A worship leader and Christian hip/hop artist from B.C. says there's power in the music people listen to, especially in connection with their mood.
Paul Hernandez is the worship leader at More Than 12 church in Vancouver, B.C.
"I've been involved in the music industry for 12 years. I started rapping in church as it's where I found God's gifting, He showed me," he says.
Over the past decade, Hernandez has toured with his music across the US and some of Canada.
"It has definitely been an amazing journey of encountering people. I've been giving it my all to provide a platform to connect with people and have meaningful conversations."
Before he put out music under his own name Hernandez went by DEZCRY.
"I've also had opportunities to lead different workshops for summer camps alongside the concerts, talking to youth and young adults about the power of music."
He enjoys sharing the message of paying attention to what people are listening to, and how powerful the messages in music can be, either positively or negatively.
"One experience was when I was performing locally, it was at an outdoor festival. After the show, a person came up to me and said how moved they were by the lyrics I was sharing. the song was about my marriage and just some of the things I was facing at that time and the breakthroughs I was experiencing."
It's those experiences that encourage Hernandez to continue spreading his music and gifting today. During a difficult time in his life, he turned to music and found Christian rapper, Lecrae's tunes.
"I was listening to him when I was seeking God and I didn't even know if God existed. I came across one of his songs 'Don't Waste Your Life'. He was definitely one of my biggest influences."
Hernandez hopes his music affects listeners in a similar way.
"Having that background as a worship leader, I've just always loved being close to people and be able to relate to them through music. I see so many people turning to music and it occurred to me that people now more than ever are turning to music to relieve stress and find an escape."
He has taken his music and much of his platform onto social media as that is the main way to connect during a pandemic.
"Music is a mood booster, even scientifically. We can get that lift or emotional release when we hear a favourite song and that is valuable at this time. Also to be challenged and really think about what they're allowing because if they're soaking up music that's very vile, it can do a lot more damage."