He's been in the game for more than a decade now, but much is new for this renaissance man who is a new husband, father and homeowner. A host of new responsiblities fuels Rawsrvnt
's seventh studio album, Game Changer
, and we ask the artist also known as Eddy Puyol 10 questions about his life, ministry and mission.
Eddy, a lot has changed for you in the last year or so. You got married. You're a dad. You have a house. This is a big time for you and now, of course, you've got this new album. How different do you feel as a person right now than you did say a year ago?
I can officially say the game has changed for me. Life is much different than I knew before but it's been a blast adjusting to all of the newness. It's really been cool getting to build my relationship with my wife now that we're married and we're living together. Of course, you throw a kid in the mix, and that's even another game changer.
We're so thankful that God blessed us with a beautiful baby girl by the name of Ava Marie. It's the neatest thing being a dad because you really get to see the love that the Father has for us in such a real deep and intimate way.
I've known about His love and I've shared His love all around the globe, but holding my daughter for the first time really gave me a better understanding of how He loves us. With Ava, there was nothing she did or could do to get me to love her more or less. There's nothing she can do to get me to stop loving her. I just love her because she is. That's how God loves us and getting a tangible example of that experience in my own life has been really cool.
How do you feel like that's changed you as an artist and even going into this new project?
I've always been a real artist. I've always been honest with the way I approach songwriting. If I believe in it, live it, or approve it then I'm talking about it in my music.
You can see how this plays out with the love songs I included on the album.
Prior to me being married, I couldn't talk about being in love unless it was about a past relationship. But after we said our vows I was really able to write about that topic from a "now" viewpoint.
And you know, in Christian music, there aren't a lot of songs designed for intimate moments between husbands and wives. I felt like I wanted to step into that arena and write a song that 1) my wife will enjoy, and 2) other couples will appreciate as well.
"Light Up the Night" is an original song while "Lost Without U" is a cover of the popular tune created by Robin Thicke. I know some Christians don't like to see other believers cover songs from secular artists or may even think that the lyrics in this particular track are too racy for a believer to include on his album.
But just because someone isn't a Christian artist doesn't mean he/she cannot speak truth or sing about things that followers of Jesus would also affirm. That's why I felt like it was okay to include this song on my album.
Some parts of it talk about a moment of physical intimacy between a man and woman, but I don't believe any of that language is out of bounds when it's done within the confines of a marriage covenant as God intended.
For example, being married really helped me better appreciate Song of Solomon -- a whole book in the Bible that is based on romantic relationship. It's very intimate.
It helped reframe my understanding of how that works within a holy union. I didn't learn about these different married things and the marital "perks" from the church -- I learned it from the streets. Now that I understand even more so that God christened all of this, I believe that His people should be at the forefront of producing music that celebrates intimacy as He would.
Between your EPs and albums, you've released more than a dozen projects. That is a lot of work you've been doing and a lot of ministry. What are some disciplines and practices that you do now that may have changed since you've begun?
After being in the game now for over a decade, I'm more comfortable in my own skin as a man of God, a husband, a father, and a songwriter. This allows me to be freer in my approach to writing, performing, and marketing.
As I've matured I realize I don't need to be the "next Cross Movement or KJ-52 or tobyMac or Lecrae." I know I just need to be the best "Rawsrvnt" I can be and use the talents God has given me to entertain, educate, and challenge my listeners to live out the love He has for us and for those around us.
What you just said is that you're comfortable in your own skin, boldness, confident. That's really the theme of Game Changer throughout. You've got a lot of themes about confidence and taking ground and being bold. Why is this important to you to put forward to everyone that listens to you?
God is our Father and we're the apple of His eye. We're King's kids. We're not just "anybodies" -- we're "Somebody." I've been in so many church services where I hear people go, "I'm just a nobody up here. I'm just nobody." I'm like, "Stop. You're discrediting God. He didn't die for a 'nobody.' He died for a somebody and you are that somebody."
I don't know about you, but I don't know many people who would just give up their life for a nobody. I don't know many people that would give up their whole entire fortune for a nobody. I don't know if that exists.
But God is not like us. His capacity for love is much greater than ours. As an artist, I want to encourage you to be the best "you" that you can be and really understand that you're unique in every way. And God loves you for that uniqueness.
