‘Jazz Master’ Drew Davidsen: 100% Work +100% Faith

‘Jazz Master’ Drew Davidsen: 100% Work +100% Faith

Early in 2008 Drew Davidsen won a Momentum Award for “Jazz Artist of The Year“. Recording Artist Sean Smith introduced Drew by saying he was “Born to Play the Guitar”. Judging by the recent surge in his career, I would say that the world agrees!  This month, Drew talked with Transparent Christian Magazine and discussed his faith, his music, his heart, and his formula for success.

Transparent: Tell me about your ministry.  When did you know you wanted to do music for a living, and what does being a “Christian Artist” mean to you?
Drew:
I knew after I was baptized in the Jordan River during the Gulf War that all I wanted to do was play guitar. I would play for hours on the ship when I was not working.  I listened to various styles of music from pop to Latin to rock to jazz. If there was a great guitar line in the song I just had to learn it!  I like to think of myself as an artist that is a Christian. I play jazz I believe in God! I believe all the successful artists Christian or not are service minded. They understand how to best serve each venue. You will go a long way when you serve others.

Transparent: During the last year, things seem to have broken open for you and you are gaining momentum right now.  What are you doing differently than you were in the past?
Drew:
One thing I have done is to surrender my career to God. It’s truly His now! I also refined my mission and vision. “Inspiring and empowering others to excellence through the joy of music.” You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Since about 1993 all I wanted to be a professional recording artist and tour the Country. I knew I had a talent to play guitar. I kept thinking why isn’t this going the way I want it to go. The answer was lack of real vision. I had lost that first vision that God gave me in the Jordan River. All God really wanted me to do was play great guitar and beam the light of Christ. Sure… winning awards, and signing to Creative Soul Jazz Records has been awesome! This being said none of that matters if I am not fully surrendered to God! That’s why it’s working now! Also, when there is a Pro-vision God provides provision. These last two years I have really taken the time to get back to the basics of how my journey started. Playing great guitar and taking every sensible opportunity to serve others!

My friend Harry Offutt turned me onto a website called www.indieheaven.com. In 2006 joined and IH helped me to kill the pride, step out in faith, and make a real plan. I felt drawn to IH the first time I visited the site, soon after I took my first trip to Nashville. I went to a retreat with 40 other people discerning their call. 20 were from Indie Heaven. It was there that I first met Keith Mohr President and founder of IH in person. God really spoke to me that weekend. I had things all mixed up! This was the first time God spoke to me about my weight and care of my body!

Transparent: What advice would you have for someone else trying to get involved in music as a full time job… Specifically in the “Christian Music Industry”.
Drew:
It’s all about relationships and serving others. I see this every time I travel to Nashville. I learned this on IH, 100% work + 100% faith = 200% success!  I see aspiring artists that have lots faith but do little or no work. I also see artists that work hard but have little or no faith. It takes both. If you truly believe God has called you then go without any fear! Trust that God will be there for you. Work hard and pray hard. I also believe it’s so important to work smart! May new artists are trying to be bigger when they need to get better. The biggest thing I can say is this though. Do it because you love it. When you love what you do it will show in all you do. I play guitar because I love to play guitar. It’s worship for me when I play a cool guitar lick. I love it!

Transparent: Does a song have to mention ‘Jesus’ or ‘God’ to be a Christian song?
Drew:
{smiles} That’s a loaded question. What makes any song more Christian? I think we need to be creative about how we write or we will not reach the lost. And what about an instrumental hymn? I think God can inspire songs on a variety of topics.

Transparent: How do you define “Christian Jazz’?
Drew:
I really feel like there is only jazz. I would love for someone to show me the Christian notes or the Christian jazz scale. All of my music is inspired by God but I wouldn’t call it Christian jazz per say. However, I do believe that jazz has a way of being spiritual by nature and getting straight to your heart! And yes certain chords and notes can help with that. But it’s still jazz.

