Hawk Nelson

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Hawk Nelson
Hawk Nelson performing in 2014
Hawk Nelson performing on the We Won't Be Shaken tour in 2014
Background information
Also known asSWISH, Reason Being
OriginPeterborough, Ontario, Canada
GenresPop punk,[1] punk rock
Years active2000 (2000)–present
LabelsTooth & Nail, BEC, Fair Trade Services
MembersDaniel Biro
Micah Kuiper
David Niacaris
Past membersJason Dunn
Justin Benner
David "Davin" Clark
Matt "Matty" Paige
Jonathan Steingard
Aaron "Skwid" Tosti
Gideon Courtney

Hawk Nelson is a Canadian rock band from Peterborough, Ontario. Formed in 2000, the band has released eight studio albums to date.


Early independent releases (2000–2003)[edit]

In 2000, Dunn, Clark, and Paige founded a Peterborough-based group called "SWISH",[2] while Biro sang lead vocals for a four-piece group called the "Cheese Monkeys from Planet Nine" from Barrie, Ontario. In 2000, SWISH released their first independent album, Riding Around the Park on Mime Radio, an independent record label based in Peterborough.[2] In January 2002, Biro moved to Peterborough to join Dunn, Clark and Paige and SWISH was renamed "Reason Being", before finally settling with the name "Hawk Nelson".[3] In 2003, they released their second independent album, Saturday Rock Action.[2]

Letters to the President (2004–2005)[edit]

They continued to perform and tour independently in Ontario, Canada, before being signed with Tooth & Nail Records, largely on the recommendation of Trevor McNevan, the lead singer of fellow Tooth & Nail bands Thousand Foot Krutch and FM Static. McNevan, also from Peterborough, Ontario, is credited with discovering the band. In July 2004, Hawk Nelson released their debut album Letters to the President. It was produced by Aaron Sprinkle and McNevan, who also co-wrote the album's fourteen songs. He has also appeared on some of the band's songs, as well as in their video for the song "California".

The band has achieved some success in the mainstream as well. They portrayed The Who on an episode of the NBC drama American Dreams,[4] and they recorded a song named "Bring 'Em Out" as the theme for the 2005 motion picture Yours, Mine and Ours featuring Drake Bell. This song and another hit song "The Show" were both used on Sunday Night Football commercials. "Things We Go Through" from Letters to the President was also featured in Yours, Mine and Ours. In October 2005, the band re-released Letters to the President, with new material including their cover of The Who's "My Generation", three acoustic versions of some of their hits, and a limited edition cover. Hawk Nelson plays the party band for the film Yours, Mine and Ours (2005). On December 20, 2005, Hawk Nelson released an EP titled Bring 'Em Out.[5]

Smile, It's the End of the World (2006–2007)[edit]

Hawk Nelson continued to gain popularity and was voted "Favorite New Artist" by CCM Magazine in their February 2006 Reader's Choice Awards.

On April 4, 2006, Hawk Nelson released Connect Sets EP with six acoustic tracks, including "Bring Em' Out", "Thing We Go Through", and "California".[6]

Bassist Daniel Biro, the only constant original member of the band

The band released their second studio album, Smile, It's the End of the World, on April 4, 2006. The album was also co-written by Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch. The album won a GMA Canada Covenant Award for "Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year" in 2006.[7] The album's first single, "Everything You Ever Wanted", went on to hit No. 1 for 9 weeks on the R&R Christian CHR chart, and was the fourth most-played song of 2006.[8] The band spent the middle of 2006 touring the major Christian music festivals, and also took part in Jeremy Camp's Beyond Measure tour. Hawk Nelson released a three-track Christmas EP titled Gloria on November 21, 2006, and then toured with TobyMac's Winter Wonder Slam tour along with The Afters, Family Force 5, and Ayiesha Woods.

Bulletproof Records and producer Ralph Sall have assembled the compilation Charlotte's Web: Music Inspired By The Motion Picture featuring music by Christian artists including Hawk Nelson, Amy Grant, Selah, and Billy Ray Cyrus, which was released December 12, 2006. In addition, Bob Carlisle, Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer), and The Send have all contributed exclusive tracks.

Hawk Nelson performed in 2006 on the Fringe Stage at Creation Festival Northwest, then again on the main stage at Creation in 2007. They performed sometime between July 25–28, 2007, at Creation Festival Northwest on the Main Stage, and they played again on the Fringe Stage at Creation Festival Northeast sometime between June 27–30, 2007. In 2007, (and again in 2009), Hawk Nelson performed at Winter Jam with a variety of other Christian bands, including Newsong, Jeremy Camp, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sanctus Real, and Britt Nicole. Hawk Nelson also toured with MxPx, Run Kid Run, Project 86, The Fold, and The Classic Crime on the Tooth and Nail Tour.

