Jonathan McReynolds’ new album, ‘Make Room’, is a remarkable body of work that beautifully translates the experiences of everyday life lyrically
and musically. With each song, Jonathan McReynolds creatively takes the listener on a spiritual journey, and offers a soundtrack of encouragement, insight and resolve for everyday challenges and everyday joys. ‘Make Room’ drives home the message of God’s transforming and shaping power in every area of living life – 24/7.
Jonathan puts it this way: “I’m doing all these things, different things, most of it in the Name of Jesus, for God, yet I wasn’t actually giving Him enough room to have a relationship with me. I wasn’t giving myself room to pray. I was working hard, I was serving God, but I wasn’t talking to Him, I wasn’t praising Him, I wasn’t even going to church half of the time because I was doing so much for Him and not actually doing anything with Him.” Says Christine Thomasos of The Christian Post: “With Make Room, the singer-songwriter, who is usually accompanied by his guitar, has created an album that focuses on creating more space in life for God. After gaining success and inspiring countless people with his music, McReynolds admits that he began to lose focus when it came to his own relationship with God.”
“He is the future of gospel music, the freshest songwriter I’ve heard in years.”
In his debut single, ‘Not Lucky, I’m Loved’, Jonathan makes a bold statement about the source of our blessings, and why they occur. As Jonathan’s career took off, he began to find comforting luck in his meteoric rise: “I had ‘lucky’ underwear that I would wear, and the shows would be great; concerts would be fun and amazing, and I started really believing that some of these superstitions were actually doing something. I even went so far as counting the amount of times I would go on stage. If there was an even amount of times, then it would be a great show. It was just crazy.”
Jonathan says it took a while for him to realise that 100% of the credit had nothing to do with luck or coincidence – that it was all up to God. “It was really up to Him. His sovereign, unconditional love, His plan for my life, that is what I am living out. It not just a dream, or it’s not just a set of coincidences or luck. It is His love being poured out and manifested and realised in my life, and I’m really blessed. I had to say, ‘Jonathan, you’re not lucky, you’re loved.’”
“Jonathan McReynolds is one of the best artists I’ve heard in my life.”
The song ‘Cycles’ is resonating deeply with listeners. It is a profoundly personal song that speaks to breaking those cycles in life that keep us from having the relationship with God we really need and want. “People who grew up in my generation were taught to be very ambitious, always having a lot of things to deal with. Always being busy and having a lot of things going on. We count that as a badge of honour,” said Jonathan. “But, at the end of the day, if it threatens your relationship with God, we’ll get to Heaven on the last day we’re alive and realise, ‘Wow, that was not a badge of honour, that was an impediment to my relationship with God’.”
It is personal for Jonathan as well. ‘“Cycles’ is kinda like another song in a long line of songs that I feel reveal way too much about me. When I started with ‘No Gray,’ I was a little afraid of it, because it didn’t feel like gospel. If you know those songs, you kind of know me. You kind of know where I am. You kind of know what I pray for. You kind of know what I am going through. ‘Cycles’ is another song in a list of confessional songs that I have going on. I felt like it was too real and honest.
“It made me so upset making the same mistake over and over again,” he continues. “I had to make a declaration, ‘Lord, help me to end the cycles.’ Here’s the moral of the story: wrap it all up in a Jesus-bow type of song.”
In another first, Jonathan has taken the ‘Life Room’ a step further, by bringing the ‘Life Room’ directly into homes with the one-hour ‘Make Room’ television special, produced by Entertainment One and aired on the American network, TvOne. It was unique in that, while a live concert recording with a full audience, interspersed with commentary from Jonathan, it had the ‘look’ and ‘feel’ of a ‘Life Room’. The special was broadcast immediately before The Stellar awards. Jonathan puts it best: “I’m not up for any Stellars this year, but I am up before the Stellars. TvOne has MADE ROOM, and is showing an hour special of all that happened that amazing night in Chicago. You’ve heard the record. Now see the record.”
“Like Stevie [Wonder] once told me, we need you on the planet.”
‘Make Room’ is a mirror image into Jonathan’s life: what he stands for, what he believes. He sums it all up this way: “This is the season of my life that I realised that everything I have up before God, every career thing, every hope for relationship, every friendship I have, is all contingent on how much room I actually just make for the relationship. Instead of expecting Him to make room for me all the time, maybe it is time I start making time for Him. I can’t enjoy the love, peace, joy and the satisfaction that comes from being a child of God, when I don’t walk in the identity of being a child of God, or being someone in relationship with Him except on Sundays.
“It was just very important for me to make sure that I was not wrapping God around all the stuff that I have to do and, instead, wrap all the things I have to do around God. Make sure that He is right in the middle of the room. Make sure that He has plenty of space. We’ll add all the other stuff later. We will add all the other people and the other goals. We will wrap all those things around God, because He deserves to be and wants to be dead front and centre.
“Please don’t ‘fit’ Him in. Fit everything else in, after you have made room, crazy room, enough room, more than enough room, every day room for Him. At the end day, He will make room when we do.”