“When Christ rescued me from a lifestyle of accelerated depravity… I swung hard to living for Him with a lot of gratitude…I think art flows freely when I stay in that place – the realization He rescued me to be His son, not His artist.” – Nathanael Bryce
Art is often a reflection of our life’s journey, and this is certainly the case with Christian music artist Nathanael Bryce. When asked about his music, he says that he cannot imagine his work without Christ.
“My relationship with Christ hasn’t made me a better artist – it’s made me,” Nathanael explains. “There was no real me without Christ, and therefore there was no real expression without Him. I suppose unless you’ve found yourself liberated from a dark, deep pit, you wouldn’t understand how true that is. What I made before wasn’t necessarily art – it was a desperate attempt to appease the excruciating questions that drove me to reckless folly. To others with the same ache it may have looked like and sounded like art, but only now with Him holding my heart do I feel I can express something greater than an ache. Art has to mature and grow after finding an answer.”
After finding Christianity and being rescued from a life of “accelerated depravity” in 2004, Nathanael certainly has a great deal to sing about. “I was painfully aware of how depraved I was, and that His intervention was the only thing that could come between me and a horrible end,” says Nathanael. “I was grateful, and gratitude led to intimacy. Intimacy led to discovery – who He was calling me to be. That discovery is what has taught me to be transparent and real at all times. I think art flows freely when I stay in that place – the realization He rescued me to be His son, not His artist.”
Of course, if you were to run into Nathanael on the street you wouldn’t know all of this. What you would discover, and rather quickly, is that Nathanael is a hugger! ” When guys extend their hands to shake, I grab them and hug them,” Bryce chuckles. “I like to laugh and make people smile.”
When asked if there are other Christian artists whose work Nathanael admires, he said, “Absolutely – I discover new ones all the time. Everything from writers (painting with words) to bakers (creative chemists) to music artists who put those hard to express emotions into perfect words with a beautiful melody. My other favorite artists would be my kids – partly because of how they capture my beard differently each time they draw me!”
Those of us who listen to Christian records often marvel at the power of the message we find there, and find ourselves wondering what inspired the moving lyrics. When asked about the source of his inspiration, Nathanael responded, “I often find that when I’m creating music and art, they found me, I didn’t find them. I don’t mean to sound cliché, but it’s true. So many times I have written songs when I wasn’t trying to. They jumped into me and leapt right back out. That’s why I keep my phone or some sort of recording device close by at all times. Creativity has no respect for our schedules or deadlines. It doesn’t observe silence when others demand it. When God’s Spirit moves on you, the best thing to do is say, ‘Yes Sir’ and begin to record.”
Nathanael’s Christian faith plays a vital role in his life, and has a heavy influence on his music as well. “My faith is my map and compass in creation – it tells me which boundaries to observe and which ones to cross,” he explains. “Really, it comes down to the healthy, life-giving fear of the Lord. I don’t need to use colorful language to drive a point home or to be relevant, so I observe that boundary. Other boundaries, however, I feel Him laugh about and then tell me to step over them. The hardest part of all of this, is that none of us are the same expression, so we really have no grid for where any of us are going as individuals. We may be inspired by one another, but it’s never a glimpse of who each of us are to become as a unique creation. All we can do is hold on to our compass and the piece of map we have and enjoy the journey.”
While many musicians get into the business for fame or recognition, Nathanael does this work because he believes wholeheartedly that music has the power to change lives. “It changes mine every day,” he says. “I can’t say how many times I played a song or an album just to make it through the day. Some seasons when I struggled with debilitating depression and self-hatred, and the only way I could express tears was when I heard a song of hope that ‘it won’t always be this way.’ Sometimes you just feel emotionally constipated (pardon my imagery), and it just makes the trying times worse. When you hear someone articulate your pain with a message of hope, well… that sort of gift is priceless. I hope to do the same for many people some day.”
For a taste of Nathanael Bryce’s unique sound, check out the following video for his single:
I Am Revival – Nathanael Bryce
You can also support Nathanael’s musical endeavors at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/586302814/nathanael-bryce-debut-album or like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NathanaelBryce/ .
For those who enjoy a more upbeat sound, Nathanael also produces electronic music under the alias Goshen Sai. “Nathanael Bryce allows me to be spiritually blunt in a ballad or more upbeat backing, while Goshen Sai is often a bit more lyrically subtle in a strictly dance music world,” this Christian artist explains. To learn more about Goshen Sai, check out https://www.facebook.com/GoshenSai/ or https://www.soundcloud.com/Goshen-Sai .
Finally, we asked Nathanael what advice he would give to other Christian artists who are working to get their message out there. “If you feel called to be an artist who is a Christian or even a Christian artist (there is a difference) then expect a battle,” Bryce answered. “Expect a wilderness. Expect delays, hinderances, and trials. Expect every ounce of your character to be tested over and over again. This is a beautiful thing – it’s proof you are a child of God, and not just some random creative hoping someone will appreciate your portion. He disciplines, reproves, and tests us because He wants us to come to a place of total contentment in Him first and foremost. Don’t ever let your dream to create become an idol. He is and always will be our prize at the end of the day.”
“Don’t ever let your dream to create become an idol. He is and always will be our prize at the end of the day.” – Nathanael Bryce
Are you a Christian artist or writer who would like to be featured as part of my Featured Christian Artist Series? Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a brief list of interview questions will be sent to you!