After making a splash his 2015 debut and hit single "The River," Jordan Feliz felt anxiety about approaching his follow-up, Future, which releases this week. The pressure of living up to the hype, which also included a New Artist of the Year award from the Gospel Music Association, contributed to a mental block stalling the project.
Suffering with some panic attacks, Feliz confided in a friend and cowriter who in turn pointed him to the Word of God. Ephesians 1:18, in a portion of the apostle Paul's prayer, says, our future is found in the inheritance of God.
"It just crushed me," Feliz said. "I realized I was so fixated on me trying to be the best and it was almost like I was so focused on trying to be great and serve so great that I forgot why and who I'm doing this for and I forgot to listen."
Soon after that, Feliz and his friend penned "Witness," the album's first single, and "It just opened the floodgates."
"That's one of the reasons the record is called Future," he said. "It's a lesson I've learned over the last eight months, to dive deeper into my trust relationship with the Lord."
In addition to "Witness," another notable song, "All Along," is an upbeat testament to the faithfulness of God throughout his life. Feliz took a detour with the tempo, opting for a dance feel rather than a ballad, hoping to create something fresh.
"All Along was one of those things where I want people to understand how crucial, how much of an impact it is to realize God has been with me my entire life," he said.
Feliz is determined to continue pushing the boundaries of music, hoping to attract new listeners to an inspirational message they need to hear.
"The edifying lyrics are what set us apart from standard, general market music," he said. "We can still create things that sound and feel sonically like the general market. Honestly, that's the way we grow our listener base but it's the way we grow as artists as well."
In the middle of that quest to create superior music, the singer-songwriter also is determined to be truly authentic to himself as an artist and the music he creates.
"This is my story. These the songs the Lord has given me. I'm being real. I'm not going to write a song that I don't believe in and I'm not going to sing a song that I don't believe in."
Witness releases March 23 through Centricity Music.
DeWayne Hamby is a communications specialist and longtime journalist covering faith-based music, entertainment, books and the retail industry. He is also the editor of the White Wing Messenger, director of communications for the Church of God of Prophecy and author of the book Gratitude Adjustment. Connect with him at dewaynehamby.com or on twitter - @dewaynehamby.
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