Eddy "Rawsrvnt" Puyol is a Grammy-recognized, American recording artist and speaker with Cuban roots and the entire world on his mind. From reality television to professional sports, he has been given platforms on some of today's largest entertainment outlets to speak, perform, and touch hearts across the globe.Rawsrvnt's Game Changer releases October 9, 2015. Pre-Order Rawsrvnt's Game Changer album exclusively on iTunes today.
Hallels: Thank you for doing this interview with us. What does "Rawsrvnt" mean?
My name is Eddy Puyol but when it came to picking a rap name that would resemble my character, Rawsrvnt (pronounced raw servant) came in to play. "Raw" because that's just the way I am and "servant" to describe how I want to demonstrate my love for God and people.
When I gave my heart back to the Lord, He definitely caught me in a super "raw" state of mind and living. I made a decision then to always keep it "raw" and real and promised I would serve Him and people that same way.
Hallels: How did you become involved in music? What do you see your role and purpose as an artist?
I've always had a love for music.
Being Cuban, we have that flavor in our blood. While growing up, hip-hop took off. You can say I fell in love with that artform pretty early.
At the age of eleven I started rapping with my friends from youth group. You can say we were the ultimate "Oreo." And I'm sure you know what part of that equation I played. LOL!
We had a blast opening up for groups like Christian hip-hop pioneers E.T.W. and more.
When my Mom knew I wanted to rap, she went to the local Christian bookstore and bought me my first Christian hip-hop tape: Stephen Wiley's Bible Break! I still have it today and several years ago got in touch with him to thank him for all that he did to reach kids like me.
Fast forward to now and I've helped fill a void that I saw early in my career.
There was a lot of Christian hip-hop, but not a lot of Hip-Hop Worship music.
My Dad told us growing up to always leave a place better than you found it. So, the journey of mixing hip-hop and worship together began.
Now I know there were some artists before me that had rap verses with worshipful hooks. But what I desired to create was a moment during a church service where hip-hop would be embraced by the church. I wanted it to be accepted as a style they would play from the main stage and have people connect to God by experiencing it corporately together. This meant I had to put something together that I really didn't see much of.
You can say it was a lot of trial and error and we hit it good with our version of the famous "Holiness (Take My Life)" song.
Since then, I've grown and shown churches how rappers can be a part of their Sunday morning services - even on a rock song. I've done reggae worship as well.
On my new album Game Changer, I have a few cool songs that once again push the envelope.
"Show Me," "My Music," and "Light Up the Night" are some of those tracks.
I think what I've set out to do has impacted the genre as a whole. And I still pro-actively educate and inform gatekeepers about how to speak to and cultivate a multi-cultural audience through music.
Hallels: Let's talk about your new album "Game Changer." In what ways is this new album a game changer?
In tons of ways!
I've always prided myself on being a real artist. If I didn't believe in it, wasn't going through or living it, then I wasn't going to talk about it.
To be honest with you, this is a game changer not only for me but the genre.
For example, I noticed that there wasn't many, if any, songs written and performed by Christian artists that I could play in the bedroom for those intimate times I shared with my wife.
So, I have a couple of those sort of songs on this album.
I do believe I have a pioneer type vibe on me.
Hallels: You have also a host of great artists who have worked with you. Who are some of them?
Wow! Yes! I have definitely been blessed to connect with tons of great artists that I not only respect, but have built friendships with.
Some of those artists are:
Pettidee, Urban D., Richie Righteous, Thrill Da Playa of the 69 Boyz, Lil Raskull, Transparent, Audrey Assad, Milliyon, HeeSun Lee, Sean Slaughter, Lisa McClendon, Sara Delight*, St. Matthew, Canton Jones, KJ-52, D-Maub, Brad Dring of Rapture Ruckus, T Haddy, Gideonz Army, Bobby Tinsley, and many more.
Hallels: Any interesting stories about working with these artists and musicians?
On this album specifically:
Lil Raskull and I've been friends for a while. I heard of him before and met him through Pettidee when he had a show in Miami and brought Ras with him.
We worked on a song before, "Head Up High," and when it came down to putting this album together I told him I wanted to work on another joint together but this time it had to be a sports anthem! That's where "Game Changer" came in and has already impacted the NFL, colleges, high schools, and more. God is awesome!
I met Transparent in New York when my song "On Fire" was nominated for a Kingdom Choice Award. Transparent's heavily involved in the sports community and also in students' lives so we clicked right away. We wanted to create an anthem that would serve that lane. That's how "Go Hard" came to play.
I literally have so many stories.
Hallels: Can you pick two songs out of the new album you are most excited about and tell us more about them?
It's tough to just pick two.
Also, being that I had such a voice in bringing hip-hop worship to churches around the world and really didn't have a template to look to when we produced the songs, I would've loved to show my younger self "Show Me" and "My Music."
Hallels: You have recently been married and now you are a dad, how has that influenced you and your music?
It has impacted me in ways that are unexplainable at times.
The love of God the Father really became even more real the moment my wife and I were in the operating room and we heard our daughter's cry.
To top that off, our daughter Ava was born on my mother's birthday and the day before Easter Sunday.
When I held my daughter in my arms for the first time I remember saying to God, "And You did what to Your Son?!? Oh no! I can't even imagine You asking me to do that to my daughter!"
It was a, "Wow... God... You are amazing and love us so much!" moment.
Now, as we raise our daughter and watch her grow up, what I've shared all over the globe about how God always has our back and best interest in mind really has an even deeper meaning.
My daughter knows I would never bring any harm on her or make her go without what she needs. Like I believe and have preached, if I can do that, how much more so does the one that gives us breath to breathe do that for His kids?!?
It's definitely a game changer!
And we haven't even talked about the marriage aspect. The two becoming one is real! LOL!
And my response to marriage is in some of the love songs I wrote for the album, "Light Up the Night" and my take on Robin Thicke's "Lost Without U."
Hallels: One of your new songs is "Father I Trust Ya." Can you relate a time in your life where you trusted our heavenly Father?
There are a lot of times that I've had to trust God. Matter fact, it's an every day thing. I live by the motto I came up with, "If I can trust God for breath, then I can trust Him for the rest."
Most recently, my wife and I really had to lean in and trust God when we found out our daughter was going to be born a few weeks early.
There were all sorts of thoughts and emotions that ran through us, but one thing we kept holding on to was the prayer we prayed to God when we found out we were going to have a baby.
We prayed and believed God for a happy, healthy, and beautiful baby!
So no matter what was happening around us, all the tests they had to run, the doctors' reports, I kept trying to focus my family on what we prayed for and continued to believe. We always ended up saying, "She'll be fine."
I can't lie though, it was tough. But we made that decision and we were sticking to it and not backing down.
Now when you look at our daughter you would never believe she was labeled as a preemie baby. Praise the Lord!
As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:7, "For we live by faith, not by sight." That's exactly what we did and chose to believe every time we were faced with opposition.
We believed that God's view and label on her far outweighed those that others put on her or what the circumstance or situation was saying.
I've learned when you trust God the outcome will always be so much sweeter and in the end make you smile. It's definitely the way to live in my book.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to get to know more about you and your music, where can they go?
My website Rawsrvnt.com has the latest news and updates along with links to all my albums, music videos, and more. Of course, on social media you can follow me there @Rawsrvnt.
Thanks so much for your support! We really appreciate it! God bless!