On March 27, 2007, Hawk Nelson released a "Double Take" which includes selections from Letters to the President and Smile It's the End of the World.[9] They then released a holiday-themed EP titled Holiday Trio on November 20, 2007.[10]

In 2007, Aaron Tosti left the band to pursue other musical ventures and was replaced by Justin Benner.[11]

Hawk Nelson Is My Friend and Live Life Loud (2008–2010)[edit]

The band's third full album, Hawk Nelson Is My Friend was released on April 1, 2008, and featured songs co-written by Trevor McNevan of Thousand Foot Krutch, Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and Richard Marx.

In 2008, the band also contributed a cover of "Don't You (Forget About Me)", originally by Simple Minds, off the Don't You Forget About Me: The Covers EP. The song was also featured in back-to-school commercials for J.C. Penney. On June 8, 2010, Hawkology: Anothology of Hawk Nelson was released containing three previously released albums: Letters to the President, Smile, It's the End of the World, and Hawk Nelson Is My Friend.[12] On June 16, 2009, Summer EP was released through digital outlets only.[13]

In January 2008, the band headlined their own tour that they called "The Green T Tour" which also featured Capital Lights and Run Kid Run.[14]

Hawk Nelson was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the category for Best Recording Package, for their 2008 album Hawk Nelson Is My Friend.

On July 21, 2009, Hawk Nelson released their second single from their fourth album Live Life Loud called "The Meaning of Life", and on August 8, the song "Alive" began to be played on Christian Radio.[15] They released their fourth album, Live Life Loud on September 22, 2009. The title song "Live Life Loud" was made available in the Rock Band store during the first week of April 2010.[16] The song "Live Life Loud" was featured in the trailer for the movie, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules".

Crazy Love and departure of Jason Dunn (2011–2012)[edit]

On February 8, 2011, Hawk Nelson released their fifth studio album titled Crazy Love, which was bundled together with a new acoustic EP titled The Light Sides.[17]

Hawk Nelson released another Christmas EP, titled Christmas EP on November 1, 2011, and it included the songs "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "The Wassail Song", and "Up on the Housetop".[18] On March 27, 2012, Hawk Nelson released a compilation album titled The Songs You've Already Heard: Best of Hawk Nelson.[19]

On February 1, 2012, lead vocalist Jason Dunn announced he would be leaving the band in order to pursue his solo project, Lights Go Down, recording an album tentatively titled Abandon Progress.[20] On March 11, 2012, in Fresno, California, Dunn performed his final US show with Hawk Nelson.

Following Dunn's departure, guitarist Jonathan Steingard took over as lead vocalist and bassist Daniel Biro became the last remaining original member of the band.

Post-Dunn releases (2012–present)[edit]

After Dunn's departure from the band, Steingard replacing him on vocals marked a shift in the band's genre from fast-paced pop punk to softer, contemporary alternative and pop rock.[citation needed] On December 11, 2012, Hawk Nelson announced they had signed with Fair Trade Services. Made was released on April 2, 2013.[21][22] The album's release was preceded by the release of the album's debut single on January 15, 2013, "Words", featuring Bart Millard of MercyMe,[23] which reached No. 1 on the Christian Hot AC/CHR charts.[24]

On December 10, 2014, Hawk Nelson released the first single off an upcoming album, "Drops In the Ocean" via YouTube and made available on iTunes January 13. The album, Diamonds was announced on January 21.[25] Diamonds is Jonathan Steingard's second album as lead vocalist for the band and first for guitarist Micah Kuiper and drummer David Niacaris. "Just Getting Started", another song from "Diamonds", was heard in several American Idol promo spots ahead of the album's release.[26] The album was released on iTunes and other major music websites on March 17, 2015.[27]

On December 15, 2017, the band released the single, "He Still Does (Miracles)", as part of a new album, Miracles, which was released April 6, 2018 through Fair Trade Services.[28]

In May 2020, Steingard announced on his Instagram page that he had lost his faith in God and is no longer a Christian.[29] In response, Daniel Biro made a post on the band's official Instagram page the following day thanking his bandmates and expressed continued support for them on and off the road.[30] Soon thereafter, Steingard changed his Instagram profile to "Former lead singer Hawk Nelson".[31]



  • Daniel Biro – bass guitar, backing vocals (2002–present)
  • Micah Kuiper – lead guitar, backing vocals (2013–present)
  • David Niacaris – drums (2015–present)


  • Jason Dunn – lead vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar (2002–2012)
  • Dave 'Davin' Clark – lead guitar (2002–2004)
  • Matt 'Matty' Paige – drums (2002–2005)
  • Jonathan Steingard – lead guitar, backing vocals (2004–2012), lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards, piano, synthesizers (2012–2020)[32]
  • Gideon 'Gidz' Courtney – drums (late 2005)[33]
  • Aaron 'Skwid' Tosti – drums (2005–2008)
  • Justin Benner – drums (2008–2014)



Albums As SWISH

  • 2000: Riding Around the Park (Independent)

