Jonathan Nelson is enjoying better days in this season of his life. His radio single, “Expect the Great,” has been well received on radio stations nationwide and his new CD, Better Days, is a top 10 hit.
The composer and his family recently relocated to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where he’s joined the staff of The Faith Center Ministries.
Rewind a decade to when Nelson lost his job with a computer software company. “Around 2001 when all of the dotcoms went down, I was unemployed and that’s when my passion for writing came alive,” Nelson said in a statement. “I began to write all these songs because I was living off of unemployment. That process took me through a whole thing because of my experience. The song `Healed’ definitely came out of that.” Then, gospel star Donald Lawrence heard Nelson perform the song at a music workshop. “When Donald heard `Healed’ he said, `I’m gonna record that song.’”
Lawrence did record the song and took it to the Top 10 in 2005. The icing on the cake was that the song won Nelson the Stellar Award as Songwriter of the Year in 2006. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, presented him with the award. “I was so shocked that I won,” Nelson added, “that I didn’t even realize that it was Aretha who gave me the award.”
Since then, Nelson has composed hits for artists ranging from Bishop T.D. Jakes to Youth for Christ which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 with his tune, “The Struggle Is Over.” These hits led Integrity Music to sign Nelson to a contract. His debut CD, Right Now Praise, was released in 2008. The radio single, “My Name is Victory,” spent 65 weeks on Billboard’s gospel chart and won him a Best New Artist of the Year Dove Award nomination.
The buzz of Nelson’s success led to a job offer to become Minister of Music at The Faith Center Ministries in Ft. Lauderdale where he has relocated from his native Baltimore with his wife, Christina, and their two children. “They love it,” Nelson said of his new home. “We have sunshine everyday. When it’s cold up north, nine times out of 10, it’s warm down south.”