From Switzerland to Los Angeles, the prison to the pulpit and beyond, "your music is like a breath of fresh air" is what audiences across the globe are saying of eOne Music recording artist, Jonathan McReynolds, every time he takes the stage. Music Industry Superstars including Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, India Arie, Nicki Minaj, CeCe Winans and more all agree, McReynolds is one to watch! The plea from all who hear him is 'we hope you never change.'

The South Side of Chicago native plans on staying true to who he is. “The three things I ride on are transparency, purity, and genuineness” says McReynolds. That’s what my life has been built on, that’s what my music is about. McReynolds’ 2012 debut release, Life Music, took the industry by storm, shooting to the top of the iTunes Christian and Billboard Gospel Charts at number 1 and number 3, respectively. 

"I was in college when I wrote Life Music. Somehow since then, 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. That’s the progression that people will hear in my new music. My approach to writing music hasn’t changed at all though. I’m very transparent and very particular about my lyrics. To me, it’s all about the message. My new music might even be more transparent than my debut album. I believe in the essence of honesty." 

The singer/songwriter has been able to carry that message far with a whirlwind of high-profile performances and appearances within the last year including: BET’s 106th & Park, BET Music Matters Showcase, BET Celebration of Gospel, The 20th Annual Essence Music Festival, The South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival, The Stellar Awards (April 2015), The BMI Trailblazer Awards, The Inaugural BET Bobby Jones Gospel Christmas Special, and TBN's Praise The Lord, to name a few. McReynolds also hosted and performed at the 2014 Dove Awards Pre-Show.
 
"As an artist, in this stage of my career, I feel the freedom to be broader in my approach to my music, says McReynolds. “With my debut album, I felt like I was painting a portrait with three colors, but now I’ve added some secondary colors, which gives a bit more variety to my sound." 
So what should fans expect? Expect folk, expect pop, expect traditional gospel, expect acoustic, expect it all - a true cross-section of genres. He says, “that’s how I find the people that I’m called to minister to. Many of the folks that connect to my music are people with questions about God and often very little understanding of God. God has been showing me that the people that I’m called to aren't all found in any one 'type of place'."

According to McReynolds, his audience may have similar hearts, similar questions, similar passions, similar hardships or achievements in life, but very different backgrounds. Those backgrounds range from the church to the streets, rural towns to urban cities, black, white, & brown descent, and more. "God has anointed me with the ability to get people to listen attentively. God just loves people that will listen, says McReynolds, “regardless of where they’re found.”

His fans couldn't agree more. Heralding McReynolds as a relatable artist who makes them think about Christianity differently, music lovers worldwide have been touched by his music. Tantamount to that connectivity has been his integration of social media. McReynolds' first EP was a project he created solely for his family as a Christmas gift back in 2009 while still in college. McReynolds posted a few of the tracks to Facebook and unbeknownst to him, a close friend shared the EP with a local pastor and radio host. Before he knew it, his music was being played on one of the city's most prominent morning radio shows, yielding him an invitation to perform at a church where he sold 1,000 CDs in one afternoon. He was signed to Tehillah Music Group/eOne a year later. Though McReynolds attributes Facebook and YouTube to carrying his music farther than he ever could in those early days, he attributes the viral nature of his success to God. "God put my name in the wind and a large part of that wind was social media. Social media sped up the process. We got the message out on our own to thousands of people by word of mouth without ever having a label backing or even an established marketing plan."

Some of McReynolds most loyal listeners still pride themselves on seeing him as gospel music's "best kept secret. “I love that! says McReynolds. “I always want to keep that direct connection to my fans, regardless of where this music takes us; the grass roots approach is what connects us all. It's what connected the nation to President Obama when he first ran. There's a certain appeal and charm that comes along with knowing that major multi-million dollar entities aren't responsible for the success of your favorite public figure, but that everyday people who believe in the work are the ones who get public figures to mainstream platforms."

The word however, is certainly getting out. Flocking to McReynolds for collaborations are some of the music industry’s top songwriters, producers, and singers including: Chuck Harmony & Claude Kelly (Bruno Mars, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige); Warryn Campbell (Musiq Soulchild, Mary Mary, Kelly Price, Kanye West), PJ Morton (Maroon 5, Dewayne Woods, India Arie), India Arie, and others. 
 
Somehow the young artist is still able to keep it all from going to his head. The incredibly humble singer shares, "there's a different pride that you have when you feel like you’ve acquired something on your own versus the attitude you have when you know you acquired something as a gift. I understand that everything I've accomplished has been a gift.  I resist the urge to pat myself on the back too much. That's what keeps you childlike. Children get everything they have from parents. Their pride is in what their parents have done - look what my Mom got me; look what my Dad got me! For Christians, that should be our mindset at all times. Jesus constantly compared the kingdom of God to children. As you get older you feel like you've worked for things but who blessed the work?"

While McReynolds is committed to his craft, he still finds time to do the other things he enjoys - playing basketball, functioning as the organist/drummer/sound man at his home church every chance he gets, working with young musicians, teaching at his Alma Mater Columbia College and finishing up his Master’s degree. 

McReynolds is on a mission to show the world that Christians are in more places than people think, and that they are ready to maintain their commitment to represent God wherever they are. “The theme of my life has been to maintain, that's the motivation,” says McReynolds. “Maintain your identity, your confidence, your faith... it's about keeping that zeal you have when you walk out of church on Sunday morning, throughout the week, wherever the week takes you. It's still Life Music; it's still about watching God do things and keep you through life. After you have decided to live “No Gray” [the breakout hit single from Life Music], how are you going to do it? How are you going to maintain what you set out to do? That is what this next album is all about.” The sophomore release from Jonathan McReynolds is due in stores, September 2015.
 
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