As Hawk Nelson


GMA Canada Covenant Awards

  • 2006 Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year: Smile, It's the End of the World[7][34]
  • 2007 two nominations: Modern Rock/Alternative Song of the Year: "The One Thing I Have Left", and Recorded Song of the Year: "Everything You Ever Wanted"
  • 2008 two nominations: Group of the Year, and Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year: Hawk Nelson Is My Friend
  • 2009 Modern Rock/Alternative Song of the Year: "Live Life Loud"[35]
  • 2010 two awards: Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year: Live Life Loud!, and Modern Rock/Alternative Song of the Year: "Never Enough"
  • 2011 two awards: Rock Album of the Year: Crazy Love, and Rock Song of the Year: "Crazy Love"

GMA Dove Awards

  • 2007 nominee, Recorded Music Packaging: Smile, It's the End of the World
  • 2009 nominee, Recorded Music Packaging: Hawk Nelson Is My Friend
  • 2010 nominee, Recorded Music Packaging: Live Life Loud
  • 2012 nominee, Rock Recorded Song of the Year: You Love Is A Mystery
  • 2012 nominee, Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year: Crazy Love
  • 2012 nominee, Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year: Crazy Love
  • 2012 nominee, Short Form Music Video of the Year: Crazy Love

Golden Ear Music Awards (Ignite Your Faith Magazine)

  • 2006 two wins: Best Band, and Best Male Vocalist: Jason Dunn[36]

Grammy Awards

Juno Awards


  • 2006, No. 1 spot on VH1's top 20 video countdown with "The One Thing I Have Left" music video.


  1. ^ "Hawk Nelson reviews, music, news". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Hawk Nelson Discography, Hawk Nelson Artist Database". Jesusfreakhideout.com. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  3. ^ "Hawk Nelson feels growing pains as Jason Dunn departs". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  4. ^ News at Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved November 27, 2009.
  5. ^ "Hawk Nelson Discography". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  6. ^ "Hawk Nelson". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  7. ^ a b "GMA Canada – 28th Annual Covenant Award Winners". Archived from the original on July 1, 2007.
  8. ^ "R&R – Top Christian CHR Songs". R&R. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  9. ^ "Double Take (Album) – Hawk Nelson". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  10. ^ "Holiday Trio – EP by Hawk Nelson". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "Drummer Change: Hawk Nelson's Aaron Tosti Leaves, Replaced by Justin Benner". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  12. ^ "Hawkology: A Hawk Nelson Anthology". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  13. ^ "Summer EP by Hawk Nelson". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "The JfH Concert Reviews and Dates: The Green T Tour". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  15. ^ "What's New". Christianrock.net. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  16. ^ "There Can Be Only One: A Week of Rock Band Singles // Blog // Rock Band®". Rockband.com. April 2, 2010. Archived from the original on April 5, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  17. ^ "Crazy Love – Hawk Nelson". AllMusic. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  18. ^ "Hawk Nelson, "Christmas EP" Review". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  19. ^ "Hawk Nelson The Songs You've Already Heard: Best of Hawk Nelson". Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  20. ^ "Hawk Nelson Frontman Jason Dunn Departing For Solo Project". Retrieved February 1, 2012.
  21. ^ "Hawk Nelson signs to Fair Trade Services – Album MADE releasing 4.2.13". Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  22. ^ "Hawk Nelson ready new album through Fair Trade Services". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  23. ^ "Words (feat. Bart Millard) – Single". Archived from the original on August 10, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  24. ^ "Hawk Nelson Releases Made To Stunning Reviews And Praises". Fair Trade Services. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015.
  25. ^ "Hawk Nelson to release next studio album, Diamonds, on March 17 – Christian News on Christian Today". christiantoday.com.
  26. ^ "Hawk Nelson Sets Release Date for New Project – DIAMONDS – March 17". Hear It First.
  27. ^ "Diamonds". iTunes Store. February 10, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  28. ^ Munson, Cruz (December 15, 2017). "Hawk Nelson Releases New Single & Announces New Album 2018". Gospel Music. GMA. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  29. ^ Shelbourne, Talis (May 26, 2020). "Jon Steingard, Lead Singer of Christian Band Hawk Nelson, Announces He Has Stopped Believing In God – Heavy.com".
  30. ^ "Christian Rocker Jonathan Steingard Says He No Longer Believes In God". HuffPost. May 27, 2020.
  31. ^ https://instagram.com/jonsteingard?igshid=h759ucpgm1dm
  32. ^ "Jon Steingard is on Instagram". www.instagram.com. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  33. ^ "Yours, Mine & Ours (2005)". IMDb.
  34. ^ Hawk Nelson also received 2006 GMAC nominations for Group of the Year, and Album of the Year: Smile, It's the End of the World. GMAC 2006 Covenant Award Nominees Archived November 27, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 11, 2008.
  35. ^ Hawk Nelson also received a 2009 GMAC nomination for Group of the Year. GMAC 2009 Covenant Award Nominees Archived September 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  36. ^ Hawk Nelson placed third in Best Song of the Year: "Letters to the President" The Second Annual Golden Ear Music Awards, Christianity Today (2006). Retrieved November 28, 2009.

External links[edit]