As the most awarded artist in Christian music history, Steven Curtis Chapman has received fifty-eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five GRAMMYs®, forty-eight #1 singles, has sold nearly eleven million albums, and has eight RIAA-certified gold or platinum albums to his credit. He has been on “Good Morning America,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” CNN, MSNBC, 60 Minutes, E! Entertainment, “The Today Show,” “Fox & Friends,” and “The Tonight Show,” along with appearing in the pages of People Magazine, Billboard, Parents Magazine, and more. A vocal supporter of adoption, Chapman, along with his wife Mary Beth, founded Show Hope in 2003, a nonprofit organization that helps restore the hope of a family to orphans in distress. Since its inception, Show Hope has helped provide forever homes through Adoption Aid grants for more than 5,000 orphans from 53+ countries, including the U.S. In addition, more than 2,000 orphans with special needs have received critically needed medical care through Show Hope’s Care Centers, giving them a hope for a family and a future. Through numerous other programs for individuals, students, families, and communities, Show Hope is mobilizing a movement to care for the world’s children who need it most. stevencurtischapman.com
Having served as a full-time youth pastor for over 25 years, Casting Crowns’ front man, Mark Hall, continues to draw inspiration from the well of real life. “Because we have the honor of walking with people in our churches, we get to see what people are going through – the issues that are impacting everyone now,” shares Hall. “It’s in these situations that ideas are born for what we all need to hear right here and right now.” The local church has been the base for Casting Crowns’ music since their label debut release in 2003. With more than 10 million records sold and the title of Billboard’s top-selling act in Christian music since 2007, it’s still where the music is created. Hall and his bandmates – Juan and Melodee DeVevo, Megan Garrett, Brian Scoggin, Josh Mix and Chris Huffman – continue to work in ministry in their respective churches. The local church is the heartbeat of the band and the songs are an outpouring of that. The Very Next Thing, Casting Crowns’ latest offering, is a collection of intimate songs as well as upbeat, fresh sounding tracks with impactful lyrics centered around identifying and acting on what’s right next to you.
“I think we all believe the gospel,” says Mark Hall, “we all want it, we’re just not sure what we’re supposed to do next. We’ve got this idea of an awesome walk with Jesus out there somewhere, and we’re looking for the bridge to get over to it. Serving God isn’t this giant dream a year from now. It’s not this thing He’s going to have you do in a month. It’s right now. Following God is the next word of love that I need to speak to somebody, the very next heart that needs to be encouraged. Ministry isn’t on Sunday; it’s not on a stage. It’s you, where you are, doing the next thing God tells you to do.” CastingCrowns.com
While he feels like he’s “just beginning,” Jeremy Camp has 12 years of accolades and accomplishments as a songwriter and recording artist, including four million albums sold, four RIAA Gold albums, a multi-platinum DVD, three American Music Award nominations and a GRAMMY nomination. He’s been a part of more than 25 tours (headlining 18 of those) in the U.S. and has performed in more than 32 countries. Jeremy describes himself as “a minister who happens to play music as a way to minister.” JeremyCamp.com
Crowder released his debut solo studio album on May 27, 2014 entitled Neon Steeple; the lead single off of the album was “I Am” that charted at No, 3 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart, which released on November 25, 2013. Neon Steeple is a collection of songs and sounds looking forward to the past and counting the present as sacred. It is a longing for belonging, a search for home. It is a collection of choruses that believe that this is not all there is. There is more, there must be. It is the sound of the Appalachians and Ibiza. Folk music and EDM. The music of the People. Folktronica. Digital and Analog. The Ones and Zeros and the Handshake. The Banjo and the 808. Neon is an inert noble gas that is obtained from the distillation of liquid air, what we breathe in and out to stay alive, just thicker. You can drown in it. This is metaphor. Neon, a stereotype, a thought that may be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things that may or may not reflect reality, that’s utilitarian function is usually selling some product or way of life that distracts a human from the thickness, the weight, the heaviness of the here and now. Neon Steeple is both a critique and a hope. The meta-narrative of scripture is about innocence lost, it is about displacement, about things not being right and a search for belonging and home and forgiveness and reconciliation, the tension of death and life, what it means to be alive. The story is not about making bad people good, it is about making dead people alive. The story sold is rarely that. CrowderMusic.com
Matthew West is a four-time GRAMMY® nominee, a multiple-ASCAP Christian Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year winner and Dove Award recipient, and was awarded an American Music Award (2013), a Billboard Music Award (Top Christian Artist, 2014), a K-LOVE Fan Award (2016), and named Billboard’s Hot Christian Songwriter of the Year (2016). West also received a Primetime Emmy® Award nomination for Original Music & Lyrics for “The Heart of Christmas” from the film of the same name. In addition to his own recording career, he has co-hosted the K-LOVE Fan Awards two times and has more than 130 songwriting credits to his name, including cuts by Rascal Flatts, Scotty McCreery, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, and Mandisa, among others. Selling more than 1.6 million albums to date (TEA), West’s discography includes acclaimed releases: Live Forever (2015), GRAMMY-nominated Into The Light (2012), The Story of Your Life (2010), Something to Say (2008), History (2005) and Happy (2003). He will release a holiday album this season, titled Unto Us: A Christmas Collection. MatthewWest.com
His new release Rise started with a question: What do I want to say? Then, how do I want to say it? First, you want to meet people where they’re at. You can’t come out of the gate with something that’s way too positive. You need to meet them in a real place and show them there can be more in their lives. I think that’s what we did.”
