SONICFLOOd, From Performance to Praise
After earning a music business degree from Anderson University, an Assemblies of God school in Santa Cruz, CA, Jeff Deyo moved to Nashville, TN, to become a Christian recording artist - but God had other plans.
by John Cockroft
Years of trying to gain recognition in the Christian music industry proved frustrating to Deyo. Then he received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, with the initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues. "I had tried to understand the Baptism mentally, without a deeper intimacy with God," he says. "It happened only when I completely surrendered not only my spirit, but my physical body as well, which included my tongue."
Friends noticed an immediate change. Soon after the experience another door opened on his dream of becoming a performer. He was invited to sing lead for Zilch, a Gotee Records-signed Christian pop/rock band featuring musicians from dc Talk.
"We did all original music, but did one 'token' praise song," Deyo says. "It [the praise song] was like our one special nod to God during our concerts."
When the band performed the song in concerts, something incredible happened, according to Deyo. "The focus went off us and onto God," Deyo says, "At times, people literally ran to the altar."
After resisting initial requests by Gotee Records, the band's label, to do an entire praise album, Deyo and the other Zilch members realized the need to change direction. "I thought praise music was second class at the time," he says. "But God was showing me worship was not about a music style, it was about the lifestyle behind the music."
After Zilch recorded a praise album, the band changed its name to SONICFLOOd, which derives its meaning from Revelation 19:6 which speaks of the sound of worship in heaven as mighty rushing waters.
SONICFLOOd's modern interpretations of praise and worship songs have sold 700,000 albums, and its second album, SONICPRAISe, sold 150,000 copies in just over a year.
"There is a generation of young people that needed worship music translated into their own language," says Deyo, 32, who also puts himself in that category.
"Audiences are hungry for a full meal spirituality."
Ironically, through the opportunity to fulfill his dream of being a performer, Deyo discovered he wasn't called to be one. "The best thing that came out of SONICFLOOd for me was realizing my true calling as a worship leader."
Deyo, who describes himself as a lead worshiper, recently released a solo album, Saturate, featuring his modern style of original and well-known praise and worship songs. "Now, I participate with the audience in worship," he says. "I want my music to help people increase the times they specially connect with God during worship."
"Reprinted by permission of the Pentecostal Evangel."