10 Questions with ... Jason Roy
June 3, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Jason Roy - Lead Vocals, Keyboards and Guitar (2000 - present)
- Michael Anderson - Drums (2003 - present)
- Jesse Garcia - Background Vocals, Keyboards, and Guitar (2005 - present)
- Aaron Branch - Bass guitar, Background Vocals (2007 - present)
- Christian Führer- drums (2000-2002)
- Saul Johnson - drums (2002-2003)
- Paul Bowden - guitars (2001-2006)
- Scotty Beshears - Bass (2000-2007)
- 2000 Building 429
- 2002 Flight
- 2004 Space In Between Us
- 2006 Rise
- 2007 Iris to Iris
- 2008 Building 429
- 2011 Listen to the Sound
- 2013 We Won't Be Shaken
1. Brief History...birthplace, childhood, schools, jobs, current hometown
I was born in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and my parents got divorced when I was 5 years old. After moving around Texas after my mom re-married, I moved back to Mt. Pleasant to live with my father and graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School. I enrolled in a state university, but eventually left and became a carpenter before enrolling at North Carolina State. I met my beautiful wife Courtney at college and we have been happily married for 11 years. My former jobs include working in a yacht yard, selling insurance (was horrible at that!), framing houses, ran a smoothie shop, and basically did every odd job you can possibly imagine. I found my calling with music and stayed with that, as I did whatever I could to make it happen. I now live in Clarksville, TN with my wife Courtney, son Avery (9 years old) who is 9 and my daughter Haven (7 years old).
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
After breakfast with my family, I generally have coffee meetings for my 'other job,' which is Worship Pastor at Grace Community Church (gcomchurch.com). After I get done with mid-morning meetings, I usually come home and work in my studio to prepare for rehearsals at church and for Building 429. My children are home-schooled so I usually have lunch with them before finishing up work in the afternoon and then heading to rehearsals in the evenings at Grace Community Church.
When I'm on the road, my family comes with me and my wife and I wake up early and usually go for a run. After breakfast with the kids, my wife sets up Food For The Hungry that is our child sponsorship organization, before heading out to a coffee shop where we home-school the kids all day. Once we get back to the hotel in the afternoon, it's a quick shower, go to the venue, do the band's meet and greets, make sure my wife has our volunteers trained, and then it's showtime. When the concert is over, my wife usually has the kids asleep. I kiss them goodnight before heading back to the hotel for a shower and usually get back to the bus around midnight or 1 am. The following day we get up around 8 am and start it all over again.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now? Why do you like it so much?
The song in my head right now is a song by Matthew West called, Forgiveness. I think it's just a brilliant song and I love the lyric that says, the person that it really frees is you. It's such a powerful lyric, from a great songwriter, who is a good friend that has delivered a great song. Matthew West, you blew that one up, bro.
4. How do I juggle life on the road with wanting to be home? How much do you travel, what are the challenges?
I think juggling is absolutely the right word! In juggling you have two balls that you throw up in the air and you focus on one while peripherally focusing on the others. For me it's like that. I'm a worship pastor at a church, the lead singer for Building 429, and a father. What I've really had to do is eliminate all the extra noise in my life and things I don't need.....like TV. I only watch TV about 30 minutes a day and I barely take time to go out and have fun on any given day. I am very task oriented.
One of the huge blessings in my life is that my wife and my children generally travel with me, and they even have bunks on the bus. Building 429 plays about 150 shows a year and probably around 100 of them a year my wife and kids are with me, so home for me is where my family is.
5. What's the biggest God moment that you've ever experienced, personal or professional?
The biggest God moment I can remember recently was actually on a tour called Winter Jam. We had prayed specific prayers for the record, Listen to the Sound, and we really kind of put God in a box. We prayed, 'God we want to be one of the bands on Winter Jam that has an impact.' We knew that was going to have to be a God thing because Winter Jam wasn't even calling us back at the time. The second thing we prayed was that God would give us another song that would have more impact than Glory Defined did, so we would know God was in it and he wanted Building 429 to continue. After 10 years of doing this there comes a point when you ask, 'God, are you done with this?' 'Do you want us to move on?' Then in the middle of one of our Winter Jam shows, during a video shoot for Where I Belong, the crowd is singing and every cell phone is lit up in the building. We looked with awe as God was making it very clear that he wasn't done with what the band was attempting to do here. Where I Belong went on to become the longest #1 in the history of the Billboard NCA Chart. It's amazing to me after watching all that has happened, and I wrote a song about it that's on our new album, Wrecking Ball (Press On). The lyrics say it doesn't matter where I'm going when I'm going with you, I'll press on. And that's where you will find us today.
