There is something so sweet about surrender yet at the same time, there’s something alittle intimidating about commitment and it’s that spot in the middle wherebelievers sometimes get mired.
Giving our all to God can be a challenge, yetMIKESCHAIR frontman Mike Grayson knows the rewards and with the band’s latestCurb Records album, All or Nothing,he’s inviting others to take the plunge.

“It’s human nature to pick and choose the verses that we like out of the Bible and we push aside the ones that are alittle harder to hear,” Grayson says. “The fact is the Lord doesn’t want a lukewarm believer. The title song on our new album is obviously about the fact that we want to be on the ALL side.”

“All or Nothing” was the first song Grayson penned for the group’s third studio album, and it immediately became a creativeanchor. “As I continued to write, the word ‘all’ just kept coming up,” Graysonrelates. “Throughout the span of the whole project, the goal is to inspirepeople to be sold out, to be on fire for God, to choose the ‘all’ side of thephrase ‘all or nothing.’ There are at least three songs that have ‘all’in the title, so it’s very much centered around that word. It’s the first time where I actually wrote a song and then followed a theme throughout the wholeprocess of writing the record.”

Just what made the theme of total commitment resonate so strongly with Grayon? “We’ve been doing this almost 10 years now,which is crazy,” he says shaking his head at how quickly time has passed. “I feel like this is a season of challenging our fans to really take that stepwith us and say ‘Hey! This is it! I’ve made a choice and I want to see it through.’”

For Grayson, the initial choice to serve God with his musical gifts came while he was a student at Nashville’s BelmontUniversity. The Orlando native made friends with a few other aspiring musicians and began spending time writing songs and developing a unique sound. They submitted a demo for Belmont’s Christian Music Showcase and scored a coveted performance slot that was so well received it boosted their confidence and ultimately helped pave the way for a deal with Curb Records.

The band’s self-titled debut album instantly earned them a devoted following with suchmemorable singles as “Let the Waters Rise” and “Can’t Take Away. Their penchantfor combining meaty lyrics with engaging melodies helped garner four Dove Awardnominations in 2010, including song of the year for “Let the Waters Rise” androck contemporary song for “Can’t Take Away.”

MIKESCHAIR continued the momentum with theirsophomore collection A Beautiful Life. The album solidified Grayson’s reputation asone of the industry’s most compelling young vocalists and a songwriter ofconsiderable depth and insight. Their second album spawned the powerful hit“Someone Worth Dying For” which became yet another landmark achievement in theband’s career.

“I’ve always related to songs like ‘Let The Waters Rise’ or ‘Someone Worth Dying For,’” says Grayson, who wrote or co-wroteevery song on “All or Nothing.” “I’ve always wanted to be really honest in mywriting and not shy away from the reality of the world and what it means to behere, but the prayer is that there’s glimmer of hope in all of these songs tohelp people lift their eyes up a little bit from where they are.”

In recording “All or Nothing,” MIKESCHAIRonce again worked with producer Matt Bronleewe, whose writing and/or productioncredits include Jars of Clay, Plumb, Michael W. Smith and Natalie Imbruglia.“He’s amazing. This record is a fresh thing for MIKESCHAIR,” saysGrayson. “On this record, there’s a lot of really fun songs. There’s asong called ‘Loved By You’ that is just rejoicing in the fact that we’reloved. ‘This Is Our Moment’ is this huge anthem song. I wrote itwith Matt Bronleewe and Jason Walker. We wrote it while the Olympics were happening.”

Since the last album, Grayson has gottenmarried and entered a new chapter of his young life. “There’s a lot of songs onthis record that reflect the season that I personally have been going through,”he says. “You can see that reflected in the writing.”

The sound of the record was also inspired bythis sunny season in Grayson’s life. “We went a lot more organic on thisrecord,” he relates. “There are more organic tones and instruments and yetthere’s still the funky sounds that MIKESCHAIR has done in the past. Thisseason has felt like a time to do something a little different. It’s my voiceand people are going to hear MIKESCHAIR for sure, but it’s a little more poppyand fun.”

The lead single, “All I Can Do,” is abuoyant number that serves as a great introduction to the band’s thirdcollection. The lyric was inspired by a small group study that Grayson and hiswife Molly have been doing on the book “Crazy Love.” “The first chapter is allabout prayer and the way we approach God and the way we think when we’repraying,” Grayson explains. “I got really convicted about the way that I praybecause I realize that I’m literally like a kid most of the time when I praybecause I’ll just jump right into ‘God this is what I want. This is what Ineed. This is what I feel you should be doing and you’re not.’ I don’t want mylife to look ungrateful. I want my life to scream thankfulness and gratefulnessbecause there’s so much that God has done. I have tendency to always look forthe next thing coming up and I rarely rejoice in what God has done and what hehas me in now. So this song reminds me I don’t want to pass up the opportunityto stop and say thank you. I want to be able to rest in what God has done andbe faithful. I want to find the Lord in the moment. We’re not promised tomorrowso let’s find what God has for us in the now.”

Throughout the album, Grayson’s strong,vibrant voice continues to serve up songs that urge believers into a closermore satisfying relationship with their creator. “I Can Wait” reminds listenersof God’s faithfulness by assuring that God is always right on time. MatthewWest makes a guest appearance on the intriguing “People Like Me.” The albumcloses with the powerful “All to Jesus.” “It’s like a modern take on ‘ISurrender All,’” Grayson says. “My prayer is by the end of the record, peoplewill hear ‘All to Jesus’ and that literally be the cry of their heart---all toJesus I surrender. That’s why I put it at the end in hopes of not closingthe chapter, but in saying, ‘Okay I’ve gone through the journey, this is whereI want to land and go on from there.’’

MIKESCHAIR has been on an incredible journey from college buddies who started a band to young men with a successfulmusic ministry that has impacted people from eight to 80 with theirthought-provoking songs. Along the way, they’ve experienced some interestingmoments. They recorded their first Christmas project, which included originalholiday tunes. The band saw their logo emblazoned on a NASCAR race car. Graysonreceived his first gold album when “Let the Waters Rise” was included onmulti-artist WOW hits collection. Theband toured with Big Daddy Weave, Matthew West and other acclaimed acts as wellas headlining their own tour. They also traveled to Peru, Guatemala andHonduras doing mission work for Buckner International and Food for the Hungry. “The DNA of the band has always been aboutbringing awareness to need,” says Grayson. “We are so blessed, and if I cantake a couple minutes out of a show and talk to ears that will listen and givea voice to those who don’t have a voice, that’s a huge part of what we feelcalled to do as a band. That’s something that you’ll see from MIKESCHAIR foryears to come.” Creating uplifting music, serving othersand giving their all to God are all in the DNA of MIKESCHAIR and as Grayson andhis bandmates move forward with All orNothing, they hope they’ve inspired others. “We want to effectivelycommunicate the message we feel God has given us,” Grayson says of the band’smission. “Ultimately, the goal is pointing to Jesus.’

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