My old “bio” is at the bottom of this page. It was written in 2016. A lot has changed… but I felt that I would keep it on this page because that was accurate and true at that time and part of my testimony. My new bio, which is really just more of my testimony, is below!
I’ve been pursuing my music career for over 12 years… I’ve always been passionate and dedicated, and always put my heart into it… but my heart was ugly, broken and full of pride, and the true purpose behind why I was pursuing music was not what it was supposed to be.
I was caught up in the ways of this world and chasing the things it promises… money, status, recognition, fame. My prideful heart had made music, and more specifically the things I was wanting out of it, an idol at the center of my life. And even though I’ve lived my entire life claiming to be a Christian, up until a few years ago my heart was far from the Lord. And the content of my music reflected that.
I couldn’t see it at the time. If I would have, I would have done things differently a long time ago. But as time went on and I started seeing more and more of what I thought I wanted, I got more and more caught up in the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
In September of 2016, right before I released my album “Made For This” I had an encounter with the Lord. I had been going to church faithfully for over a year at this point and some areas of my life had started to see some change, but music was still something I kept from God and did entirely what I wanted with. But as I sat in my studio during a very bizarre, but life changing occasion, with the pastor and a few others members from my church, sharing the select few songs that were acceptable for an audience like that, God got my full attention!
As I shared the small selection of music I had picked out and we talked and I shared my testimony, my pastor, Pastor Gary Napp, stopped me in the middle of one of the songs. He pointed to the Forever Fly banner on my wall. Having known nothing about my music prior to that time in the studio, he asked me what that logo and the “forever fly” was. I explained it was the label I started in Flint years ago and it was my brand that all my music was tied to. He said that’s kind of what he figured when he first walked into my studio but he had to stop me and ask because the Lord had just connected and confirmed something in his spirit.
This meeting at my studio was supposed to take place the week prior, but had to be rescheduled. I was unaware why but he began to tell me that he had forgotten there was a board meeting at the church. At the board meeting they were going over the “Unlocked” building fund campaign that was going to be introduced to our church the following weekend, and as a part of that Sunday service, everyone was going to get a key when they walked in. At the meeting they had a big bucket full of keys that everyone had been collecting. He said “they passed around this big bucket full of keys and I reached in and grabbed one… it was one of the weirdest keys I had ever seen. But the Lord told me to keep it. It didn’t make sense, but I put it in my pocket and I kept it. Then today when we were getting ready to leave the house I had the key sitting next to my wallet and my keys and the Lord told me to put it in my pocket. So I did. I forgot I even had it… you’re sharing your music and your testimony and there’s no doubt the Lord has given you an incredible gift and talent… but then I look up and I see these wings!” And he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the key… He said “the Lord wanted me to give you this key!” and he hands me a key that has WINGS on it! He said “there’s no doubt that the Lord has gifted you with music. Just in what you’ve shared I can hear it and I can feel it. Trust Him with it! He has incredible things He wants to do through you with your music… and once you give it all to Him and let Him use you for His glory… man! I can’t wait to see what He is going to do with it!”
And in THAT VERY MOMENT I was convicted and my life would be forever changed! That was just a week or so before my album dropped, and I had big plans to push it. I had got 1,000 CDs pressed up, ordered a ton of merchandise, had shows lined up all over Michigan… I already had it figured out… at least I thought! All of that was already in motion when that meeting had taken place. So I began to fulfill all the plans and commitments I had made… but I couldn’t get that key and what was spoken to me out of my head.
It wasn’t long until I began to really meditate on the words “trust Him with it” and “give it all to Him”. And as I looked at everything I was doing, as “successful” as I thought it was, I began to realize that I was not trusting the Lord with my music. Nor had I given any part of it to Him. It was all about me.
I slowly began to pull out of some of my engagements to do shows and stopped going out as much, and I felt the desire in my heart to write music for the Lord. I never denied the fact that my talent was God-given… I just did what I wanted with it. But He began to speak to me and tell me that He gave me the talent for a reason and a purpose. And I knew that my music to that point was not in line with that purpose.