Which songs do you find are resonating the most?
Right now it's probably "Father I Trust Ya." The other day I told my wife "I'm going to my youth group" -- and by that I meant I was going out to play basketball with some local guys. I've sowed seeds in all of their lives, but not by just walking up to them and having the first thing out of my mouth be: "Hey, I'm a Christian. Do you know Jesus?" I first let my game and the way I communicate to them speak. Then, after I get their respect, I start sharing my life with them. As that authentically grows, I might connect with them after a game, give them my music, and say, "Yo, pop this in and let me know what you think."
The other day I went out to the court and a couple of the guys were smoking weed right before we started playing. Some of them came up to me and said, "Hey man. I've been listening to that CD you gave me the other day and I dig it. Keep doing what you're doing."
When I asked them what songs they like, they said, "It's the last song on the album (which is 'Father I Trust Ya') -- that one really got me. I can connect with what you're saying there."
I'm like, "Wow. Just by being honest and saying I may not have the answers for everything, but I can cling to the premise that 'If I can trust God for breath, then I can trust Him for the rest' -- it's making the gospel and His love for us palatable for people who may not already know Him.
You definitely look to really impact people's lives through your ministry, Soul Deep. Give us an update on what's going on with Soul Deep and the state of the union there?
We always love to invest into people, so a lot of times we'll do events and we'll give away CDs to the kids that are there. We do a lot of outreaches in different drug rehabs in our area where we go in and we just speak life and speak encouragement to these guys and girls that are struggling with addictions because I used to be there. I used to be that guy that struggled with drugs and just living that lifestyle.
Having a heart for people that are in that world you'll often catch me saying, "You're not stuck in it. You're just going through it." So we go back and help those people that need it and of course, we speak at schools too. It's a lot of fun. It's definitely not just about the music. It's a ministry and that's what we're all doing.
Are there any songs from the new record that were inspired by some of these stories, some of these encounters with people you've had?
I would say the spoken word I did called "All of the Lights" always reminds me of my story. You've heard it said before: "You've got to have a test to have a testimony" and I definitely have one of those! LOL! I've had a lot of things that have happened in my life, things that have rocked my world. When I share them with people it encourages them to say, "OK. I can feel you. I can relate to you, but you got out so I want to listen to you so I can too." Of course there's always a way out and His name is Jesus.
So, really, are you noticing that your story applies to so many more people?
Yes. You know, there are some artists that can take a situation and write it from that person's standpoint and not really go through it. As of right now, I don't feel that calling per se. I'm just me and have learned by being honest and telling my story it helps a lot of people.
How do you balance all the different things you do while you keep pushing forward musically and creatively? How do you keep that balance?
The biggest thing is just trial and error. There are some times when I'll notice I'm spending too much time in one area and not the other and I go, "Hold on. Balance, Eddy. Balance." It's a daily thing. And especially now being married and a father. We have a kid and we've got a house and there are all these different responsibilities. So my world's been rocked and I've experienced so many different changes that I'm learning now how to balance it all. So I can't say I've figured it all out completely.
I will say that when I'm with my wife I make it a point to focus on just being with her. If we're at the dinner table, let's shut the phones off. Let's cut that out of our world. We strive to just spend time together. Same thing with our daughter.
Those investments provide returns that provide understanding and grace when my music and ministry commitments take me away for various periods of time.
What is next for you? The album is out. Obviously that starts a new whirlwind cycle for you. What's next and how can people be praying for you?
Next for me is sharing my heart and my music with those that I get in touch with through the different churches, concerts, schools, and rehabs that invite me in.
I'm working on some new songs as well and one in particular that I'm really excited about. It's a song that I'm writing for my daughter. I wanted to be able to have it on this project, but it just wasn't ready and I didn't want to rush it.
I just feel like with this new project God is bringing some new friends, some new partners and some new territories to build and invest in. We're looking forward to some of our songs continuing to impact athletes and broadcast networks. I'm praying that a couple of the songs from the album get some placements in shows and movies because we feel we have a couple of cool moments where they can definitely lean that way. It's just another way to reach audiences with God's love.
Get Rawsrvnt's Game Changer on iTunes here.