Christian Pop artist Jordan Feliz has been nominated for the GMA Dove Awards’ New Artist of the Year. His hit single “The River” has been nominated for Song of the Year as well as Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year. However, his journey to success has not been easy.
His musical career started as a senior in high-school as the lead singer for A Current Affair, a heavy metal band with faith-filled lyrics that performed on the Warped Tour. The band didn’t last and Feliz didn’t identify with heavy metal as much as the 70’s R&B style he was exposed to in his youth through artists like Sam Cooke and Earth, Wind & Fire.
After a four-and-a-half-year long-distance relationship, he got engaged at 20 and married at 21. He and his wife felt led to move to Nashville, but didn’t have enough money to make the trip. They made it to Arizona, and then had to rely on performing opportunities to open up and pay for the next portion of their trip. They understood what it meant to live on daily manna without knowing what the next day held. Eventually, they arrived in Nashville with cash in their pockets.
But the struggle didn’t end there.
Feliz experienced the plight of the starving artist, and had difficulty finding any job. “My wife and I were sharing one car,” he says. “I was posting handyman ads on Craigslist and working as a valet downtown. I could hardly get any people to write songs with me. Then we found out we were pregnant and there was so much that seemed up in the air and kind of scary.”
Not long after, he participated in an artist’s retreat where he caught the attention of Centricity Music. The label signed him and produced his debut album, “Beloved.”
He told The Christian Post in an interview, “It was honestly probably the most rewarding and yet exhausting experiences ever. I wrote for about two years straight, 18 months to be exact, going into signing a record deal and then releasing an EP. When they released ‘The River’ to radio, I just got welcomed with open arms. Everybody just started loving the song and I was shocked by that because I really thought people were going to hate the song.”
“The River” was No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Chart for 10 weeks. The song is based on John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
“The song is truly an invitation to everyone,” Feliz says in an interview with Hallels. “To the person who feels they have lived their life by the book, or to the person who feels they have so much baggage and are ashamed to take it to Jesus. It’s the opportunity to go down in amazing grace and to rise up, being made new.”
He also shares how his baby daughter was the inspiration for “Beloved,” the album’s title track.
After realizing that we were having a little girl I kept thinking about how much I was gonna love her, but the thought of what the world was gonna tell her kept coming to mind also. Things like ‘you’re not pretty enough,’ or ‘you’re not skinny enough.’ The list goes on and on. I wanted to write her a song that let her know no matter what this world tells her, she is loved not only by me, but by the savior of the world. Now that I understand the love a father feels for his child, I have found a whole new respect for God’s love for us. So even though ‘Beloved’ is written for Jolie, it holds meaning for the way Christ feels about us!
We’ll have to wait till October 11th to see how he ranks at the GMA Dove Awards. In the meantime, check out his groovy, pop album, “Beloved.”