announcement that should remind each of us as we sing, dance and praise along we are also making “Declarations.” Speaking those things that are not as though they were.