Grand Rapids, Mich. singer-songwriter Orlando "Substance" Rodriguez
is garnering lots of attention these days, not just for his well-produced, excellently executed, style-blending sounds, but for the words contained in them, too.
With the release of new single, "Colorblind,"
Rodriguez encourages people to see the world through the eyes of the Creator. Perfectly timed in this divided age, this message of acceptance and love is captivating listeners.
As Rodriguez continues to reach new fans, we took some time to learn a little bit more about this eclectic musicianary.
Who is Orlando Rodriguez?
I am a Christian singer/songwriter and music producer. I've been married to my wife, Sarah, for 8 years and we have two beautiful children, Solomon and Grace. I have a passion for music and also encouraging people in Christ so my music ministry is a natural fit for me. When I am not doing music I enjoy reading, sports, and cooking. My favorite place in the world is God's house and experiencing worship and God's Word.
Besides recording and touring, what else occupies your life? Church job? Secret identity?
I am a family guy. My wife and kids are where I spend most of my time when I am not recording or touring. My kids are 4 years old and 8 months old, so they are very active and require a lot of time and energy to keep up with. I also enjoy working out at the gym and reading books. Finding balance can sometimes be a challenge; we are very busy like most young families.
When did you start making music? Did you have a moment when you felt the Lord was calling you into this ministry?
I started making music in my teens. I was a pop/R&B vocalist and realized some early success by building a local following and opening up for some major pop acts. Growing up my family always went to church so I had a foundation of Christianity but didn't necessarily feel called to ministry.
As my music career began to grow and then became my job, I realized that even though I had reached my goal of doing music full time, something was still missing. At that point, I started to get serious about Bible study and the Word of God changed my life. I was reading in Hebrews and saw a picture of who Jesus Christ really is and how unconditional his love is for us and I dedicated my music and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ and haven't looked back.
Musically speaking, you bridge a few genres, from R&B to Urban Gospel to CCM. Talk about your influences and your unique sound.
I definitely have a very eclectic taste of music. One minute I will listen to Shirley Caesar and the next minute I am listening to Michael W. Smith. I also appreciate artists such as Lecrae and Andy Mineo, and I appreciate all forms of praising God. My mindset is to let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Early on in my life I listened to a lot of pop music and that also helped to shape my ear for sound. I would say that my sound is continuing to evolve with time but the one consistency is the message in the music itself. I want to create music that encourages people to trust in Jesus Christ.
In your bio, your nickname is listed as "Substance." What's the meaning of that name. Is it something you still use?
Substance is my producer nickname. People have told me all the time that I do music that has deep meaning and has Substance. The name Substance has stuck with me now.
Talk about your new song "Colorblind." It's such a beautiful, heartwarming, timely message. When/why did you write it, and what do you want people to come away from it?
"Colorblind" was written about 5 years ago. I wrote the song in Nashville with two amazing songwriters, Tony Wood and Steve Siler. The meaning of the song to me is a reminder that I need to look at the world the way God sees the world. The song "Colorblind" is an encouragement to look at others the way God sees them and to love others they way God loves them.
What's been some feedback you've already received from the song?
I have received very positive feedback with "Colorblind" online via my Facebook page and the song has also begun reacting at gospel radio. When I get a message from a supporter of my music that one my songs has ministered to them, it encourages me to keep going. I have always told myself that as long as my music is having a Christ-centered impact, I will keep releasing more songs.
What are the things you're most passionate about in your songwriting?
Finding creative ways to craft a message of hope in Christ! Songwriting to me is the key because you can't have a great message without a well written song. Moving forward, I am passionate about collaborating with other writers and artists for God's glory!
What are some of the dreams God has given you for music ministry?
The essence of my dream is to realize my fullest potential in Christ, whatever that may be. I am extremely grateful that God has given me the blessing of being able to wake up every single day and embrace my passion of Christian music full-time. Moving forward, I would love to collaborate with more writers, artists, and producers in Christian music that I admire and also to participate in more evangelistic events that lead people to Jesus Christ.
What's next for you in 2018?
The remainder of 2018, I will be touring churches and also finishing up my next EP, Colorblind, for a fall release. I am also getting back in the studio and working on collaborations with other artists this year.
How can people be praying for you?
Yes, please pray that God continues to give me clarity on what projects to be working on. My goal is that I can participate on projects that will have maximum impact for the Kingdom of God. I appreciate that prayer and encouragement always!