Popular songwriter, producer and recording artist Freddy Washington, who has earned Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award nominations for his songwriting and production work with the likes of Hip Hop luminary Da’ T.R.U.T.H. and Gospel Dream winner Melinda Watts, releases his debut, double-disc project,The Jesus Record today.
The singer/songwriter is in the midst of Release Week activities, including a flurry of media interviews and coverage, including CCM Magazine, New Release Tuesday, Fusemix, Life Lessons Radio, SnT Radio, REVMedia Network and others. Bonnerfide Radio hosted an on-air CD Listening Party on the eve of the independent release.
“Whatever you do, pick up The Jesus Record from Freddy Washington!! Our Listening Party for the album last night was an incredible success, to say the least,” says Gerard Bonner of Bonnerfide Radio. “Simply put, Washington has the all-important ‘it’ factor. From songwriting to production to artistic execution, everything he does is done with precision and unparalleled excellence. This will be a project that our industry will talk about for years to come. Don’t hesitate. Add The Jesus Record to your library today!”
Skirting the edges of Gospel, Hip Hop, R&B and pop, with hints of Washington’s early influences Phil Collins, Andrae Crouch, Michael W. Smith and Kirk Franklin, the songs on The Jesus Record feel right at home on both contemporary Christian and Gospel radio formats.
Although both of Washington’s parents were heavily involved in the music ministry — his father, who guests on the CD, is the famous Gospel pianist Freddy Washington, Sr. — the younger Washington says he felt no compulsion to get involved with either music or the ministry.
“I’ve seen kids who had parents in ministry who either embraced the ministry out of a sense of obligation, or who turned their back on ministry out of a sense of frustration or rebellion. That wasn’t my experience,” Washington explains. “Both of my parents were really great examples of serving in ministry. They didn’t force me into it. I was involved in sports and all the other things that teenage boys are interested in, and they were very supportive of that. I started playing piano just because I wanted to learn music. I wasn’t ministry minded at the time. But at a certain point during my teenage years, the Lord used the music to draw me into a closer relationship with Him. As a result, I developed a deep passion to serve God in the ministry and it’s been going strong ever since.”
Lyrically, The Jesus Recordunderscores Washington’s desire for leading believers in worship. Every song on the project is designed to point listeners back to the Gospel.”It’s about the perfect love, peace and hope that is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Washington says of his unwaveringly intentional approach. “It’s the greatest story of redemption and salvation that the world will ever know.”
With his Gospel music pedigree and production and songwriting experience in both the Hip Hop and Gospel genres, one might have a preconceived notion about what a Freddy Washington solo project will sound like. Any preconceived notion would likely be wrong.
“I begged my father to teach me to play, and every once in a while he would show me a few things on the piano, but he wanted me to develop my own style,” Washington recalls. “I started out playing by ear, and then I went to the University of the Arts and studied classical and jazz piano. Of course I picked up some of my father’s technique just because I watched him all the time. I grew up listening to a combination of modern Gospel, like the Hawkins Family and Kirk Franklin, and ’80s pop, like Phil Collins and Michael W. Smith. The result is that I make the music that inspires me. My music has become something of a hybrid, a melding, if you will, of both the Gospel and CCM genres, two categories of music that continue to greatly influence me and my songwriting.”
The Jesus Record gives Washington the opportunity to fully express his passion for worship and exhortation, while exploring a plethora of upbeat, alt-pop rhythms to accentuate his encouraging, Christ-focused lyrics. He launches the project with swaying Latin cadences to accentuate his joyful declaration hymn, “Traded,” then exponentially cranks up the joy factor on the happy urban-pop anthem, “Just Wanna.” Lush synths, peace-evoking piano and meditative strings accompany Washington’s encouraging exhortation ballad, “316,” which draws on the classic verse from the Gospel of John for inspiration.
Washington displays remarkable stylistic range on the soaring, orchestral, multi-layered radio single, “Jesus.” It is impossible not to get happy on the bouncy pop anthem, “He Understands.” Washington gets a little funky on the jazzy “Because of You,” then gets downright militant on the declaratory battle hymn, “We Are The City.”
Although Washington wrote all 17 songs and produced The Jesus Record himself, he has never considered himself a one-man show. He shares the studio with his father, Bishop Freddy Washington, Sr., on the Gospel barnburner, “I Love You.” Melinda Watts lends her stellar vocals to the peaceful ballad, “The Master’s Hand,” and Chrystal Rucker joins Washington on the lovely and encouraging, “There is a Place.” Bryon “Mr. Talkbox” Chambers is featured on Washington’s “I Need You.”
Photo caption, top: Freddy Washington’s debut, double-disc CD, The Jesus Record, releases today. (Cover art by Jas Knight)
Photo caption, bottom: Popular producer, songwriter and recording artist Freddy Washington has earned Grammy, Stellar and Dove Award nominations with the likes of hip hop luminary Da’ T.R.U.T.H.and Gospel Dream winner Melinda Watts. (Benedict Campbell photo)