Four decades after first topping worldwide pop and dance charts
Posted: May 15, 2015, 12:00 AM | Category:New Releases Artist Tags: Source: Nashville Publicity Group
Four decades after first topping album charts worldwide, Pastor Jason Alvarez is back with his brand new solo album, Time For Miracles. The album is available now at Amazon, iTunes and wherever digital music is sold.
The music industry first came to know Jason Alvarez (who briefly went by his birth name Jesus) as the husky voiced singer of R&B act Brother to Brother (whose "In the Bottle" moved over a million copies in 1974), followed by his partnership with singer/songwriter Sylvia Robinson in the groundbreaking group Shirley & Company, who topped the worldwide dance charts with the #1 international hit "Shame Shame Shame" in 1975. That song is commonly considered the early blueprint for the disco explosion that dominated the decade.
"We really were ahead of the curve and it was definitely a pioneering moment, starting with that drum beat, which was so simple, but definitely an innovator for sure the way it was combined with Shirley's high voice and me screaming my brains out," says Alvarez with a laugh, who also struck gold with the group's follow-up hit "Cry Cry Cry." "We did a ton of touring, especially through Europe, and went on all of the TV programs of the time alongside Mick Jagger, Patti LaBelle and Elton John, which was just as amazing as it sounds."
With the fame, wealth and pressures of being a superstar came an addiction to drugs that nearly cost Alvarez his life. He recalls sitting on the top floor of a swanky London hotel with fellow songwriter Scott English, whose Barry Manilow hit "Mandy" was sitting at #2 as Alvarez' "Shame Shame Shame" claimed the top spot.
"He looked at me, passed me a joint and said 'is this all there is to life man?' and that made me start thinking," admits Alvarez, who in his stoned state experienced a heightened sense of despair. "So I started thinking about taking my own life and even wrote out a suicide letter, but when I looked down from that penthouse window and saw how far it was down, I decided to wait until I got back to the U.S. to do it another way."
"At one point I bought a pound of opium and tried to kill myself by smoking day and night, but thank God I didn't succeed. It just so happens that around that time, my wife had given herself to Jesus and started going to church by the grace of God. I remember saying to her one night, 'are you going to that crazy place?' and when she said 'yes,' I actually asked her if she needed a ride. I dropped her off and sat in the car smoking a Columbian joint, but I felt so bummed out by myself that I eventually walked in. Right then and there, I heard the Gospel and how Jesus died to save us from our sins and I said to my wife 'have you been talking to this preacher about me?' She said 'no, I've never mentioned what you're going through, so it must be the Holy Spirit.' I responded, gave my life to the Lord and have never been the same since."
Alvarez soon signed with Christian music label Light Records, with Andra¨Crouch collaborator Bill Cole producing his album, Just Give Me Jesus. He started extensively touring with evangelists R.W. Schambach and Nicky Cruz. "I got really turned on to the things of God, so much so that I eventually decided to quit music to preach the gospel and start churches."
Ordained in 1982, Alvarez currently serves as the pastor of The Love of Jesus Family Church in Orange, New Jersey. While he remains committed to his primary responsibility as a pastor, he's also committed to taking Time For Miracles to the masses.
Best described as a praise and worship album, Time For Miracles will surprise listeners with its versatility, ranging from acoustic anthems to Gospel grooves. There's even a guest appearance by fellow church member Kory-O of Sugar Hill Gang fame (the group's "Rapper's Delight" scored the rap genre's first ever Top 40 hit on Billboard Hot 100).
"God's greatest asset is transparency and He's not afraid to show who he really is," says Alvarez. "Nothing in the Bible is hidden, which is why I don't have a problem sharing each and every dirty detail of my life. My life is amazing now that I'm saved and I hope that being honest about all I've been though can potentially help someone else."
For more information, visit the official website at www.jamm.org.
Track Listing for Time for Miracles:
1) Miracles (feat. Kory-O & Osmond Collins)
2) The Great I Am (feat. Osmond Collins)
4) Everlasting Love
5) Te Quiero
6) Let Thy Kingdom
7) Como No Creer
8) You're Beautiful