Song of the Week: Jason Gray – "Nothing Is Wasted" (Remix)

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When Centricity (my record label) is considering which song should be the next single to promote to radio, they will do “pre-testing”, which means they hire a service who plays a portion of the song (sometimes only 8 to 16 seconds of it) for the target demographic of radio listeners. If it scores poorly, it’s not a single. If it scores well, then that becomes part of the case they’ll build when talking with radio about the song.

If you’re anything like me, this whole business of pre-testing 8 to 16 seconds of a song is . . . discouraging. What happened to listening to a song? And what happened to the romantic image of DJs who played music because they believed in it? Well, that still happens, too. And while it’s tempting to feel “pre-testing” lacks soul and conviction . . . well, I guess I just don’t want to give any more energy to judging it (or anything else for that matter).

I bring it up, though, to highlight one of the reasons I’m so grateful for my label, Centricity Music. As they wondered about what the next single would be, pre-testing revealed a clear front-runner. However, as we talked about it (and please understand what a remarkable thing it is that I get to be a part of the conversation!), their conviction was that, though it wasn’t the obvious choice, “Nothing Is Wasted” is the song they think people need to hear most. I’m beyond grateful for their belief and willingness to go with their heart on this rather than the numbers.

We recorded two versions of the song—the album version and then the solo piano alternate version for the Special Edition—but neither were deemed radio ready, so a remix was proposed. I get a little nervous about that kind of thing because it’s often the best way to ruin a perfectly good song. But when they decided to hire Ben Shive (producer of Andrew Peterson’s last four records), I got excited.

Ben worked hard to preserve the heart of the song while also reshaping the track to help it feel like the kind of song you might hear on the radio right now. Lauren Daigle, an artist in development at Centricity, lent her amazing voice for some beautiful harmonies. Ben also added cello and hammered dulcimer. He also took the two pre-existing versions and combined them, so that the song has the original bridge and final chorus that I wrote for it.

I’m nothing but grateful: that Centricity went with their heart and picked this song, that Ben remixed it, and that early response from radio has been really positive. But more than anything I’m grateful that of all the things I could be talking about at this time in my life, I get to talk about the goodness of God, the way that he works all things—all things—together for the good of those who love him. Pain, loss, even failure . . . these things don’t get to have the last say over our lives. God has the final word, and his word over our lives is love.

I hope you like the song, thanks for listening.

Nothing Is Wasted

Jason Gray/Jason Ingram/Doug McKelvey

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our redeemer
Nothing is wasted

When hope is more than you can bear
And it’s too hard to believe it could be true
And your strength fails you half way there
You can lean on me and I’ll believe for you
Give it time, you will believe it too

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
Sometimes we are waiting
In the sorrow we have tasted
But joy will replace it
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our redeemer
Nothing is wasted


34 Comments

  1. Nathaniel Miller

    This song was the one of the big reasons that “A Way to See in the Dark” was a soundtrack for my life the year it was released. While other songs on the album address fear in a confrontational way (and that is a good thing), this song does so in a fragile way, as though the heart that needs it is chipped and broken, bruised and bleeding. Like a mother with her small child, it cradles and soothes the soul with truth while a storm rages outside. Many times in the midst of my stuggles, this little “lullaby” comes to my mind – nothing is wasted.

    This version is beautifully done, and it certainly does have Ben Shive’s fingerprints on it, which has me wonder what would happen if Jason and Ben teamed up in the future. Maybe just a dream, but it is a good dream.

    Thanks for posting this, Jason. More importantly, thanks for writing it as I know that it must come from a heart that has had to experience much to arrive at the song’s conclusion.

  2. Amy L

    I’m happy to hear your music on the radio lately. I think songs like yours are really helping our local Christian station choose better, meatier music.

    We’ve lived in places with great Christian stations (we so desperately miss WJTL in Lancaster, PA), but at present we live in a place where stations are just not very good. We often just end up switching to the classical station in the car. But you did a concert locally in the last month (we were unfortunately out of town), and immediately you improved the playlist.

    I also appreciate your sharing about the process of getting songs to the radio. 8-16 seconds? Yeah, I can see how that feels like a sucker-punch for the songwriter. What a blessing to have a label that cares about quality. This song is lovely.

    Also…. what is this Special Edition? did I miss this?

  3. Donna

    How beautiful. I have the deluxe version of Way To See In the Dark– is this version available for purchase?

    Thank you for putting words to my heart song..

  4. Brenda

    Beautiful, so very moving. The words really touch my heart and give me hope. You are my favorite Christian artist and I am so very excited that I will be seeing you during Tragedy Into Triumph next month. Your music means so much to me whenever I hear it on the radio.

