(Photo courtesy of Se Oh)
Chem Lab of Connection
An Interview With Jonas Myrin
By Sarah Komisky
The past few years Jonas Myrin has been in the chem lab of connection. Some experiments were trial and error and through it all, Jonas discovered the value of reaching out to others that became a lifeline, especially during the loss of his father in 2020. The acclaimed singer-songwriter found solace in music reinventing a message and sound that spoke into the real struggles he and many of us have faced in the last few years. Upon the release of his newest song, “Mountains,” Jonas sat down with Marked Ministry for an exclusive interview where he opened up about this journey, how he found success in community support and how he hopes others can find the same experiences in their lives via his new musical release. Enjoy.
Hi, Jonas! Great to have you out at Marked Ministry today. Thanks for hanging with us. So, the new release is called, “Mountains.” This name encapsulates so much when it comes to our culture and world. Speak into what this name means to you?
Thanks so much for having me! “Mountains” is a song about the power of faith. This a message that is so important right now with all the fear, division, and challenges that we are facing in the world. It’s inspired by Matthew 17 where it says, “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” An anthem and a message of hope for anyone who’s facing a difficult situation or any mountain in their own life.
This month our theme at Marked Ministry is “Reconnect” where we are talking about getting back to purity in our relationships with one another. And, I am so glad you get to talk about that with us because so much of your music connects to that subject. “Mountains” really does dive into the subject of overcoming and preserving through crisis and trial. How can we help one another relationally, especially post-2020, work through our “mountain” experiences together?
Thank you so much. I’m so glad you guys are bringing up this subject and reminding us of the power of connection. I think the way we can help each other relationally is by creating “safe places” for one another where you can always come as you are, with your doubts and fears, and share your struggles or sorrows in an environment of acceptance and grace. By doing this we can help each other find faith and strength to get through our “mountain” experiences together.
For you, what has been your takeaway relationally coming out of 2020 into the world we live in today? What has been the one thing you would like to pass along when it comes to learning experiences from our relationships with one another?
The pandemic was definitely a challenging time for me. I love traveling, and seeing my family and friends around the world and this is how I get inspired and fueled up to write new music and be the best me. So being alone, stuck in one house for months upon end was really hard. But somehow it was also really good for me. I had to learn the lesson of being intentional with friendships and that it’s actually possible to have community, even when not being in the same “room.” Throughout quarantine I did Zoom hangs and dinners with friends, cooked with family in Sweden, and even did songwriting sessions live online. It ended up being a really beautiful thing and I think we’ve all learned that it’s possible to do life together, wherever we are in the world. Community is not found in a building, it’s found in the heart.
I read a quote where you said, “I’ve always been a believer in the power of music and that a song can inspire and uplift a heart.” How do you hope your music can bring positive change to others?
My prayer for my music has always been that it would be a blessing, and give strength and comfort to people out there who are going through the storm or difficult times. No matter how dark the night might seem, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. For me, songwriting and music have always been about making a difference and touching the lives of others. It’s never been about chasing the charts, it’s about chasing the heart.
On the heels of the prior question, I wanted to ask, you have collaborated with many incredible artists. Which collaboration has been meaningful recently and why?
It was really special to get to work with the incredible Barbra Streisand. I had the privilege of writing and co-producing songs for her with David Foster, for her last album “Walls.” Barbra actually became a huge encouragement to me in releasing my new solo material this year. The first time I met her, she said: “Jonas! I’ve been listening to your demos over and over again, and I just love your voice! You need to be an artist – and not just write songs for others!” I took her advice to heart, and here we are! Thank you, Babs!
“For The Ones We Love.” First off, what a beautiful song and video. It’s extremely moving and hearing the song and watching the music video, I couldn’t help but connect to the message of sacrifice. I think relationships are in so many ways challenging as people because we are human and because we genuinely don’t know how to sacrifice for others. In a “me first” culture, no one has ever modeled us to us and it has led to the breakdown of relationships. Relationally, why do you think sacrifice is needed?
I love the scripture where it says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It’s such a powerful word and one of the hardest things to do in a culture that is all about individuality, self, fame, getting likes on social media and chasing your own dream. The third verse in “For the Ones We Love ” says…“You don’t think twice, to do what’s right/Lay down your pride, lay down your life/It’s what we do for the ones we love.” There is such a treasure found in sacrifice. The greatest of these is love, and love is to lay down your life for someone else. And to lose your life is actually where you find it!
I read a Rolling Stone interview and you shared, “When something is done with love, it is never a waste. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small. It will always be worth it, even if it hurts. Love will always be worth it.” Speak into the place when love ends or dies. How can we find healing, acceptance, and forgiveness coming out of that place?
To surrender and let go is one of the hardest things. But just as the seed has to die for it to burst into life and turn into a flower and the same goes with life and love. Sometimes things have to die to come alive. Some relationships are for just a season and some are for a lifetime. Therefore, it’s so important to hold our dreams and each other with open hands, and not control and strife, but follow where there is joy and grace in relationships. To really love someone is actually to set them free.
In an interview with Kira Gruenberg (Throw the Dice and Play Nice), you opened up on your grief journey that you went through when you lost your father to COVID-19 in 2020. You shared how it was difficult for you to receive love and help when you have been used to being there for others. What did you learn in the ability to receive and accept unconditional love for others in an especially vulnerable time?
Someone said grief hits you like the waves, I found this to be really true. Even when you’re a giving person who loves pouring out to others, sometimes you have to learn to really receive love and allow those around you to help and support you. I found that sometimes the most healing moments were found in just knowing someone cared, or was there, unconditionally loving you with their words, actions, or presence. I was so touched to feel the love and support from my global community in my own journey of grief and realized once again that the true gift of love and friendship is to lift up and carry each other’s burdens.
The pandemic has definitely enhanced feelings of loneliness and isolation. As mentioned earlier, a song can be powerful, especially when it comes to mental health. It can even save a life. How would you hope your song, “Not Alone” gets someone through those feelings of isolation?
The stories and testimonies that have come through “Not Alone” have been so encouraging!
I wrote it when I was going through a hard time myself, so to see this song reach, comfort, and touch hearts out there means the world. Many people who struggle with anxiety and mental health issues have reached out and said “Not Alone” has helped them, given them hope, like a lighthouse in the dark. This is the power of music and why I do what I do. It reminds us no matter what the circumstance or whatever we go through, we are never alone.
Moving forward, tell us what is on the horizon as an artist and songwriter?
I’m in Europe right now promoting “Mountains.” It’s taking off on national radio in both Germany and Holland, so it’s been so amazing to share the message of faith out there. I’ve got some special music coming out soon with Andrea Bocelli which I’m super excited about. I also got new music with Tasha Cobbs Leonard which is really powerful.
I’m also working on the music for a couple of different movie projects right now, it’s been an intense, creative yet rewarding process! So grateful for this season of stepping out and watching this music travel to new places and reach new hearts. There’s truly no mountain that cannot be moved!
Find out more about Jonas Myrin by visiting jonasmyrin.squarespace.com or following on Instagram @jonasmyrin