Nathan O’Neal is an up-and-coming artist who was born and raised in Florida. He has had a passion for music from a very young age. He grew up hearing his mother and other family members sing in church and other settings. To this day, his family is very active in the musical realm. Nathan fondly recalls driving down the road with his mother and both of them singing songs at the top of their lungs; something his dad and older brother, Nolan, had to endure.
Nathan’s mom and dad realized that he definitely had an ear for music. As a young child, he would watch his dad play the guitar and would pick up chords, which led him to pick out songs for himself. Later, he began showing an interest in the piano after watching his mother play. Nathan would sit down at the piano and put songs together that he heard on the radio. When he was in middle school, his Grandmother gave him the very piano on which his mother and aunts learned to play and he began to take lessons. This ability has been a tremendous asset to his songwriting. Sometimes he’ll play the piano and write songs through the night and into the early morning. God knew exactly what was needed in Nathan’s life to use for His glory later on.
Upon entering high school, Nathan got accepted into a school of the arts. This proved to be very helpful in training him in vocal techniques and forcing him to push his limits in performance. Nathan was given many opportunities to further his education in music and to learn from the best teachers, for which he has always been grateful.
Unfortunately, it was in this period of his life that he, like so many other teenagers, began to allow his life to take a different turn. Although music never left his life, he began to make choices and indulge in activities that left him feeling empty, bitter, and searching for answers. Nathan said “even though I had grown up in church and knew what was right, I was bound and determined to do my own thing no matter what.” He said that he ended up feeling depressed and just wanted to give up completely. At times he felt, why try? After all, in his mind, he had turned his back on the things he knew to be true, and there was a strong pull to continue going in the wrong direction. He became discouraged with school, church and at times, even family. According to Nathan, he just didn’t have peace; nothing was satisfying.
Thank God, Nathan’s story did not end there.
One day, as he was driving to school, he remembers the radio being on a local Christian radio station, which was unusual, but he left it on. As he says now “I know it was all God, all along. He wouldn’t let me change the channel. God wanted to get my attention right there, right then.” The song playing on the radio was “Somebody worth Dying For,” by MIKESCHAIR. One of the lines in that song is “maybe you’re the son who chose a broken road.” Nathan said, “I could not get those words out of my head. God had not left me, I had left God. My eyes were completely opened and I saw things in a new way–from God’s perspective.” Nathan pulled his car off the road and started praying out loud to God; laying everything at the foot of the cross. Nathan said that he reflects on this moment every day. That day represents a new beginning and he is so grateful.
Almost immediately, everything started changing around him. The heaviness he had before started to ease and he found a new desire in his heart to commit himself to the things of the Lord.
It was then that Nathan gave his voice to The Lord. Job 1:21 says, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” Nathan knew without a doubt that his voice was from the Lord and he wanted to give it all back to Him to reach others with his music.
In October 2011, Nathan began recording with Conrad Johnson (from CCM’s duo, Chris and Conrad) at Inertia Sound Studio. Nathan said, “this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Conrad is so down-to-earth. I love the talent he has and the amazing feedback that I get from him. The atmosphere at his studio is so comfortable and professional.” Nathan feels very blessed to be working with Conrad.
Nathan has a unique outlook on his songwriting. “I want my songs to be real, not just entertaining. I want them to be relatable to all ages and, ultimately, turn people back to the Father.” This EP is about real struggles and life’s battles. Nathan hopes this album will bring each person hope and strength.
His title song, “Save Me,” is the first song the Lord gave him and definitely portrays the passion that is burning in Nathan’s heart. In a way, this song will always have a strong, personal meaning to Nathan. It represents a life-changing time for which he will always be grateful.
“You Gave Your Life” makes us take a look at the ultimate sacrifice the Lord made for us, even when we are so unworthy. Nathan comments, ”Without His sacrifice, we would have no hope.”
“Love is Coming Down” is a loud anthem of hope in times of hurt, loneliness, and desperation and quickly reminds us that God is the one we can turn to. He alone can give us complete peace.
“Prisoner of War” is derived from the verse in Romans 7 where Paul states the struggle that people have every day–wanting to do what’s right, but being pulled so strongly to do what is wrong. The analogy of a war zone came to Nathan during his quiet times as he realized we’re all in a battle to keep the faith and stand strong. ”It is only when we lay our weapons down and surrender to God that we find complete victory. Freedom through surrender,” Nathan says.
The last song on the EP is the intimate and personal “I Forgive You.” Nathan states “this song was probably the hardest song for me to write and record. There were so many people that I knew I needed to forgive and that needed to forgive me. These are never easy tasks. It goes against our pride to put ourselves in a vulnerable state and ask for forgiveness.” Nathan reflected on one verse as he wrote this song: Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Nathan says, “If Jesus can forgive me, then I can certainly forgive others.”
As Nathan continues to write music and record songs, he is also beginning a new phase in his life. This month, July 2012, he will begin traveling with a ministry group as their Worship Leader; visiting several states and possibly even other countries.
Nathan has found complete peace and excitement in doing what he loves most: singing and playing songs the Lord has put in his heart, with the hope of bringing others to Christ and encouraging them in their everyday walk.
I Corinthians 16:13-14
“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. Do everything in love.”