Christian Music Artist Biographies
Jonny Diaz Bio
Mike Donehey, lead singer for Tenth Avenue North (GMA's reigning "New Artist of the Year") interviews new INO recording artist Jonny Diaz.
Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North): This is Mike from Tenth Avenue North with the New Artist Spotlight. Today we are talking to Jonny Diaz (Di-as). Did I say that right Jonny?
Jonny Diaz: You got it right, man!
Mike: Di-az. What language is that?
Jonny: I always just tell people it's like, "You don't want to die ... as an old, lonely person."
Mike: What if I did wanna' die as an old, lonely person?
Jonny: That's a whole different interview. [Laughs] It used to be Dee-as about five or six generations ago. Then it was Americanized when it was brought over. So it's Di-as now. My whole life I've been fighting that battle, but at least it's unique.
Mike: Now is it any relation to the baseball player, Matt Diaz?
Jonny: He's my older brother.
Mike: Unbelievable! Who does he play for?
Jonny: The Atlanta Braves.
Mike: You're first single, "More Beautiful You,"… What prompted you to write it?
Jonny: I've been married about 18 months.
Mike: Me too!
Jonny: If you're like me, you probably have women totally figured out by this point—smooth sailing from here. [Laughs] That's not true. But if I have learned one thing from being married and from my wife, women, of all ages—but especially young women—have this desire to feel beautiful. I'm sure your wife feels the same way.
But as guys, I don't think we fully get that. We don't really understand all the pressures that go into that. We have our own issues, but that's not really something that's big for us. I still get to play a lot of camps and get to spend a lot of time with students, so I wrote "More Beautiful You" after being with a group of high school students and seeing these girls try to fit into a mold they were never created to fit into.
I thought it would be cool to write a song for those girls, and also for my wife, coming from a guy's perspective, which is a little different. Here's what scripture says, so here's what I'm gonna' stand on. Here's the way I view you, and I hope you can do it as well.
It's been one of those songs… I wrote it and thought it was OK and wanted to play it for youth groups. I didn't even know if I wanted to put it on the record. Then it turned into the title track. Then it turned into a radio single, then [went] No. 1. It's blown my mind to see the plans God has had for this song. I'm really just a vessel for that.
Mike: It's an important message. Have you seen that Dove campaign video where they take this girl and show all these people putting make-up on her? Then they take all these pictures. Then, they show the guy on the computer doctoring the picture, making her eyes bigger and her neck longer.
Jonny: Not only have I seen it, but we also took that idea and incorporated it into the music video for "More Beautiful You." We did a mother/daughter, where they did this fun photo shoot where all this fancy stuff was done, but then at the end of it, the father and husband of these girls laugh at it all because he likes them the way they are naturally. It's kind of a lighthearted take on that whole Dove campaign.
A still shot from the "More Beautiful You" music video
It's pretty insane what they can do. It goes to show you, we try to compare ourselves to people that aren't even really like that in real life.
Mike: Why do you think that our vision of beauty is so distorted?
Jonny: I think the desire to feel beautiful isn't wrong at all. I think we can find that throughout scripture, comparing the Church to the bride and all throughout Song of Solomon… I don't think that desire to be physically attractive is wrong at all. I really think that is from God. But when we start comparing ourselves to other people, that's where the danger comes in.
I don't know why we do that. I don't know who the judge is that says this kind of hair looks good and this kind of hair looks bad. Or this size hips looks good and this size looks bad. I don't know who created that. I don't know where it comes from. And I'm not gonna' sit here and say I don't fall victim to that. It's so hard not to. But every once in a while, you have to step back from it and say, "We really are a soul that's wrapped up in a temporary body anyway." So not to belittle that stuff, but to get a Godly perspective on it really can change everything.
Mike: It is a profound mystery that we bear the image of God. I try to help kids understand, just being human, is a profound thing.
Jonny: That's so true.
Mike: I like what you're saying about how beauty has changed.
Jonny: Whatever we compare it to now, whatever we're striving so hard now to achieve, it's important to keep in mind, in the future, that's probably not what will even be considered beauty. The only thing we can do is go for what timeless beauty is. Like you were saying, it's found in the image of God.