Jonathan McReynolds spent much of his summer literally watching time fly by through the windows of many airplanes as he reached stages from the Essence Music Fest to the McDonald’s 365Black Awards, overseas to Germany and Norway, and back to Revolt TV. He’s been on the road to promote his sophomore album Life Music: Stage Two, but also to spread the word of God through his understanding of Christianity at this stage in his life. McReynolds says, “I wrote my first album as a college student. Now, I’m a college professor. But, people are going to get much of the same—my transparent writing, me just being authentic, singing my thoughts and conversations I have.”
Much of the success he’s had over the last few years is due to his amazing performances on televised specials like the Stellar and Dove Awards, as well as BET’s Celebration of Gospel, where his moving performances of “No Gray,” “Pressure,” and other selections introduced him to new audiences who appreciated the vulnerability in his songwriting and the sincerity in his presentation. He notes a growing confidence in his ability as a singer as a major difference this time around, which translates not only into stronger performances, but the ability to expand his sound. Another key to Stage Two is the diversity which it offers; the album boasts appearances from India.Arie (“Whole”), Israel Houghton (“All Things Well”), Chante Cann (“Maintain”), and others he counts as friends and who lend their tremendous talent to his productions, which are expanding the boundaries of contemporary gospel. The music Jonathan McReynolds makes relays real Christian experience and he says, “No matter who I sing with, no matter the collaboration, I’m going to be glorifying God and I’m excited to do that.”
To this point, “Pressure” has become a hit on the eve of Life Music: Stage Two and provided a bit of relief to McReynolds, as he was working against the dreaded sophomore jinx and listeners’ expectations. He says the single solidifies what he means when he says “life music” by not only singing about the human things that we go through, but the way God, Jesus and Christianity respond to that humanity. That theme extends beyond “Pressure” into songs such as “Full Attention” and “Limp.” Stage Two holds multiple meanings for McReynolds; of course it represents his second album, but it also represents the stage he’s at in his career—with a larger platform and the transition from college student to college professor with his recent appointment to the music department at his alma mater, Columbia College of Chicago. The anticipation is building for the release of the album, and McReynolds is excited to share this portion of his life with people.
He’s still amazed at the response his music receives and the effect it has on people because he couldn’t imagine this when writing these songs. The point of his music is to reach those who may not even know that they’re missing something in life, and to introduce them through his music and the testimony he rests between the bars. He wants everyone to understand that God has not set us up to fail. He says, “God has preceded you on every stage and every interview, so He knows what is for you and not for you, so when you’re armed with that confidence, there’s no need to be afraid or nervous, just kill it.”
Life Music: Stage Two is available September 18th courtesy of eOne Music and can be purchased via iTunes. Stay connected with Jonathan via his website for upcoming tour dates between his Tuesday and Thursday classes and connect with him via his Facebook page.
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find Al-Lateef Farmer; Black man, husband, social documentarian, and slinger of Soul by the pound. His brand of social commentary, rooted in independent thought can be found at www.theworldaccording2teef.com and on Twitter @wrldacrdng2teef.