Jason Cox: I’m a staff writer at Daywind Music and have had the opportunity to write for a variety of genres over the years. In the Gospel world I predominately write progressive southern, worship, and print music for the church.
CU: How did you get your start in songwriting?
I was in middle school when I began writing songs. I grew up playing in my church orchestra and by the time I was 14 began traveling full time during the summer with a group of friends leading worship across the southeast. I wrote throughout that period of time and recorded my first album as a senior in High School. Growing up in Jacksonville Florida, I received a flyer in the mail about entering a nationwide songwriting contest that was being held in Nashville. I entered a song, came to Nashville for the event and ended up winning the contest. I think that experience gave me the confidence to make the move to Tennessee and pursue the craft further.
CU: You’ve been a huge collaborator over the years. What have been some of your favorite moments collaborating?
I actually just had one of these experiences! I grew up a HUGE Newsong fan and just last week, my good friend and co-writer Kenna West set up a co-write for she, I and Leonard Ahlstrom who was not only a member of Newsong but also wrote many of their hits along with numerous hits for other artists. I spent half the session asking “did you write (insert song title) “ and singing his own songs back to him. I was flipping out to be in a room writing with him. There are countless other favorite moments that I’ve experienced when writing over the years. My co-writers are truly some of my dearest friends. We constantly cut the fool, laugh till it hurts, and when life gets difficult we lift each other up in prayer. I’m so grateful to be apart of this community and to journey through life with these incredible people.
CU: What have been your favorite songs you’ve written over the years, and why?
I was sitting on an airplane when I started penning a song called “If God Had A Front Porch” and it was one of those rare moments when I immediately knew the song was special. It took a year or two for it to find a home as a duet between Gary Chapman and Alison Krauss. To hear those voices sing a lyric and melody I played a part in crafting was a day I’ll never forget. Another song called “Here I Am” written with Anthony Evans and Kari Jobe was recorded by Urban Gospel artist Tamela Mann and became my first song on a gold record. That was a really cool experience to see a song connect with so many listeners in a category of music new to me as a writer. Of all the songs I’ve been apart of, I couldn’t mention favorites without bringing up “Say Amen”. God has continually blown me away as I’ve watched this song jump the banks of different genres and resound with a broad audience of listeners. The song seemed to immediately connect with those in the Southern market through the amazing talents of Brian Free and Assurance, the CCM market with the band Finding Favor and then found its way into the local church through Choir and Orchestra arrangements. I’ve even seen videos of people singing “Say Amen” on the other side of the world and it absolutely wrecks me. I’m so grateful that God would allow me to be apart of a song that is reminding so many of his faithfulness.
CU: Outside of songwriting, what else do you enjoy doing?
My wife and I have two little girls – Kennedy who’s 3 and Bradley Caroline who’s 9 months old. Any time away from work is usually spent with them. You’ll often find us at the park, farmers market, or eating ice cream in downtown Franklin. It’s such a fun season of life.
CU: What advice do you give to young songwriters who want to make a career in this business?
Write, write write as much as you can. Study the work of great writers. Try to identify what makes their work great. Think about the artist you’re writing for and ask yourself “Is this something they would want to stand up on a stage and communicate to their audience?” Don’t be afraid to co-write! Be intentional about finding co-writers who bring different gifts and talents to the table. If you excel in crafting melodies, find a great lyricist to compliment your melodies or vice versa.
CU: What has God been teaching you lately?
I’m apart of a men’s bible study called CLC that meets every Tuesday morning in downtown Nashville. For over a year now we’ve been walking through scripture and looking at what it means to be a godly man, husband and father. Out of that study I have recently been wrestling with what it looks like for me to better serve my wife and family. To honor God by honoring them. Some days that means being more patient or kind, other days it simply means getting off the couch and unloading the dishwasher without being asked to do it. To know I’ve got little eyes watching and learning from me is a daily challenge to lead well and to make our home a place where we can grow as a family in our love for each other and our love for God.<