    Thank you so much.

    God Bless.

  5. Emma

    This version is nicely done! Nothing Is Wasted is one of my faves from the CD. I wondered how it would play on radio and had guessed that according to the “testing” done in my van (also known as what the kids sing along the loudest to… FYI- they “picked” Good To Be Alive immediately from the CD, even louder than Remind Me Who I Am.) I had guessed that No Thief Like Fear would be the front-runner. But, Nothing Is Wasted really tugs at my heart more and reminds me of the things in my life that God has redeemed. The heartaches in life that are more precious now due to His hand… I’m glad that radio will hear this song now and hope that KSBJ will play it. Well done, Jason!

  6. carrie luke

    I agree. NIW is a song that most people do NEED to hear. It is very special to me and this was beautifully remastered. I love its original simplicity and feel like that still rings true in this recent version which allows for people to still connect deeply to the heart of the song. And the cellos slay. just saying. Thank you all involved for maintaining the integrity of this song (which feels like a friend of mine).:)

  7. Becca

    I’m so grateful for your humility, Jason. I love watching you create, because I feel like there is unique sort of servanthood alive in you, a constant willingness to sacrifice your own preferences for the needs of others. It’s beautiful. Your supple heart reminds me of a door swinging freely on its hinges for the passing of our Savior into the world.

    Your life give me hope. Who you are, as well as what you make.

  8. Mike Westendorf

    Outstanding version of the song, honestly I think it captures the heart of it even better than the other two. I look forward to hearing it and seeing you again sometime down the road!

  9. Peter B

    When I came across this post, the album was playing full-volume in my headphones.

    Ben Shive is musical bacon; he will make just about any song better. I’m glad to see Centricity continuing to approach their artists with such depth.

  10. Dave E

    I really love the alternate version on the deluxe cd of “A Way to See in the Dark” and when I heard about the remix, I didn’t think it’d be possible to improve on it. Wow!!! I agree with an earlier post that the production of the remix has brought out an even deeper beauty of this song, which I didn’t think was possible. I hope the song saturates the radio and helps people the way it helped me. God bless.

  11. Mark M

    This version is as powerful, if not more, than the original and piano versions – which are blessings themselves. Thank you Jason for being such a beautiful expression of God’s presence.

  12. Bob Smith

    Thanks Jason!
    I’d thought “You can lean on me and I’ll believe for you” was ‘You can lean on me and I’ll lead for you’ So glad to have it right.
    Will there be a track to sing along with available soon? Is there a copy of the new version available?
    Will you be back in the Beamus NY area again? Met you there twice, MOST ENJOYABLE!
    Lord Bless you!!
    Bob

  13. LauraP

    Sheet music, please oh please oh please? Any version / every version.

    One of my favorite JGray songs. The worst thing isn’t the last thing. Redemption is.

  14. Loren

    Echoing the crowd here, but this remix is lovely–Oh, the cello! I’ve passed this song on to so many friends and am glad I have the special edition alternate because it hits me every time. I like the first one, but I like the alternate better…and this one? It’s tied with the alternate.

    Thank you for striving for truth, Jason, and thanks to Centricity for putting it out there.

  15. Meredith

    I have the album version on CD and, although this version is beautiful, and, I think, more uplifting and positive thanks to the alternate bridge and final chorus, I find myself missing the gentle swell of the original bridge “from the ruins, from the ashes…” It may be a bit like a child learning to like his steak well-done and doggedly preferring it that way despite evidence to the contrary. But personal preferences aside, if the remix allows the song to reach a larger audience then it’s a positive change. Thanks for making music that says what I would say if I could only find the words.

  16. Colleen

    Thank you. Just like Nathaniel, ‘A Way to See in the Dark’ came to minister to me in a very dark time in my life. And still, as the occasional sufferer of some combination of confusing depression and anxiety, these lines have rung so true: “[When] your strength fails you half way there, You can lean on me and I’ll believe for you, Give it time, you will believe it too.” What would I do without others who have enough faith when mine fails? When I am temporarily blind, thank God, they can see! And it’s true, that sorrow that is so deeply known is eventually replaced with blissfully surprising joy. God’s tender heart toward us is revealed beautifully in this song.

  17. Laura

    I KNEW that song sounded different! When I first listened to the official lyric video I thought it sounded different from usual, but I never compared it to what’s on my cd. Ha! Knew it. 😉

    I’m glad this song was chosen. No, it doesn’t have the fast, catchy, trendy beat people seem to like, but it has the words they need to hear. Some days you need a quiet restful song to listen to.
    I can see how it would be a little scary to hand this song over to someone to remix, especially when the original is SO good, but in this case it was a success. I am quite partial to cellos and dulcimers, but I would listen to any version of this song you released.

