Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Matt 28:19-20 (KJV)



Jonathan Nelson

One of six children born in Baltimore, Maryland, Nelson grew up in church. "Everybody in my family works in ministry," he says. "My father, James Nelson, was pastor of Greater Bethlehem Temple Church for over thirty years and my mom served as First Lady." Nelson's family was also musical. "My grandmother played piano," he continues. "I had two uncles who were musicians. We just grew up playing and singing in church."
Nelson's musical abilities were further cultivated while he was a student at the Baltimore School for the Arts and Morgan State University where he studied under the esteemed choir director Dr. Nathan Carter. Nelson was soon traveling the globe and conducting choirs his self and working in the music department at his father's church. About fifteen of his friends and he would also get together and sing at church. When Karen Clark-Sheard was coming to perform at his church, she needed some backing singers and his friends stepped in. "It wasn't a formal group," he recalls. "It was just something we did and after we did that service with Karen, we really enjoyed working together and that's when we became Purpose." 

At the same time, Nelson had found a lucrative and comfortable income as an executive with a computer software company. Then, something happened to fuel Nelson's writing abilities. "Around 2001 when all of the dotcoms went down I was unemployed and that's when my passion for writing came alive," he says. "I began to write all these songs because I was living off of unemployment. That process took me through a whole thing because of my experience. The song `Healed' definitely came out of that."
Purpose had recorded the song "Healed" on their own self-financed CD in 2002. Nelson had met Grammy-nominated choir leader, Donald Lawrence, at a Washington, D.C. workshop in 2000. "When Donald heard `Healed' he said, `I'm gonna record that song.' He felt that message was what God was saying to the church at the time." Lawrence's words proved prophetic and his rousing rendition of "Healed" became a Top Ten gospel smash in 2005. The icing on the cake was that the song won Nelson the Stellar Award as Songwriter of the Year in 2006. He was presented with the award by the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. "I was so shocked that I won," Nelson laughs. "That I didn't even realize that it was Aretha who gave me the award."
Perhaps, the greatest award is that Nelson's songs were now in demand. "I met Troy Sneed at a Gospel Music Workshop of America convention. He said that he had heard a song Purpose recorded called `The Right Place' and that he wanted to record it." Sneed produced the song on Pastor Rudolph McKissick and it became a Top 5 Billboard gospel hit.
















  Name Artist Released  
Right Now Praise Jonathan Nelson 02/01/08
My Name Is Victory
(feat. Purpose) [Live] - Single
Jonathan Nelson 01/29/08