INO Records’ singer/songwriter Jonny Diaz is an artist with a mission – to serve the Body of Christ. And from the very beginning of his music career, his desire has always been to write songs that encourage and entertain, yet challenge fellow believers. His latest CD release, titled simply Jonny Diaz, is a collection of songs that definitely accomplishes that mission.
“I attempted to break free from some of the traditional confines of Christian music, but I couldn’t get away from the fact that most of my songs revolve around my relationship with Christ,” Diaz shares. “He is the focus of my life, and I find it impossible to honestly record my emotions and my journey without including Him. The people who truly understand my music share this same kind of relationship with God.”
The songs from Jonny Diaz encompass a full range of human emotions – from the heights of love to the depths of grief; from praising God to a cry for those whose lives are broken. Through his music, the Church receives challenging and encouraging reminders that every broken human life can find redemption in God’s love.
The anticipated project, releasing April 12th, was produced by a plethora of talent. Those lending their skills to Jonny Diaz are Ed Cash (Dave Barnes, Chris Tomlin), Chris Stevens (Toby Mac, Sanctus Real), Jeff Pardo (Josh Wilson, Denver and the Mile High Orchestra), and Steve Wilson (Josh Wilson, Leeland).
Diaz also collaborated with others in the songwriting process, such Audrey Assad, Mia Fieldes, Kate York (co-writer on “More Beautiful You”) and Chris Stevens. “It can be challenging coming up with new ways to express themes that are important to believers. Co-writing encourages and inspires me,” says Diaz. “My own personal growth and new insights gave me fresh perspectives on old material, and co-writing added exciting and alternative ways to express what I was learning.” Diaz also confronts timely issues in the Church with his writing. “These days we can become immune, and we need to be brokenhearted for the poor, to feel their pain the way that Christ feels it.”
The project’s first radio single, “Beauty of the Cross,” was especially important to Diaz. “This is the first song I’ve recorded that I haven’t written,” he explains. “The first time I heard it, I was drawn straight to God’s throne in worship. I am not a ‘worship artist’ but there is something special about this song and I wanted to be a part of it. The great irony and beauty here is that we’re singing about one of the most awful torture devices ever conceived by man, and yet we are calling it ‘beautiful.’ Those of us whose lives have been changed by the sacrifice Jesus made for us at Calvary know exactly why the cross is so beautiful.” Click on the image below to watch his story behind the song, “Beauty of the Cross.”
Currently planning to share these new songs on the road, Diaz looks forward to sharing his music with audiences everywhere. “As an artist, I believe God gifted me with an ability to relate through the songs and stories I share. I like looking out at the crowd and seeing the smiles on faces or tears in the eyes and knowing straightaway that these songs are connecting.” Diaz told himself he would continue as long as people were interested – and he feels that it is clearer now more than ever that this is what God has for him.
“I love making music; it’s challenging and fun,” he says, “but my prayer is always: Whatever God wants me to do, that is where I want to be. It is a prayer of abandon to be used by God wherever and whenever.” And today that is sharing music that encourages, entertains, and, above all, challenges the body of Christ.
MORE ABOUT JONNY DIAZ:
Jonny Diaz released three independent projects before signing with INO Records. His first release as a signed artist, More Beautiful You (2009), produced the No. 1 radio single “More Beautiful You,” as well as Top 10’s “Stand For You” and “Waiting Room,” and led Diaz to a 2010 Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year.
Jonny Diaz was one of 2009’s breakout artists. With “More Beautiful You,” he held the No. 1 spot at radio for four weeks in a row and to date, the song has received more than 170,000 single downloads and over 100,000 spins. The single also hit Top 25 on the mainstream AC/pop charts. For all of his songs combined, Diaz has had over one million MySpace plays, with “More Beautiful You” receiving over 700,000 MySpace plays alone.
2009’s year-end charts placed Jonny Diaz No. 9 as Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs Artist and “More Beautiful You” claimed the No. 6 spot on Billboard‘s AC charts. The song was also the 3rd best Christian Song of the year, according to AOL Radio. The music video won the “Contemporary Video” category in 2009’s Gospel Music Channel Video Awards and received more votes than any other video in any of the categories. Along with exposure on GMC, the video has been seen by over 630,000 viewers on outlets such as YouTube, MySpace, and GodTube.