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July 11, 2014, 10:40 pm

Jason Nelson: ‘Shifting the Atmosphere’ of gospel

He has a debut single that’s burning up the radio airwaves, gospel music industry moguls like Marvin Sapp praise his musical talents and he’s toured with Kirk Franklin — arguably one of the greatest contemporary gospel icons in modern history. This incredibly talented gospel artist is Jason Nelson’s CD titled “Shifting the Atmosphere” drops May 22; it’s a must-have for lovers of gospel music.

“Shifting the Atmosphere” is Jason’s major label debut on Verity Records, the largest gospel music label in the U.S. Before this new CD release, Jason recorded several albums: Place of Worship (2008), Brand New Day (2006) and I Shall Live (2005).

Nelson, 38, was recently in Philadelphia at F.Y.E. music store (May 18) for a CD signing of his new release. Before his store signing, the Tribune caught up with Nelson for an exclusive one-on-one interview in the lobby of the very posh Hotel Palomar – Philadelphia on 16th Street. Commenting about the success of his single and the release of this new CD, Nelson shared, “It’s very humbling to know that God’s Hand is really on this song and that people are really embracing it … it’s helping people express themselves from a spiritual and worship perspective, so, that’s why it’s working.”

The New York Times hailed Nelson’s “Shifting the Atmosphere” as a “… religious quiet-storm ballad, with percussion chimes and rustles and traces of wah-wah guitar, about the effect of a powerful unseen force. For (Jason) the unseen force is prayer; for you it may be something else.”

“I think (“Shifting the Atmosphere”) is resonating because people are trying to find ways to express how they really feel about God … and this song really speaks to that,” shared Nelson. Nelson believes that his song, “Shifting the Atmosphere,” is one of those songs that can be recited to help usher people through their most difficult life moments.

Nelson recalls the epiphany he had to write this song, in 2010, “I was literally on a train, on my way to New York, and the words just dropped in my spirit … I stopped what I was doing, I picked up my phone, I didn’t have a pad with me at the time, I picked up my phone and I typed (the lyrics) into my phone … not knowing how significant those words were going to be … I’m very grateful.”

There’s no shortage of positive feedback from the gospel community regarding Nelson’s musical talents and performing skills: “Jason Nelson is an example of the new generation of incredible talent being birthed in gospel music. The voice, the character, the lifestyle speaks hope to those who are searching for authenticity,” shared Kirk Franklin.

“We’ve been fans since Jason’s first album. It was obvious then, as it is now, that he’s God’s man. This song is just another reminder. What a blessing,” shared the Grammy award-winning gospel duo of Mary Mary.

Before going solo, for several years, Nelson had sung and performed with Gospel great Donald Lawrence, and Donald had this to share about his protégé: “Jason Nelson is a former Donald Lawrence & Company member and is by far one of my favorite male singers. The ability, warmth and tone of his voice just (does) it for me! Get ready for Jason Nelson, a timeless gift and (an) amazing talent.”

Marvin Sapp offered this about his friend Nelson, “Jason Nelson is probably the most gifted and prolific singers of our time. I believe that everyone should have this CD as part of their collection. It will really minister to you in a powerful way.”

 “These people don’t have to be nice, but for them to take the time to articulate how my ministry has impacted them, it’s amazing. Marvin (Sapp) is a really good friend of mine, we get compared a lot,” said Nelson. Nelson wrote “Thirsty” the title song of one of Sapp’s biggest chart topping CDs, in addition to other hit songs.

Nelson maintains a level head about receiving such praise from gospel music’s super elite, “It’s humbling, very humbling. Not only are they peers … they are people I look up to and some of them I have really good relationships with … you never know how artists view your music … and to know that they really appreciate what I do, it’s exciting and humbling at the same time,” said Nelson. Nelson is no stranger to the gospel community; he’s played bass guitar for some legendary gospel artists like Yolanda Adams, Karen Clark Sheard and BeBe Winans, to name a few.

Many artists have favorite songs that have greatly influenced them, for Nelson, there are many. But recently, he’s drawn inspiration from one song by the Gospel group Forever Jones that’s been a great encouragement to his spirit, “They have a song called, ‘Just The Way’ — it’s a song from God to us, it’s something about the way the lyrics play out … it’s something about how the lyrics speak to me and how that song is performed.”

Nelson and his wife Tonya are parents of a 12-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. “My family is my first ministry,” declares Nelson. In addition to having a potential chart-topping CD, Nelson, a native of Maryland, is the senior pastor of the Tabernacle of Greater Bethlehem Temple Church in Baltimore.