"We are all given a dream, something unique that God has weaved into the plan for our life. But we have to be willing to step up to the task and say, 'I'm going to go for it!' It's up to us, with God's help, to figure out exactly how to make that dream or that gift work."
His own words ring true as Jonathan Pierce has seen many of his dreams transform into reality over the past two years with the success of his first solo project, One Love. With hit radio singles like "Healing Hands," "Carry You With Me" and "Rise Up" and the Dove nominations for "Healing Hands," "One Love" and Male Vocalist of the Year, audiences across the country have become more than familiar with Jonathan's soulful, inspirational vocal stylings.
He has toured nonstop since the release of One Love, both as a member of the Gaither Vocal Band and on his own with touring partners such as NewSong and Patty Cabrera. Jonathan was also invited to perform on numerous Peter Lowe success seminars nationwide, where he has the unique opportunity to perform alongside such dignitaries as Margaret Thatcher, George and Barbara Bush, Elizabeth Dole, Col. Norman Schwarzkopf, Gen. Colin Powell, Larry King, Christopher Reeve and others who had been invited to the seminars as well.
As he prepares for the next step of this musical career with the release of his newest album, Mission, on Curb Records, Jonathan is looking forward to the opportunity to bring some fresh ideas to the table in both the live and recorded setting.
"This is the next chapter," he says. "It's not so much that I've changed, because my music is still going in the same direction, but I'm ready to say, 'These are solutions to some of the problems I've had to go through, so maybe it's a solution you need."
Jonathan has chronicled his thoughts in the majority of songs on the new album, having co-written on a total of eight out of the ten songs. "As a Christian, I feel like a song is something that is loaned to you," Jonathan says. "It's just an expression of God's love for us, it's a hidden way that He can reinforce his power so we can understand it.
"When picking songs for this album, we had some great ones coming in from other people, but I needed to write some of my own. I had some things I needed to say. It was really a yearlong process, but it was something I really wanted to do. As writers and artists, I think we have to be responsible for what we're saying in a song. I wanted to be able to offer some solutions. These songs are my heart, they are my insecurities. I will love singing this album for the very reason that whatever comes into my life-success, turmoil, whatever-I'll be able to stand on stage and sing each night and these songs will reinforce me."
With four different producers, Mission is sure to provide a diverse sound for a diverse audience. At the production helm were familiar names Brown Bannister, Guy Roche, Bob Parr, and Alex Seidl. "It's challenging to work with the packed schedules of multiple producers," Jonathan explains, "but I really like the signatures of each person's perspective. I think it makes for a more diverse and interesting album...one that is able to capture all of my different influences."
The album's first single is a cover of The Imperial's classic "Praise the Lord," a long-time favorite song of Jonathan's, written by producer Brown Bannister. "I wanted to do a remake of this song because it made such a huge impact on my life growing up." Jonathan's version of "Praise the Lord" offers a newer arrangement for the '90s, complete with a gospel choir, programming by Tommy Sims, and Brown Bannister's amazing production.
"I Believe in Christ," Mission's second single to be released, is a powerful follow up to "Healing Hands," which was a No. 1 single form Jonathan's debut project, One Love. "Everything on the whole album revolves around this song," Jonathan states. "On the last album, I never gave references to Christ by His name. This time, I felt like I really wanted a song that was centered around Him and who He was.
"The verses to this song talk about God uses imperfect people in spite of their weaknesses. It amazes me how we in this society, not only in the church but in the mainstream society, discard people because of what they've been through and what they've done. It is wrong because it makes what Christ did on that cross mean nothing. The scriptures say 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone.' For the very reason that it could have been me, I can't throw any stones. I wanted a song that named weakness but focused on the glory of worshipping Christ."
Other songs on the album such as "Farther Than Your Grace Can Reach" and "Hold Me In Your Arms" carry the common thread of grace, according to Jonathan, that weaves itself throughout his project-grace for those who have been discarded because of social standing, disease or sin, and God's grace that reaches us even when we think we don't measure up. Mission has captured Jonathan's passion for communicating a healing message to a hurting world.
"I don't want just to be a cheerleader for Christians," says Jonathan. "I want to encourage, but I want what I do to be much more than that. I want to be able to reach those who will be the church of tomorrow, the ones that Jesus held out his hand to and became friends with. That's what I want to be, and it's a challenge. I'm still balancing keeping myself in line with Christ 24 hours a day, then I wake up the next day and have to start all over again."
With several up tempo songs, Jonathan's heart for the youth, and reaching tomorrow's leaders, is more evident on this project than ever before. Jonathan has a strong desire to reach the younger generation, a focus that has always been a part of his musical journey over the past several years. Going back just a short time ago to when he started a youth choir in his home church, Christ Church of Nashville, Jonathan has been actively involved in reaching out to the kids who come in contact with him on a daily basis. From time to time, he will still bring in that same youth choir to perform with him at a local concert.
"It's nice to see something that I had a big part in still be very successful. It has kept me in touch with the younger generation, and that generation changes daily. It's important to me to stay in touch and constantly learn how to communicate with them. Working with these kids is a big part of who I am."
Jonathan has also spent time over the past few years going to high schools with evangelists and getting to know teenagers and their problems and pain. He hopes to always be in a place where he will be able to create music that will reach their hearts and heal their hurts.
"As far as building my career or anything that comes along with that, whatever happens, happens. If awards come, fine. It doesn't change my mission. Success comes only when God allows it. I'm thankful for all the struggles, all the disappointments, and all the things that I could not change because through that I've learned to trust Him more and I've been able to see that He is working on my behalf. That is my mission."
Jonathan Pierce grew up in Odessa, Texas. In 1994 Jonathan married his wife Denise, who has also co-written with him on this project. Jonathan and Denise reside in Nashville, Tennessee.