So I started trying to write new Christ-inspired music… but was worried about what people would think and the fans I might lose and the connections that might be shaken if I went too far with it… so I tried to write music for the world, that all my fans would still like and all the clubs would still put in rotation… and just sprinkle a little Jesus here and there. And that didn’t work for now obvious reasons (you can’t serve two masters). But I was so worried about losing what I had built… I had been doing it for 10 years and had given my all to it. Whether it was for the Lord or not I had dedicated everything to it… and I wasn’t ready to let it go.
I spent almost 9 months battling with trying to write music that would be pleasing to God but still pleasing to the world, coming up with absolutely nothing, to the point where I was very close to quitting all together. I was questioning if maybe God was just calling out of music entirely because I obviously couldn’t do it anymore.
I spoke with Pastor Gary a few times during this transition and he would tell me every time… “you got one foot in for the Lord and you got one foot still in the world. You gotta go all in! Once you give it all to him you will find what you’re looking for!”. And as good as that sounded and as much sense as it made, I still wasn’t to the point of being willing to give it all up. I knew that’s what the Lord was calling me to do. To walk away from everything I had done and known prior… and I was still battling a prideful heart, so the thought of losing what I had worked so hard for was upsetting to me. (If you can’t tell, deep down it was really all about me, me, me… and that’s EXACTLY why it all needed to change).
After battling and praying and going back and forth the Lord finally gave me a revelation. He told me “you are so worried about what you have done and what you have built… when that’s all stuff you did without my blessing and my anointing. Those are the doors you were able to open and the things you were able to do on your own… just THINK about what you can do when I’M THE ONE opening the doors and leading the way! When your music is honoring and glorifying to my name, there is no limit to where I will take you and the things I will do through you!”
When I got that word from Him I realized I was holding on to what seemed like a lot in my eyes but in His eyes was microscopic. And while I was holding onto what was in my hands, I was unable to receive what was in His. Once He gave me that revelation, I had peace. I hit my knees and I gave it all to Him! My song “Your Will” was written the very day that happened!
I spent the next year completely removed from the music scene. Because even though I had made a decision and surrender in my heart and my mind… there was still a LOT that the Lord needed to show me, teach me, remove from me, add unto me… there were a lot of lies I had believed and things that I had worshiped and chased after that He needed to rid my heart and my life of. My focus was strictly on drawing closer to Him! I got in His word and started reading my bible daily. I asked Him to show me thing things in my life that needed to change, and I asked Him to change them or help me to be able to change them. I started chasing after Jesus with all my heart!
Almost 2 full years after I was convicted in my studio, and a year and a half of being completely removed from music… after He had done a complete work and changed me from the inside out and written a brand new song on my heart… the Lord called me back to the studio and back to what I loved! And I began working on my first Christian album titled “Changed”! I can’t even put into words all that the Lord has done in my life and showed me these past few years. I am just so thankful that He loved me enough to continue to pursue me even after I spent SO MANY years not even acknowledging Him.
I pray that my story of redemption, the music I write going forward, and more than anything the Jesus living inside of me would inspire people to take a look at their own life! I’m not here to condemn or speak down on anyone. I was living a life that was full of sin for so many years, so I cannot speak as if I’m better than anyone. I’m here to encourage! Encourage you to give your life and your passions and your dreams to the Lord… and just WATCH what He will do with them! And I want you to know that Jesus did not come to condemn anyone either, but to save them! The blood He shed on the cross was just as much for you as it was for me, and if He could reach and save me to then turn me and use me for His will and His glory… He can do the same for you!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Born in Kalamazoo, MI on November 17th, 1988, Jonathan “JP” Sauser spent his early years on Kzoo’s North Side. Trials and tribulations were no stranger to JP growing up. From lead poisoning as a young boy which lead to his ADD, ADHD, Short Term Memory Loss, and Tourrettes Syndrome and doctors telling his mother he most likely would not make it through grade school without special education classes to his dad’s being diagnosed with cancer given a 33% chance of living three years to his best friend being shot and killed and his dad eventually losing his fight with cancer, hardships and heartbreaks became almost formality. But JP credits his struggle, stating “if it wasn’t for the things I went through and had to deal with in my life, the difficult situations I’ve faced and the loved ones I’ve lost, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.” And this is very apparent in his music.
