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'Dear God': 2011 Songwriting Winner

The psalms are packed full of emotion, as people of old told God about their deepest joys, fears, longings and love for him.  

These great songs also helped people to turn to their God, the loving father so eager and able to give them comfort, love, direction and true hope.  

God wants us to have that same close relationship with him today.  This amazing relationship with our God is at the heart of Dear God, winner in the 2011 Songwriting Competition.  

The story behind 'Dear God'

Songwriter Jude Fernandez tells us about his modern-day psalm, and growing his relationship with God.  “It was at a quiet moment of communing with my God when I had a deep desire to express my love for Him.  The desire inspired me to put my love for Him in a song that I wanted to sing back to Him.”

Jude loved the song sung to his Lord, but he immediately faced a problem common to many songwriters – how do you get it in on paper before it disappears?  “The lyrics came naturally as I had decided from the start this was going to be between me and my God. The biggest challenge was writing the song in between my full-time job and memorizing the lyrics and tunes till I could get it down on paper.”

The initial song came together fairly easily, and Jude knew it was the song he wanted to enter in the contest.  Jude notes the basic song remained pretty much as he first wrote it, with just a few refinements to the lyrics made with close friends along the way.  

Into the studio - in a hurry

Another challenge came later, when Jude learned his entry had won first prize in the DeoSound 2011 Songwriting Competition.  That was the good news.  

The 'bad' news was that the prize included professional-quality recording that had to be done to submit the song to the 2011 Songwriters' Boot Camp in Buffalo, New York - also part of the prize.  That meant arranging, producing and putting together the musicians in only five days.  

A keyboardist and backup singer that Jude loves to work with simply weren’t available in the time – it’s always hard with families and day-jobs to look after.  But with lots of hard work, great help from several of Jude’s musical friends, and Jude himself filling in on several instruments, the basic tracks were all recorded on-time.  It was then on to the editing, mixing, and mastering, all done in record time.

Jude has written twelve songs to date, covering quite a range of genres.  Though this is already the third song he has recorded, “This song is very special for me because it was birthed out of a deep love for my God during my quiet time with Him.  I believe it will be the first of many more love songs that He will put in my heart, to sing back to Him.”

Jude continues, “This is a song of gratitude to God, for His creation of the world, for the cross that Jesus bore and the redemptive blood that He bled for us.  We need reminding that life here on earth is temporary till we meet Him.  And while we are here, we want to obey His commands, and we can do that by the strength and courage that He gives us when we are weak and when we stumble.  We are not to be intimidated, but to always stand up for the truth.”

Why share his song for free?

To help get his song out to the world, Jude chose to release Dear God using a Creative Commons license.  Jude’s choice means anyone, anywhere in the world, can legally share the MP3 with their friends, copy the music to sing in church, even record their own versions.  In fact, people can do just about anything with the song if it is for a non-commercial purpose.

Jude explains why he chose not to lock up his song with conventional copyrights: “Always write songs and music from your heart.  If you gain financially from your music, it can be one sign that your music is good.  But whether it is a song of praise, a love ballad or rock and roll, good music has to come from your heart with no thought of fame and fortune.  If you receive financial gain from it, that is really just the icing on the cake.”

The road ahead for Jude Fernandez

Jude aims to live out his song – and live out his faith – in everyday life.  That is number one for him. The low-key cross on his collar is just one small sign to remind others of God.  

Jude intends to continue writing songs, singing, and recording.  He recently participated in the 2011 Songwriters' Boot Camp at the Christian Musician Summit in Buffalo, New York.  He really appreciated the feedback on his song, and feels the workshop will definitely help grow his songwriting skills, especially when writing for a more conventional commercial audience.

But Jude hopes that this song will not only remain in his heart, but find its way out to a world in need of hope: “I would like this song to be sung all over the world to praise God and his son Jesus. And remind us of how loving, forgiving and powerful our God is.”

Dear God may be a brand-new psalm, but it carries a timeless message.

Jude Fernandez is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, arranger, keyboard player, producer and all-round music man, when he’s not busy being dad to his wonderful kids, and helping people find their way through the big city in his day job.

A modern-day psalm with blue-grass vibe?  All that, but much more besides...

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Copyright © 2006 by Jude Fernandez. Some rights reserved. Lyrics CC-BY-NC-ND, Music CC-BY-NC-SA, Recording CC-BY-NC-SA

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