Music strikes a different note

Australia loved watching his original live performances on two of its most popular TV competitions but over recent years Dan Conway has changed his tune.

Dan Conway
Dan Conway says music no longer defines him

Looking back at his time competing on the popular TV shows X-Factor in 2010 and Australia's Got Talent in 2011, talented musician and songwriter Dan Conway says music is no longer his main priority.

"At that time music was still a big part of me trying to find my identity and prove myself in the world," Dan says in retrospect.

Although he reached the semifinals of Australia's Got Talent, Dan says he is not disappointed at being eliminated from the competition because it was "a way for God to adjust my priorities in life."

Dan was playing in bands and writing songs at age 11 and says music became "an escape and shelter" for him in his teens while dealing with struggles at home.

"My dad was someone who desperately needed to know God's forgiveness but he turned to alcohol rather than God unfortunately," he explains.

Although Dan speaks freely about God now, until he was 21, he says he was "boastfully on the fence" about God's existence.

"I mainly lived 'religiously' without committing to a god: live as well as possible, be a 'good' person, and in the immediate future good things will surely come. And in the distant future, if there is a god, I've lived well, so He'll accept me! I depended on plenty of assumptions."

Despite this, Dan admits he began noticing something significantly different about the lives of his Christian friends.

"They made mistakes too, as do we all, but there was something alive in them that no matter what I believed about right and wrong, meaning and purpose in the universe, I could not attain," he recalls.

"I desperately wanted to know the truth about God's existence and I was willing to follow the evidence all the way to God if it led there, even though I hoped it would lead to Atheism."

Seeing his interest, Dan's friends began to gently share something of the personhood of Jesus, His being perfect, sinless and God in human form.

"I heard all the arguments for and against God's existence, then for Jesus Christ and his relationship to Christianity, and then I began to investigate the Bible," he says.

Dan Conway 2
Dan Conway

"I'll never forget hearing the Oxford mathematician and apologist Professor John Lennox shout out in a talk, 'What is man, that You (God) are mindful of him?', quoting from Psalm 8:4, and the authority with which he shouted it, and the phrase itself moved me."

After thinking through all the arguments and counter-arguments he had heard, Dan says he became "a theist (god-believer) overnight because of how much sense Christianity made of the world, of man and of God", but explains that he had not yet given control of his own life to Jesus Christ.

"Then, over breakfast one morning I realised that for all my knowledge about Christianity I didn't know Jesus personally at all. And mostly I'd been seeking God on my own terms; I wanted to fill in the box that was labelled 'meaning of life'," Dan explains.

"It became clear to me that if I wound up before God to give an account of my life, I had nothing (to gain a place in heaven), only sin: lust, sexual sin, pride, arrogance, meanness and lying.

"And Jesus, although I don't deserve it, offers not only forgiveness but an embrace. It's overwhelming when someone freely offers you so much more than you deserve. And that's what God's grace (undeserved kindness) is. Grace changes everything."

In the next twenty hours Dan says he felt the Holy Spirit of God come into his life and radically changed his heart and desires.

"The day before conversion I wanted to be served, praised and admired and gain everything for myself, the day after conversion success and wealth carried no real meaning, instead I wanted to serve, and give everything of myself to God and others."

From that moment Dan's passion for music also changed. He expects to release a new album this month - 'Lazarus Come Forth' - nine songs that share what he "learnt about Jesus and His grace".

"Music serves a different purpose now and I've never enjoyed it more," he says.

"You see, God makes the difference in answering the big questions, 'who am I and what am I here for?' with 'you are my precious, loved creation and you are here to have a relationship with me and enjoy all that it entails'. Experiencing the truth of it, actually seeing that it works , changes every part of life for the better."

As Dan passionately pursues his path in music, he puts out a challenge to others saying, "Being made right with God should be the most important thing to anyone. And Jesus Christ has made it possible. It's our eternal destiny that's at stake."

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