6. What's the last book you read?
It's a book called Love Does by Bob Goff. Amazing, amazing book! It's about transferring your thought processes on what failure is and what success is, and seeing the small things as some of the biggest moments of your life. I think Bob Goff really captures that thought process of what it means to be okay with the mistakes that you make and seeing the beauty in the mistakes. I also think he cherishes relationships above anything else. If we could learn to cherish relationships as he has talked about in the book, we'll find ourselves in places of influence a lot more often. Bob is an amazing man and anybody who is able should read it. It's an easy read and it's completely inspirational top to bottom.
7. Tell me about how you became a believer. What caused you to want to serve God in full-time ministry?
I was raised in the church as my grandfather was a music leader, while my mom and her four sisters sang as a vocal group. I heard all the right things at the right times, but I had my faith challenged by a lot of things when I got older and went to live with my dad. It moved me away from the comforts and the shelter of my mom's house, and I found that things I thought were true on the outside were not true on the inside. It was a really hard time for me so I started writing all these songs asking God, 'Where are you?' What's going on?' It really was a hidden talent at first but my confidence grew through the support of my friends when I showed them the songs, but my passion at the time was basketball and I couldn't break away from it... until I ended up in a ambulance with a shattered face from a basketball game. I spent six weeks disfigured while my swelling went down, then my doctor had to re-break my face and put it all together again. It was during that 12 week period of healing, being broken, and re-healing, where I decided, 'You know what man, I've been living for me long enough. God you've given me this gift for music, you've given me this passion, it's the only thing in this life that I really feel like I'm supposed to do.' Even my parents didn't understand it at first, but that's when I decided to chase this ministry of music whole-heartedly and with no back-up plan. God had His hand on me, He led me, He guided and directed me, He took my weaknesses and my mistakes, and He turned them into a beautiful picture of redemption. That's the only reason I'm here today.
8. Tell us about 3-4 songs on your latest project. What's the "story behind the song?"
One of my favorite songs on the album is actually the title track and new single, We Won't Be Shaken. It was written out of the scripture Psalm 62: 1& 2: Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. We just wanted to write a record with a different mentality. We wanted to write a record not about who we were before Christ, the frail, feeble, broken people. We wanted to make a record about who we are in Christ, which is more than conquerors. We wanted to write songs that would inspire people to stand up for their faith. We wanted We Won't Be Shaken to continue the message that while we're here, and what we do with the time we have before we go to our ultimate home, we stand for what we believe. We need to remember that He alone is our rock and our salvation. He is our fortress where we will never be shaken.
Press On is another one of my favorite songs on the new album. It's actually called "Wrecking Ball/Press On," and I talked about it earlier in this interview. Then one night walking off the stage after playing that song during a concert, I went out to the bus and I picked up my daughter's little mini-guitar and I started writing out the frame work of the song. The chorus is what I wrote, I am a mess/I am a wrecking ball/I must confess that I still don't get it all/but I believe that all your words are true/so it doesn't matter where I'm going/if I'm going with you/I'll press on. That's our mantra today. It doesn't really matter where I'm going, as long as I'm going with the author and perfecter of my faith. The one who heals me and gives me strength, so I'll press on.
Bonfire is one of my favorite songs on the record mostly because I get to talk about my mom on it, which is pretty cool. I feel there's something profound in the lyric and it comes off at first as a kind of "We Will Rock You" bam anthem rock song, but if you were to dig a little deeper you would find some lyrics that matter. She filled me with love and she also always said that I would burn anything down if anybody put something in my way, once I had my mind focused on where I wanted to go. She said I was born to be a flame, I was going to light the world. I thought to myself if I was going to be a flame, then I want to light a bonfire.
9. If you could go back and change any events/decisions in your life, what would they be and why?
The first one that comes to mind, which was both a good decision and a bad decision for me, was when I chose to leave my two sisters and live with my father in Texas. I had no idea what kind of trauma that was causing my sisters. Even to this day it hurts what I think about it, but I would not be the person that I am today without that decision. At the same time, that was really a struggle and I didn't have the ability to fully understand the consequences of that decision.
The second decision that I would definitely change is not working hard enough in school and taking my education for granted. I would have gotten my degree. You just don't have the wisdom sometimes at that age, and the only thing that mattered in my life was being a musician. Once basketball disappeared all I wanted in this world was to be a Christian artist and to share the Gospel through music.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead?
I would like to sit down with would be Bono. I think Bono is just a brilliant man, love his story, love who he is, so I would love the opportunity to get to know him a little bit better. He's just a cool guy.