    And I am seconding Bob and Laura’s requests for either sheet music or a sing-along track or both!

  18. Adam Bennett

    Love (love) the addition of the cello. As usual, this is a beautiful song, JG. Well done. So glad you found Centricity. I still remember the Pre-Centricity days and the stress that caused. They seem to be such a great partner towards your craft, in the truest sense of the word.

    Blessings

  19. Jane

    Thank you for this song, we have loved it since purchasing the cd some time ago. I am glad that it will be released as a single.

    I live in Sandy Hook, CT and the song has been even more meaningful since 12/14. It speaks directly to our community and what we are experiencing.

    Thank you for sharing your gift.

  20. Eddy Efaw

    This has been and will continue to be one of my favorite songs on this album filled with favorites. I am a potter. I teach ceramics at a high school in Memphis,TN. From the moment I first heard this song my head and heart sang out with joy because Jason captured in words what I witness in the studio every day. With clay . . . NOTHING is wasted. A broken mug in shards on the floor (prior to bisque firing) from an accidental drop or from an ill placed bit of pressure by a well intended student is never stuck in that state forever. I take those broken, dry pieces and submerge them in water. When turned into completely wet and seemingly useless “slip” I mix it thoroughly into a consistent slippery mess and then lay it out to dry. Next I “catch” the drying clay at the perfect plasticity, wedge it to be free of air, and then place it on the wheel to be recreated in my hands or the hands of a student. Literally nothing is wasted in the pottery studio/ Potter’s house. “You O Lord are the Potter we are the clay. You are the Potter and we are the works of your hands.”

  21. Kathy

    It’s a nice version and if it helps more people get to hear the song, then hooray! But what you originally recorded resides in my heart in a way that a radio-ready remix doesn’t.

    Like many other folks, this album has helped to see me through a dark time with authentic echoes and reminders of truth that “polishing up” somehow doesn’t express quite as well to me. But then, I’ve never been much of a radio listener and was thrilled to discover your album BECAUSE it didn’t sound like the radio… finally some Christian music that I can enjoy! I hope you come to Washington state someday so I can bring my husband to hear you play live. That would be best of all.

    Keep up your great artistic vision, because you’ve got such meaningful ideas to share. And, thank you!!

  22. Kim

    I haven’t listened to the remix yet; I have no doubt it remains beautiful. I am so disappointed in radio stations, however, and the whole process of choosing and making a song “radio ready”. Listeners would devour (and be well-fed) the meat that is offered in the music of artists like Jason. They should offer it to us (listeners) as it is written, not spoon-feed us what they think we will buy.I don’t listen to the radio much anymore…too many years of hearing the same thing over and over. Radio stations out there…allow your listeners to be challenged, to think, to ponder,to grow…!
    I hope this doesn’t come across as angry or divisive. I just think it is sad that Christian radio doesn’t reach higher.

  23. Beth

    I noticed the radio version lyrics were slightly different and wasn’t sure which version they were using. I have the special edition of _A Way to See in the Dark_, and now it seems I will need a 3rd version of _Nothing Is Wasted_, but how do I tell which version to get?

    Note to Jason: Remind Me Who I Am and Nothing is Wasted have each touched me deeply and I thank you so much for your songs and ministry.

  24. Sandy Montoya

    Love, love, love this song! Heard it on XM radio last night while driving home & wrote down the song title & artist’s name so I could find it later to share with a friend who needs to hear these words. Thank you so much! I also love the song Remind Me Who I Am and have shared that song to encourage others too.

  25. Kathy Kelly

    I woke up one morning this week and turned on the Christian radio. Jason Gray was singing this song. Our sister, Joy, aged 54, (child to missionaries in Africa) committed suicide by lying on the train tracks in Sommerville, S. C. As an alcoholic,k married to Fred Hudson, a doomed marriage. She could not take it anymore. She is with Jesus now with her missionary parents and brother who died with malaria in Africa 70 years ago

    Nothing is wasted. God has a plan even though she has passed on. Please, Jesus show us the plan for Joy even though she is gone.

  26. Bridget Bevers

    thank you Jason for the gift of your music. We saw you in Rapid City during your ACT OF LOVE TOUR. Of course your stammer was evident and you were forthcoming about your speech. How courageous of you to share. Our 26 year old son stammers and is the one who introduced me to your music. I related our concert experience and he encouraged me to relate to you “The McGuire Program” It is a unique program which embodies : mind , soul and the physiology of overcoming and living with stammering.. I believe you may find it interesting and beneficial. peace to you and all those you experience:).. http://www.mcguireprogramme.com

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