JP has been listening to and enjoying Hip Hip/Rap/R&B music since he can remember and would write lyrics during class with friends in high school but it wasn’t until age 17 after he had moved to Flint that he really began creating his own music. “I would go to the local clubs and see people my age on stage performing their own music. At first I thought ‘that’s really cool’, but before long I started thinking ‘I can do that!’ And that’s what really influenced me to write and record my very first track.”
After receiving some positive feedback on his first few recordings JP decided to run with it. “Looking back, I feel like that positive feedback early on was one of the most critical moments in influencing me to pursue music. Had I got negative feedback that early on, it very well may have discouraged me to the point I never took it any further.” JP spent a couple years rapping with friends and performing at small local venues but claims it wasn’t something he was taking all to seriously and was not personally invested at that time. It wasn’t until his dad was diagnosed as terminal and given 6-9 months to live that JP really spilled his heart on a song and found out what music could truly do for him emotionally and how much passion and talent he really had. He wrote a song for his dad called “In My Heart” in which he expressed how much he loved him and how much he meant to him, how heartbroken he was by the situation, and how he would never forget him and always keep him in his heart.
“I can’t say goodbye, when I try my heart breaks and it starts to bleed. It’s getting so hard to breathe, I grab my pillow at night and I cry til’ I fall asleep. Tears filling up my eyes make it hard to see, I know I’m running out of time and it’s scarring me. But you’ll always be a part of me, I’ll always keep you in my heart with me.” - chorus
It was at that point that JP started to see his potential. The feedback he started getting on that song for his dad was unlike any he had received before. People were truly moved by it. It touched them on a personal level. They felt it! “It was then that I realized that’s what it’s really all about! And that’s what I want my music to do!” That was the moment music shifted from a pastime and a hobby to a true passion and became something JP would give his all to. And from that moment on his music became much more personal. It became less of a facade and more of a true look into his heart and soul.
That year he lost his best friend Ckali and his dad months apart. He claims music played a big part in helping him cope and deal with those losses. He went on to purchase equipment and build himself a professional grade home studio where he spent the majority of his free time. He also started his own label called Forever Fly Entertainment.
JP knew that while making it big with his music was definitely a real possibility and something he would strive for he also needed a plan B so he could pay bills and fund his passion for music. He received his degree in Graphic Design, graduating at the top of his class, and eventually moved back to Kalamazoo for a design position. “I have two full time jobs. My day job… my 9-5, and then music… my 5-9. I grind 24/7!” JP currently handles every area of his music career on his own. From writing, recording and mixing/mastering all of his own tracks to doing all of the art and design work to booking all of his shows and distributing all of his music and merchandise. His dedication and grind is truly unmatched by most.
No stranger to hard work, JP has released 7 projects to date! The most recent, his solo album ‘Made For This’ which fans claim is “the best $10 they’ve ever spent on a CD”. This album can be purchased or streamed on his website www.jphiphop.com as well as iTunes and is expected to be on Pandora Radio by November of 2016. JP also has featured on several tracks with major artists such as French Montana, JR Writer, Bone Crusher and Jadakiss.
“With every song and every project I do I become more and more invested, more and more confident in my skills, and find and define myself more and more as an artist. I have never been as hungry and motivated as I am right now. I know it’s not a matter of if, it’s just a matter of when.” JP says he’s hopeful for the future and his music career and with his new album gaining traction he should be!
JP always enjoys interacting with and hearing from his fans so if you have not connected with him yet visit his website or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jpdatboi. And if you have not heard his music yet take a minute and check it out at www.jphiphop.com. You wont be disappointed!