Transparent: You mentioned weight loss.  How has that come about?  What has that done for you?
Drew:
This has been huge! Let me  tell you I needed it. I was in a Barns & Nobel in Franklin, TN. having a meeting with Eric Copeland from Creative Soul Records. At that time Eric was in the process of signing me to his new jazz label Creative Soul Jazz Records.  Eric asked me how old I was. I knew where he was going with all this. I must have looked so tired and old. My body was a mess! The next day after our first recording session Eric challenged me to loose 10lbs in the face for a photo shoot. I looked him in the eye and said I’ll lose 20 by our next session. The next time I saw Eric I had lost 30lbs. Right now I weigh 188. I started this journey at Barns & Nobel in TN, weighing in at 235.   That’s 47lbs. I have so much more energy and I feel and look so smooth {laughs}.

Transparent: How is God blowing your mind lately?
Drew Davidsen Jammin'Drew: God has blessed me with some awesome friends and players to help share this new music. This new band I have is a huge boost. Many new venues to play also. Dave Krug (sax) has been in my corner for a long time encouraging me to press on along with IH artist Harry Ofutt too. Working with Eric Copeland and signing to Creative Soul Jazz records is BIG too. I am so excited about how my new music is sounding. I am so ready to travel the world, play guitar, and beam the light of Christ! People seem to be drawn to what I am doing. Both artists and fans in a deep way. It’s all different these days. I finally get it!

Transparent: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Drew: I see myself touring the world on the national jazz circuit. I don’t mean to sound prideful but I see one of my tunes in the billboard top 10 for jazz. I love playing and performing jazz. I also see myself working more closely with young cats that play jazz. Building into youth is a big apart of all this. This way when my time is done they can keep it going. I love to do session work too. I plan to do as much of all of this as the Lord allows. I would also like to design a guitar and have it made for me. I have always dreamed about that.

Transparent: Tell me about one of your favorite shows or experiences lately with your music or ministry.
Drew: This would be playing the 2007 Rehoboth Beach Autumn Jazz Fest Grand jam Party. I got to play with some legends in jazz. That was so cool. At one point there were 17 of us on stage jamming. The venue was packed out at 600 people. I shared the stage with Nick Colionne, Jason Miles, Bobby Lye, Gerald Veasley, and Steve Oliver to name a few. This was a huge boost!

Drew Davidsen live at 8 East!

Transparent: How has Indieheaven helped your business/music/ministry?
Drew:
Indie Heaven helped me to re-energize and be me! For years I was trying to be someone else. I was also coveting what other artists had too. Indie Heaven helped me to learn to be content with where God had me at that time in my life. The more content and thankful I was the more God opened doors. See… God cannot take you somewhere new if you are always complaining about what you don’t have or if you keep comparing yourself to other artists wishing you have what they have, etc… Indie Heaven also taught me about excellence. Not perfectionism but excellence! We will never be perfect but we can strive for excellence!

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The future sounds bright for Smooth Jazz Man Drew Davidsen.  Take a listen to Drew on Indieheaven, or his MySpace page and judge for youself!

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This post was written by:

Jason - who has written 135 posts on Transparent Christian Magazine.

Jason Elkins is the owner and editor of Transparent Christian Magazine and spends his day supporting small business with their web efforts at Keystone Business Solutions. Jason is a father of two, a husband of one and a follower of Jesus.

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5 Comments For This Post

  1. Drew Says:

    Jason, Thanks for all you are doing! I know God is pleased with your portion. D.

  2. ROCKINRON Says:

    love the article – Drew is a great artist who is for sure serving JESUS and others with great guitar playing jazz. thanks JASON for spotlighting DREW DAVIDESEN

  3. David Wright Says:

    Jason great piece on a great guy, musician, and brother.

    Bless Ya Bro

  4. Anita Dudek Says:

    Drew is so listenable! I always know that when I take my friends to hear him they will not be disappointed. Thanks for this wonderful write up.
    Proud Mom

  5. Cherilyn Behran Says:

    It’s amazing how quickly he lost weight. I must say, I am a little green with envy. Still I believe Drew seemed far more comical when he was bigger for whatever reason.

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