Cinco de Mayo Spotlight on Jontez

Former God’s Property member Jontez steps into the spotlight for his solo debut on new L.A.-based label Soul2Seoul Records. With immediate comparisons to Justin Timberlake and Usher, Jontez’s debut is a fresh new sound for the Christian music scene!
Though Texas born/California bred rising star Jontez may be a fresh face within soulful pop territories, his musical lineage actually dates back to a diverse run of prominence. Though he’s only in his twenties, the singer/songwriter has spent over a decade in the business, first mounting to local fame via a ministry focused Tejano band. That opportunity sent the youngster on a series of regional touring trips at various churches providing a slew of experiences he’d eventually apply to a worship leadership position at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House. Even more notably, he also was a member of the multi-platinum milestone group God’s Property (whose album was produced by Kirk Franklin) and opened for the likes of Erykah Badu, Amy Grant, Jaci Velasquez and Point of Grace.
“My family on both sides has always been into music, so it’s just the environment I’ve grown up in all my life,” explains the consistently creative force. “Like many Christian homes, I wasn’t allowed to listen to secular music, so I grew up checking out everything from the Gaither Vocal Band to Amy Grant to the Mighty Clouds of Joy. I connected with all sorts of music, which probably explains why I’ve had a handle on so many styles throughout my years of performing.”
And with his latest venture, Jontez is winding down yet another highway of stylistic twists and sonic turns. After many instances of collaborating with others, he’s finally treading solo territory with his bold blend of pop, rock, soul, R&B, Latino and funk influences on And So It Is… (his official SOUL2SEOUL label debut). The project is a culmination of all his previous encounters with a newly discovered stamp of artistic exploration.
“One side of me has come from performing in churches, first having to win them over as just a performer and then leading them in worship,” Jontez observes. “But then an experience like God’s Property comes along and it’s a wonderful training ground for pretty much any type of situation one could ever possibly have as a performer. It stretches you musically and spiritually, while it builds confidence in you just being on stage.”
Aside from those various training grounds, Jontez also spent time in the hip-hop operation Mankynd, which became the catalyst for the switch hitter to branch out individually. Though the Floetry framed group had received numerous offers from various labels following the tenure in God’s Property, SOUL2SEOUL label head Eddie Kim courted Jontez exclusively in hopes he’d go solo. After time of prayer and counsel, all the circumstances clicked and it was off to work in a Los Angeles studio with a crew of top-notch players and producers.
“The timing’s right and it’s all come at a point where I’ve feel like I have a lot on my heart to share and many different musical ideas to express,” Jontez verifies. “I’ve been in the middle of an enormous growing spurt dealing with some positive and negative and I think it translates productively on all planes.”
A primary theme that runs through the record is Jontez’s personal journey of faith, which despite being rooted in the church, has become a rocky terrain at times. Between years of touring the spiritual circuit and always being a leader within his school and family life, the lyricist admits to feeling a bit burnt out and broken down.
“I basically had to let out a cry for help to have my relationship with God be real again and not just something I would participate in because that’s what I was expected to do,” Jontez confesses. “I think it’s something we all go through at some point and after comforting it and seeking a change of direction, I feel like there’s been a huge turnaround in my life.”
Aside from that personally vulnerable thread, the ingenious song sculptor also branched out to an influence palette that includes old school Michael Jackson, Brandy, Whitney Houston plus BeBe and CeCe Winans. Like the latter act who made significant impact in both Christian and secular circles, Jontez hopes his material will be equally effective to each audience.

“My goal is to present who I am and what I’m going through in a way that all can relate and be encouraged,” he offers. “I’m also concentrating on the quality level of every element that goes into the record and have tried tirelessly for that effort to be apparent.”
Amongst the many potential cuts to find dual footing are the booming balladry of “That’s What You Said,” the flamenco flanked “Can’t Get Enough” and the 50 Cent flavored “First Love.” There’s also “Call Me You Own,” an inspirational ode to Jesus’ unconditional love that could at first be interpreted as coming from a boyfriend or girlfriend, along with the redemptive “Rising Son.” Jontez also cites “I Am” amongst his favorites, yet another example where he reaches beyond the box of pop culture Christianity.
“In every instance, I’m basically showing something I’ve gone through or am learning along the way,” he confides. “ ‘I Am’ is one of those songs I found myself writing at two or three in the morning when I was literally just sick of the studio but feeling really passionate about what God was telling me at the time. It’s a reminder letting all know He’s in charge and is the ultimate source of solace, but also the king who’s to be praised. The bridge says ‘I will be what you desire, your affection I require.’ ”
However, this quest of relaying faith over adventurous soundscapes in a world that’s less than privy to the gospel, Jontez realizes he has a challenging road ahead of him. Just being within a stone’s throw of Hollywood has its own set of pressures and temptations, as does approaching any new venture within the music industry at large. But with an unbridled commitment to honesty and excellence while staying grounded in reality, he strives to live out a lifelong calling to serve Christ.
“My prayer is that God would give me the wisdom to deal with it all, everything that may come my way and the people I continue to meet,” Jontez asserts. “I thank God for my training- for all the successes and trials- and I pray He continues to keep me strong in what I’ve been put here to do!”

Jontez And So It Is… releases on (Soul2Seoul Records/WEA/Word Distribution) – In stores August 23rd! For more info
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