BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Jason Castro's Who I Am
By Hannah Goodwyn
American Idol is back on television, looking for the next big singer. They may find crooners, rockers, and divas, but it will be hard to find another one like Jason Castro. Each week back during Season 7, Jason won the crowd over with his acoustic sound, warm smile, and cool dreads. After releasing his debut album last spring, the Texas based singer/songwriter is confirming his relationship with God in his new release called Who I Am. Five of the tracks are favorites from the debut record, while the others are original songs exploring life, love, and faith.
The first generation American (his parents emigrated from Colombia) recently spoke with CBN.com about Who I Am and how his walk with the Lord shapes his music and his purpose.
CBN.com: Your new radio single, "You Are", debuted in the top 50 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart. What was the inspiration behind this fast-catching song?
Jason Castro: “You Are” was the first one I wrote, and just fresh off the road. And so I like to say it’s like my first love song to God. My debut album is a lot of love songs and sort of things that this is really about going about my most meaningful relationship.
CBN.com: Your journey with God started back in high school at a summer camp. Is it true that the Dave Crowder Band (who played at the camp) was a part of that?
Castro: Yes. That was definitely kind of the turning point, like a spark in my life. I grew up in a Christian home and always knew about God, but that’s kind of when it became personal to me. And it has been a long road since then. It’s been exciting. All throughout American Idol and beyond that, everything has been about going to God and praying.
Even with music… I grew up playing drums and I was in a pretty serious band. I quit my band just to go to school and try to figure out what did God want from my life. I felt like at the time I really wasn’t sure if I should get into music. I felt like I was wasting an opportunity at school by playing too much music. So I let music go for a second, and it came back bigger than I could have imagined with this. It’s been a really cool journey in faith.
CBN.com: Your faith story is documented as an “I Am Second” video. In it, you talk about wanting to work for God’s glory, but not necessarily singing worship songs. You wanted to write some good music about life and love. In another interview, you reference Philippians 4:8. “You Are” sounds worshipful. Was that intentional?
Castro: It definitely was intentional in both aspects. I did mean it to be worshipful and I also meant for it to be something that went in line musically with the rest of my debut album and not just some left turn. I don’t want people to think I’m becoming this whole new person. This is just where God has led my songwriting.
There is a difference between a worship leader and an entertainer, whether it’s Christian entertainer or whatever. But I felt at the time that I was meant to be an entertainer. There is a lot of misconception out there that I was a worship leader before, and I really wasn’t. I grew up playing drums and started singing in college… [I only sang] five times in public before going out on American Idol. Half of those times were in church, but I was more in the background. Definitely, there's a piece of me that loves the idea of being a worship leader. Only time will tell whether I do. Right now, this is what I’ve got.
CBN.com: “Hallelujah” was a big hit on American Idol and it's track 10 on Who I Am. Many of the song's fans have their interpretations of songwriter Leonard Cohen's lyrics. What does it mean to you?
Castro: It became one of my favorite songs before Idol, when I first started singing. It was one that I would try to play and the first song that I felt so much beauty in just the way that the chords moved. Being so elementary in my musical knowledge, that was the first song that I really felt something beautiful, the lyrics and everything.
The song is a mystery to me. Who knows what the original writer intended, but I know to me what it means. Even now I can pull different meanings from it every time, from every verse. The beauty of that song is that no matter what God's going to be praised. And that’s the chorus... it's just “hallelujah”! That’s what is so beautiful about it. It’s the good and the bad, the good and evil, everything. At the end of it all, God is going to be praised. That’s what will last forever. I love that idea.
CBN.com: In your “I Am Second” video, you say that as you were dedicating your life to the teachings of Jesus you found purpose and that every day gets you closer to “the goal”. What is that goal?
Castro: I’ve been reading this week in I Peter, and it talks about setting our hope on the grace that’s to be revealed when He returns. The reality to me is that it’s a time when everything is made right. That’s the hope and the purpose in that when the end of time comes, all of God’s work in me will be completed and we’ll spend forever with Him. It’s just a crazy idea and a beautiful idea; when there’s no more hurt and everybody loves purely. That’s a dream. Nothing hinders the way we think or the way we speak. That’s the goal. That’s the hope.
Hannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles, visit Hannah's bio page.
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