“There are lots of voices out in this world, today maybe more negative than anything else,” he sums up. “With Rise I want to be a positive voice, a voice that connects, a voice that unifies, a voice that finds common ground. I’ve experienced hopelessness and loss. I’ve experienced having nothing — and now, having things in my life that I love so deeply I believe that my story has purpose.” DannyGokey.com
Sidewalk Prophets has big plans for Something Different. The first single, “Prodigal”, set in motion a brand new season for the band. With over three years separating this release from their previous, this new music of captivating instrumentation and gripping lyric, will help to propel them as they use their voices, creativity, and most of their days in a year to walk out their calling.
“This is the most proud I’ve ever been to make music,” Ben says. “We’ve poured everything we have into this project. I feel like I was put on earth to make this record.”
There is something different about that type of assurance when a band finishes an album. A trust that you’ve written and produced exactly what you were supposed to exactly when you were supposed to. Written from a place of uncertainty, yet in a sanctuary of peace, the honest, Gospel-focused nature of each song on Something Different provides a type of sanctuary itself for listeners, who may also find themselves in the middle of an uncertain time. These are songs they can cling to in the midst of those troubles, but also can sing in the moments of joy and celebration. Songs that will bring assurance in the chaos and peace in the storm, encouragement to keep going, and remind them that the something different inside of them is still there, is constant, and that it’s the thing that makes us Something Different. Sidewalkprophets.com
Singer/Songwriter Plumb has been making inspirational music for over a decade. Her album Exhale reminds us of what it’s like to walk in God’s grace with songs like “Lord I’m Ready Now” and “Resurrection.”
Plumb, first emerged as a singer in the late 90’s and immediately won critical acclaim for her influential lyrics and haunting vocals. In her book, Need You Now – A Story of Hope, Plumb shares some of her feelings on songwriting: “I tend to write from extremes, be it my own experiences or from experiences of people that I love or met for a moment. Some of my songs have an aspect of darkness to them, and they talk about the heartache that we encounter in this life. I try to craft some of my songs into little pieces of light that reflect the goodness and joy I’ve experienced … both types of songs are pictures of hope set to music. PlumbMusic.net
Passion has been around since 1997 with a desire to see spiritual awakening come to the college campuses of the nation and the world. More than a conference organization, the Passion movement is headquartered in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, GA. The small Passion Team is led by Louie Giglio and operates under the direction of a Board that is committed to spreading the fame of Jesus Christ to the 16+million college students of the nation and countless others around the globe.
Passion exists to glorify God-uniting students in worship and prayer for spiritual awakening in this generation.
From the beginning Passion has been rooted in the confession of Isaiah 26:8: “Yes Lord, walking in the way of Your truth we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and renown are the desire of our souls.”*
As a result, Passion seeks to gather college and university students across the nation and around the world to seek the face of God, asking Him to ignite in our souls a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ and a desire to spread His fame to everyone on earth. www.268generation.com
Grammy nominated artist-on-the-rise Britt Nicole is the new breed of pop star— a trailblazing musician focused more on her mission than her position to reach her millions worldwide with songwriting so authentic and so void of manufacturing it feels alien. The gold-certified Capitol CMG recording artist has accomplished what industry critics would consider wildcard success for a crossover artist, scaling categorically Christian music up Top 40 charts; and she’s just getting started.
Then, 2011 came with a GMA Dove Award nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year. Britt released the single “All This Time,” which spent eight consecutive weeks on Christian pop radio ahead of the release of its album, Gold, in March 2012, a
2013, Gold was re-released ultimately landing her first Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and her first headlining tour (“You’re Worth More Than Gold Tour”). www.BrittNicole.com
What artist launched his career as a hard-touring heavy metal singer, then switched gears to become a church worship leader, before finally signing a Nashville record deal and making his mark as a songwriter and soulful R&B-groove-pop artist?
Well, if the question comes up some day, you’ll already know the answer: Jordan Feliz.
Launching his career straight out of high school, Jordan Feliz fronted the heavy metal band A Current Affair. But, heavy metal music was never Jordan’s passion.
