Making a Joyful Noise
Waller's song writing a matter of glorifying God
For The Republican
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Balancing college classes, a passion for music, and married life is never simple, but 2007 Burlington High School graduate Jason Waller is up to the challenge. Waller, an avid singer and songwriter, was married in June and attends Midwestern Baptist College in Kansas City, Mo. He recently released his first collection of songs, Made New EP. “EP” stands for Extended Play--not quite a full album, traditionally containing four to six tracks.
“For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed listening to music,” Waller said. “I didn’t become interested in making music until four years ago, when I bought my first acoustic guitar.” He admits he didn’t originally intend to pursue music. “I bought a guitar to learn how to play and sing songs to girls. But within two months, God saved me and I started writing and even recording my own songs within the year.”
Waller’s passion for God, in addition to the urging from his cousin and best friend, Joel Dale, led him to start playing for other people. His first experience was at Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC), an organization for Burlington High School students. “I was so nervous that my hands were shaking when I started playing and I can remember my voice cracking at one point. It truly is humbling to see God use someone like me,” Waller said.
Following his first performance, Waller began practicing several hours a day, sometimes until his fingers bled. He was involved with the worship team for a local youth group. After graduating in 2007, Waller began attending Emporia State University. Despite moving away from a lot of his friends and family, he found the experience to be beneficial.
“When I wasn’t surrounded by people I knew really well and who I could count on, I honestly felt weak,” he said. “During those times God helped me understand that His grace is enough for me, no matter how I might feel at that time. It caused me to rest on His power and not my own, which in return showed me what it meant to be a humble servant.”
In creating his EP, Waller admits the most difficult part was not writing lyrics, chords, or melodies. “When I start to write a song, everything just seems to fall into place. The tricky part is recording,” he said. After recording his first song, “Who Is This Man,” with the help of a friend at ESU, Waller taught himself how to record.
“It was a difficult, timely process that included a bunch of retakes and skipping a few meals, but all in all I am so glad I was able to record it myself,” he said. “I learned so much about recording equipment and computer recording programs in the process. I don’t always have the necessary skills or equipment to get the quality of sound I would like, but by the grace of God, I finished recording my last song, ‘Made New,’ in July,” he said.
All of the songs on the Made New EP are originals. “I believe that when people write songs, they write them about what they enjoy,” Waller said. “When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I wanted to write songs about the work He did for me on the cross. I wanted to glorify God in Jesus Christ because praising him has become my joy.”
Waller’s title track, “Made New,” is an echo of 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
When it comes to the songs themselves, Waller said his favorite is “Jesus Loves.” The lyrics plainly display the message of the gospel of Christ. “It shows us the state we are in apart from Christ, and it says what Christ did in the midst of our condition,” said Waller. “The lyrics explain that: ‘Broken, sick depraved; I was lost without a way, but You saved me. You took the cross upon yourself, and now I live in sickness or in health just to praise You.’”
Waller believes his CD has something for everyone. “I’m not specifically trying to reach a certain audience, but rather those who are broken and in need of a savior,” Waller explained. “My vision for the listeners of this CD is that they would find their utmost joy in Jesus Christ and would make Him supreme in all areas of their lives.”
At the end of the day, Waller finds support from his wife, Lauren. “She has helped humble me when I get caught up in logistical things like the quality of my sound or equipment,” he said. “She points me to the object and purpose of my singing, writing, and faith: Jesus Christ.”
In the future, Waller plans to earn his degree in biblical studies and be wherever God calls him to be. He is hoping to lead a worship session at the Christian Church of Burlington in November.
Jason is the son of Jack Waller, Neosho, Mo., and Tim and Jan Martin, Burlington. His EP can be purchased online at http://myspace.com/jasonwallermusic.