- Justin Rizzo is a gifted singer, composer, and worship leader with a soulful voice and a hearty musical quiver that’s just full of American Christian worship music songs with a gospel and pop twist.
A worship leader among worship leaders, Justin Rizzo, has dedicated his talents both to leading worship and raising up a new generation of worship leaders. He is, without question, a gifted singer, composer, and worship leader with a soulful voice and a hearty musical quiver that’s just full of American Christian worship music songs with a gospel and pop twist.
Not only is Rizzo an accomplished musician, but he’s also a speaker, worship leader, and shepherd to other worship leaders. Feeling called to ministry at a young age, Justin never lost his passion but continued to grow and mature in ministry, with a focused purpose to take people to God and God to the people.
Justin serves alongside his wife, Naomi, and their two daughters. They’re based in Kansas City, Missouri.
MUSIC AND PRODUCTION
With reverb hanging heavy like a cloud, Rizzo creates an other-worldly atmosphere with Matchless that seems like it is giving us a tempting peek into the heavenly realms where God resides. Rizzo’s expressive voice is the icing on the cake in this delicious meld of modern pop and classic gospel music.
Rizzo’s choice of songs is sure to invite listeners in, with a well-ordered blend of notable hits like Found Faithful, We Lift You Up, and Matchless. You may already know these songs – or at the very least, you’ll feel like you already do – as they cover the topics of God’s Glory, glorifying Jesus, and being found faithful to God. These worship songs are clothed in a familiar pop worship style that frees you to worship authentically.
WORSHIP FUNCTION AND ACCESSIBILITY
Worship teams will rejoice with the accessible melodies and simple chord structures that mark Rizzo’s dedication to creating worship music we can all partake in.
For example, just four chords will effortlessly move you through the song, Matchless without sounding simple or elementary. You’ll be singing praises to God without stumbling over difficult chord progressions or keys as Matchless boldly proclaims God’s glory in the key of G.
Opening the live album with Matchless was a smart choice, drawing the worshipper’s attention immediately to the Glory of God. This album is hearty, with a few other standout tracks like We Lift You Up and Found Faithful.
But if you’re paying attention, Rizzo takes on the role of prophet with his inspiring imagery, especially in Open Door and Praying for Us.
It’s all too easy to gloss over worship lyrics that rely on common Biblical phrases because they can become a bit commonplace to our hearts and ears. But in Open Door, Rizzo makes an eye-opening (and hopefully heart-moving) comparison between the torn veil and an open door.
The torn veil refers to the heavy curtain in the temple at Jerusalem. When Jesus died, the veil was torn in two from the top to the bottom, signifying that we no longer need a high priest to stand in for us. Instead, we can come bursting through the throne room door to stand at the feet of Jesus – for ourselves, free to worship and have a direct connection to Him.
Another idea we don’t often think about in our worship is intercessory prayer. Rizzo hits on this idea in his song, Praying for Us. But he isn’t just talking about human intercession. He’s talking about the Holy Spirit, who prays on our behalf when we don’t have the words to speak.
I love that Justin Rizzo takes standard, even over-used, Christian phrases and turns them inside out, so we can get a fresh perspective on worship and our relationship with Jesus. This keeps us from getting too complacent in our worship and our use of Biblical ideas and phrases in our songs. But don’t take these metaphors too strictly – this imagery is meant to stir your soul into new ways of relating to God without getting too hung up on theological details.
I genuinely enjoyed lending my ears to Matchless, with its impressive balance of familiarity and freshness and depth and simplicity. Rizzo’s reimagined use of biblical imagery breathes new life into our old, stale worship phrases, and his accessible songs aren’t boring or overly simplistic. The live recording is well-mastered, with a selection of music that feels like home with its modern pop/gospel feel and standard worship team instrumentation.
But what really stands out to me is not just a single live album but a lifestyle of striving to worship God authentically and helping others to do the same. This lifelong goal can’t help but ooze out of this live recording of Matchless.
Justin Rizzo’s website, justinrizzo.com, is a treasure trove of support for both up-and-coming and well-established worship leaders.
Love the prophetic imagery and accessible music born out of a life of worship.
Would love to see some tutorials on how to play these songs in a live worship setting.
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Amanda is a big-hearted, determined, coffee-drinking, Jesus-loving mom to 6 young children. She spends her free time absorbed in gardening and fitness, spreading autism awareness, encouraging adoption and foster care, championing the underdog, and of course, working with her chickens and goats. She is an ordained pastor, and has served the local church as music director, pastor, and worship leader. Amanda currently works as a freelance writer. She holds a Master of Divinity from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Church Music from Eastern University.