Singer/songwriter Jason Fowler is gearing up for the release his highly-anticipated project I Fall In. The debut Christian album will be available exclusively at LifeWay bookstores and online nationwide May 13, 2016 through New Day Distribution and RCity Records. In anticipation of the full-length project, RCity Records will launch a digital pre-order on April 22 for I Fall In via iTunes, offering fans three sneak peek tracks for select singles "You Give Me a Reason" (featuring Peter Furler), "Come Alive," and "Broken Vessels" (featuring Jillian Edwards).
Hallels: Jason, thanks for your time. You had quite a career in rock music, tell us a little about your involvement with the various rock bands and some of your achievements in rock music.
JF: I bought my first guitar and started playing at age 16. My dad soon after told me he would buy me a brand new guitar if I learned to play "Jessica" by The Allman Brothers Band. He was thinking maybe a couple of weeks. To his surprise, I ended up playing it for him that afternoon. That was just the beginning. From there I went on to play in several bands and started touring the college circuit. I formed a band called Ultraphonic. We put out several albums with Bryan Holmes of The Producers and ended up entering a contest for a record contract on GarageBand.com. We won the $250,000 grand prize and ended up going to Muscle Shoals to record a new record with Johnny Sandlin (Widespread panic, The Allman Brothers Band) producing. After we finished the record the label sold to Microsoft and was no more. My dream was falling apart.
Hallels: Then you became involved in drugs, how did that happened? And why? What was the attraction of drugs?
JF: By this time I had a pretty big alcohol and drug habit going. When I first started drinking it was around the time I started playing guitar. I grew up in an alcoholic family and always said I'm never gonna drink or do drugs. Being a teenager and wanting to fit in I ended up taking a drink with a friend and his older brother. They asked me to go hang out and I just wanted to be accepted and "cool." I really didn't want to drink but wanted to fit in. The alcohol killed the fear and made me feel like I was funny, liked, and comfortable in my own skin...it was liquid courage. I got sick and in trouble the first time I took a drink but said "I'm going to do that again." I was raised in a Christian home but that is when I started to get away from church and God. I was drinking to cope and ended up starting to smoke pot. These things gave me a false sense of spirituality. As my rock n roll career started growing, I just accepted that alcohol and drugs were just a part of the lifestyle.
Hallels: When was your turning point? What prompted you to give your life to Jesus?
JF: By the time we got the record deal I had a big drug and alcohol habit. I had long passed the point of drinking and drugging for fun. I just drank and used drugs to hide and to numb my pain. I was now having to do it to survive. They had me. I never dealt with problems. My actions of making bad choices and being self-centered trying to stay high created some bad consequences. All of my problems started piling up. My relationships with others and myself were all broken. I was trying to stay afloat the only way I could. The band broke up after the record label sold out. I ended up trying a solo career in Atlanta with ImageMil. They were starting a label and had worked with big acts like Pink, Usher, and TLC. It had gotten so bad that they did an intervention with me. Imagemil told me they couldn't work with me because I was addicted to alcohol and drugs. I couldn't hold a job, couldn't keep relationships together, didn't like who I was, and didn't have a relationship with Jesus. I was hopeless and ended up homeless. At the very end I was kicked out of a drug dealer's house. It was raining, I was crying, and didn't have anywhere to go. Right there I said "God, whoever You are, whatever You are, please help me."
Next thing I know I was in a Christ based homeless shelter in Athens, Ga. I studied the 12 steps based on the teachings of Jesus. I started to feel better and get better mentally, physically, and most of all spiritually. I went to a men's conference after I had been sober for six months. That's where I gave my life to Jesus. I had been trying to find that love and fill this hole inside of me with things of the world. That place inside all of us was made for Him. I realized that He never left me. I chose to leave Him. Like the prodigal son, Jesus celebrates our coming home to Him...He loves us, and will never leave or forsake us. We are forgiven through and by Jesus. After I accepted Jesus in my life, everything started to get better and better. It's like a country song backwards. I started getting my life, my family, my friends, and myself back. I started getting involved in church and became a worship leader. I currently lead worship at Celebrate Recovery as well. I love serving, giving back and sharing the story of redemption. Jesus saved my life and I want to share my story, your story, His story of Love, Grace, and Redemption through music.
Hallels: I believe you are currently a worship pastor and you have a new Christian album coming out. Scott Kennedy, Lifeway Christian Bookstores says that your style of music is "a blend between Southern Rock and Hillsong," would you agree with that?
JF: I love Hillsong, Passion, Elevation, Bethel, and their style of worship. To me music is the universal language God has given us to express our hearts. I used to play music and write songs for me and about my experiences. After I got sober 10 years ago, I felt a calling to use the talents God has given me to sing His truth and word. My first album "Letters from the Inside" is my story of Rise, Fall, and Redemption. My new album "I Fall In" is a collection of devotions and prayers. Being from the south, I do feel a lot of what I write and sing comes across as southern. I believe people connect to an artist singing about something they believe in as well. The truth will set you free. Singing about Jesus is the truth.
Hallels: Why did you entitle the new record "I Fall In"? What are you most excited about with this new album?
JF: "I Fall In" is the title track to a song featuring Joy Waters Fowler. She is my aunt and has led worship with my uncle for 20 years in Atlanta. I love the song and it's about keeping our eyes on Jesus through all of our ups and downs. It's about surrendering our problems, our will, and our lives over to Jesus.
I got together with my producer Billy Smiley and my pastor Jason Becker for a lot of the songs on this album. I wanted to go deep into scripture and share the truths of his word through song. I'm most excited about sharing these songs and singing them together on the road. I'm playing a lot of Christian music festivals this year and really look forward to worshiping and sharing the songs with everyone. For tour dates go to www.jasonfowlermusic.com.
Hallels: Jillian Edwards and Leigh Nash are some of the guests who sang with you on this album. How did you get to work with them? What was it like working with them?
JF: They are amazing. Billy Smiley has worked with both Jillian and Leigh in the past. When we started pre-production for the album, he felt like they would be a great addition to the songs "Broken Vessels" (Amazing Grace) and "Family." They both have very distinct voices and I love the way they bring their passion and talent to "I Fall In." It's been amazing working with all of the talented artists.
Hallels: Besides music and worship, I believe you and your wife have a ministry towards the homeless, tell us more about this.
JF: Hearts Across Atlanta is a ministry that reaches out and helps the homeless. We provide meals, clothing, toiletries and other needs to our brothers and sisters. We have gatherings were we just love on people. We play music, dance, eat, hug, laugh, smile, cry, and share the Gospel. I believe Jesus has made each one of us to love Him and love our neighbors. I get to listen to their stories and share my story of redemption. I relate with what they are going through whether it is addiction, feeling lost, and even hopeless. I also get to share our hope and faith in Jesus with them. It's funny, a lot of the time we are the ones that get ministered to.