While many baseball teams started training for their 2009 season, Jonny Diaz was putting the final touches on his latest album, More Beautiful You. The project, the fifth for this talented singer/songwriter, is also Jonny’s debut on INO Records. Jonny never planned to release this project on a major label; God made it happen. Just like never planned to go into music at all—he was headed to Florida State University on a full baseball scholarship. But something (or rather Someone) told Jonny to put down the bat and pick up a six-string, which is exactly what he did. And lucky for me, he even had time to do a Take 5 (returning his answers in record speed I might add).
Besides the celebration of your one-year wedding anniversary (congrats!) and a recent birthday (happy birthday!), you also recently signed to INO records. Why did you decide to sign to a major label, instead of continuing as an independent artist?
I’ve never really thought that signing a record deal would mean “I’ve arrived.” I know that God gives me inspiration to write songs. I know that I am supposed to share those songs with as many people as possible. I’ve done that whenever possible for years now! So, when INO records stepped in and said, “We want to help get your message to more people,” it was a perfect fit. I’m still doing what I was doing before, but now I have a team to help me do it.
Now what’s interesting about Jonny Diaz is that you were originally headed to Florida State on a baseball scholarship, but you set down your bat for a guitar instead. I’m sure it was one of those, “Are you serious, God?” moments. Tell me what was going through your mind.
You’re right. It was one of those tough times when God was saying something I did not want to hear. Every time I talked to God, He just spoke to me so directly. So, I did the only logical thing I could do. I tried to ignore God. Obviously, this wasn’t a good idea, but it took time for me to trust what He was telling me. Eventually I wised up. I finally realized that the only way to joy, peace, and contentment is through God’s plans.
You’re about to release your album on a major label, which is an incredible achievement for any musician. But during the journey to this point, did you ever think you heard God wrong? Did you ever think, “God, is this really what you want for me?”
There have been times before I started concerts where I think, “Why am I even here?” Whether the crowd was tiny or perhaps just an interesting demographic, it just didn’t seem like I was actually being used by God. However, sometimes what I perceive as an awkward concert is where God shows up the most. It’s like He’s telling me, “Just trust me, no matter what it looks like.”
Your first single “More Beautiful You” speaks to the heart of girls and women—we never think we’re beautiful…enough. How did you come to write this song?
I still get to play at student camps during my summers. It’s a great chance to get to know the audience for more than just an hour. Last summer I couldn’t help but see that these girls had a huge desire to feel beautiful. At first I wanted to fix it, but then I realized that this was an innate desire from God. I realized that there’s nothing wrong with this. However, a problem arises when these girls use our culture’s definition of beauty. When they start believing that they have to look a certain way (or weigh a certain amount) to be beautiful, that’s where tragedy strikes. I wrote the song to speak truth to these young girls. I know they hear this message from females. But, I wanted them to know that I, a twenty-five year old male, see their beauty from the inside out.
Why don’t you tell me about one of your favorite songs on the new album?
My favorite song on the More Beautiful You record would have to be “Stand For You”. Our culture tries so hard to be open-minded. The funny thing about truth is that it’s always narrow. So, if we’re going to stand up for Scripture, we have to be willing to offend people. We have to be willing to stand alone.
Bonus Question (from BFF Sarah): What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
When I was nine years old, my family of six people piled in our conversion van for an entire summer. We visited about twelve different major league baseball stadiums. We actually got to see Nolan Ryan pitch his 300th win. It was awesome!