Gospel artist Jonathan Nelson opened up to Atlanta Black Star about his music as well as his support for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
He describes his seventh studio album “DECLARATIONS,” set to drop Friday, September 14, as a conversation with God. “It’s us talking to God, making a confession to God about who we are in him but it’s also, I feel like, it’s his response to us. Like there is one song that says ‘Jesus I love you’ and a song that says ‘I agree:’ I agree with what you’ve already declared in your word about me…it’s conversational in my opinion,” said the Stellar Award Winner.
Nelson, twin brother of gospel singer Bishop Jason Nelson, explained that the 12 songs were birthed out of the heart of God.
“I always open myself up to whatever download comes from God,” he said Tuesday. “Some mornings I would just wake up at 5 in the morning. Some mornings I would be driving to the airport and as I’m doing that … I would just sing into my voice memo, and I would just start singing.”
He said that’s how “Redeemed” came to be, and afterward he took the memo to his long-time producer, Kenneth Shelton, who put music to the vocals.
“I was like, ‘Yo! that’s something right there!'” he recalled thinking.
Outside of music, Nelson has also been paying attention to some political events that have been making headlines, like Kaepernick’s addition to Nike’s “Just Do It” 30th-anniversary campaign.
Kaepernick drew criticism and acclaim in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem as a San Francisco 49er to protest police brutality. He’s been unable to secure another contract since the 2016 season and is suing the NFL for collusion in his apparent blackballing from the league.
“He’s using his platform to become a voice especially for the African-American community,” Nelson says of the athlete before noting, that he lives in Florida, the state where Trayvon Martin‘s shooting made national attention in 2012.
“I wear this hat with pride today because I support him and I support the brand,” he said, pointing to his Nike cap.
Nelson is one of several celebrities who has come out in support of Kaepernick since the star’s Nike campaign debuted. Others include Viola Davis, who posted a “✊🏿” emoji on Instagram, and Serena Williams, who on Sept. 3 tweeted she was “especially proud to be a part of the Nike family today.” Director Ava DuVernay also tweeted support by saying, “Would you sacrifice comfort, money and security for what you believe in? #ImWithKap.”