Lately, I've been listening to music from a lot of independent artists. I didn't realize it before, but there's so much incredible music that is released every single week from these artists.
For a while, I was on the fence about indie music. I figured if it wasn't released with a record label, it would be low quality. But it turns out that's far from the truth. There are a lot of independent artists who are killing it in the Christian music industry.
Blake Reynolds is an independent artist who has released some great music over the past few years. He's certainly an artist that you don't want to miss out on. I recently chatted with him about his music and his new podcast, The Upbeat Podcast.
You're pretty new to Christian music. How did you get started?
I grew up in church. My mom and dad were saved in the 1990s (I'm a '90s baby), and they started doing ministry. They reached out to people who were the "down-and-outers." In other words, people who needed Jesus. In 2006, my dad became a pastor. So, I grew up in ministry all my life. I launched my solo music career in 2018. But, I guess you can say I started in Christian music in 2006 at my dad's church.
How do you want people to respond to your music?
I love helping people--even if that's making someone laugh from one of my social media posts. Sometimes, my posts are a combination of things. Sometimes, I post a devotional or an inspiration quote to help encourage people, or sometimes I post something funny. I take that same principle with my music.
Not that I want people to laugh at my songs, but my point is that in everything I do, I want to encourage and help people through their journey. I want people to be able to put my song on in the car, whether they're a Christian or they're just having a rough day, and I want my songs to inspire them. Maybe they don't know Jesus; I would love for my songs to lead them to Christ. That's what inspires me. I want my music to serve people and help them along on their journey.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
Skillet's lead singer John Cooper is one of my musical inspirations. Our styles of music aren't the same, but the reason why he writes his songs is the same reason why I write my songs. We both want to reach lost and broken people. Contemporary Christian artist Cory Asbury, worship singer Brandon Lake, and pop artist Tauren Wells inspire me, too. Tauren really inspires me; I love his writing style. Again, I want to write my songs to be relative and relatable to people.
A few months ago you released "Even If." What's the story behind that song?
The song is based on Psalm 139:8 when David says that even if he ascended into heaven, God would be there. And, even if he made his bed in hell, God would be there. What David was saying is that no matter where we go or what we do, God is always going to be there with us. As soon as I read that scripture, I knew that I wanted to write a song about it. And, I wanted to call it "Even If."
The bridge--"Even if I made my bed in hell"--was the first part of the song I wrote. The song's message is simple: "no matter where you're at in your walk, God is always there with you." The song simply tells people that no matter where they're at in life, whether they're a Christian and they fell, or if they don't know Jesus at all, God will always be there to help.
Recently, you started The Upbeat Podcast. What has that been like?
It's been a completely fun experience. Running the podcast has been a fun way for me to be creative and step outside the box. One of the cool things about it is that it allows people to get to know me. I'm on social media, but it gives me another avenue to speak into people's lives. I'm learning the ropes and I'm getting the hang of it. I haven't been releasing podcasts as consistently as I want, but it's been a blast.
What encouragement would you want to give to other independent artists wanting to start a career in music?
Just do it. I know it can be overwhelming to read articles and blogs and hear all these TED Talks about starting a career in music. But, I think one of the biggest points that I would say is to just do it. You can release a song, even if it's just you in your garage with a $50 microphone. Just release something. You've already gone one step further than somebody else. Find somebody to mentor you, even if it's just somebody you follow on social media.
Is there any upcoming new music on the horizon?
You bet. My producer is Jared Marc, and he's incredible. He plays keys for contemporary artist Austin French and produces music for other great artists. I have a single coming out in June or July that he produced for me. My travel plans have been messed up, so getting down to Nashville to record with Jared has been difficult. But, I do have two or three original songs coming out this year.
Finally, how can we be praying for you and your ministry?
I have many big changes coming up on a personal level. Please pray that God would speak to me. God is always speaking to us, but people could pray that my heart will always be soft and my ears will always be open. I have many big decisions in front of me. And, I need God's leading and guidance. I don't want to step out of line, but I trust Him even if I did.
Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author, loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.
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