Jordan Feliz’s debut project, Beloved, brings the rich influence of 70’s sensibilities into a modern pop context. Intentionally constructing uncluttered tracks free of production tricks and excessive instrumentation, Jordan instead focused on arrangements that were designed to give the vocals center stage. The songs on the Beloved 10 song album are soul-influenced pop numbers, and the instruments present are articulate in their voicings and melodies, saying only as much as they need to. JordanFeliz.com
Singer/songwriter Jodi King and her husband, bassist Chris Rademaker, know the feeling of watching the sunset in California. Windows down, U2’s The Joshua Tree blaring on the radio, they’ve felt the rush of warm, dry wind as they cross the desert in the direction of the neon lights of the city. The duo, known as Love & The Outcome, set out to recreate the feeling of that unforgettable setting on These Are The Days, their long-awaited sophomore effort. “There’s something about California,” Jodi says. “These songs just felt like a sunset there. It felt like dust, like a desert, so we knew this where we needed to start making the record.” It was in 2013 that Love & The Outcome debuted their self-titled album with Word Records, and they soon became a mainstay at Christian radio. They toured all over the U.S. and Canada, sharing the stage with artists such as Newsboys, Switchfoot, Lecrae, TobyMac, Jeremy Camp and Francesca Battistelli. They relocated to Nashville from Canada, bought a house, had their first child, and got back on the road.
“The Lord had so clearly led us to this land, literally to Nashville,” Jodi says. “I’m sure it’s how Abraham and the Israelites felt. We’ve literally gone through the desert to get to this season of celebration.” Now, the two are truly coming into their own as a band and as a couple. LoveandtheOutcome.com
It’s impossible to fully appreciate life apart from mortality. Likewise, it’s impossible to comprehend grace apart from our shortcomings. On his full-length Gotee Records debut, Fresh Start, GRAMMY®-nominated singer/songwriter Ryan Stevenson declares he has a firm grasp on both. The album is a candid and hopeful glimpse at the heart of a man living in the midst of Christ’s unmerited affection and grace.
“He gives us a clean slate,” says Ryan. “He lets us start over unconditionally. Every day, He gives us a fresh start.”
The highly anticipated project comes on the heels of a slew of awards few artists achieve in their entire career, much less before their first release. With two #1 singles (one as an artist and one as a co-writer), a GRAMMY® nomination, ASCAP honors and major tour bills with the likes of TobyMac, Newsboys and Matt Maher, among others, Ryan has already distinguished himself as a rare talent whose unique perspective guides his honest lyrics and sonic sensibilities. RyanStevensonMusic.com
Darren Mulligan left his native Ireland in 2003 to chase a life built on selfish ambition, temporary pleasure, and fleeting fame. God had other plans for him. Now leaving Ireland a second time, the man he is today stands in stark contrast to his sordid and troubled past. Darren’s personal testimony and the music of We Are Messengers are a beacon of hope for all.
“We see ourselves as messengers carrying the good news,” says Mulligan. “We’re just carrying His message from our hearts up into our mouths and out into our hands. God’s given us something to say through words and songs and through our lives. We ask the same question every day, ‘What is God saying? What opportunity is God bringing?’” WeAreMessengersMusic.com
Zach is no novice to the music industry. He had spent a majority of his life traveling with various bands. It was while on the road that the Lord grabbed a hold of him and he decided to leave the rock star life behind.
After that, Zach transitioned in to a position at the Refuge Campus of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas in which he still serves. It came as a shock when the opportunity to sign with Provident Label Group as a new Christian artist arose. Never in his wildest dreams did Zach Williams think that he would be in this place of writing and recording music in the Christian music industry, especially from years of hard living on the road while in a rock & roll band.
His personal testimony of receiving freedom in the Lord is so beautifully reflected in his debut single “Chain Breaker”. The song came from a place of wanting to reach people who had been struggling and it undoubtedly has. Over the course of it’s release in the summer of 2016, an influx of stories have been shared on his various social media pages by people who have experienced the life changing power of broken chains. ZachWilliamsMusic.net
The journey to Zealand Worship has been a wild and adventurous one that no one anticipated. Led by Phil Joel, best known for his long-standing role as bass player and vocalist for the multi platinum-selling band Newsboys, the band has been faithfully traversing a road that has been as unscripted and unexpected as it has been ordained.
Without even realizing it, Phil’s perspective began to shift, opening his eyes to a new understanding about worship and his role in it. “It was like the lights came on for me,” he explains. “I realized that leading worship is all about leading people’s hearts to a place far beyond a stage or a melody. True worship isn’t just about a moment; it’s about a lasting movement in people’s lives.”
And for the past few years, Phil and fellow musicians, all who have been part of successful bands, have been operating “off the grid,” going where they have felt led, ministering where they have been invited, under the radar and outside of the spotlight. It’s been a season of growth and preparation for the next chapter, which is aptly entitled Zealand Worship. ZealandWorship.com
Fresh off his debut television appearance on Live at Gotham and the release of his debut comedy special I Got Questions, award-winning stand-up comedian John Crist continues to gain momentum as one of America’s young rising stars of comedy. Crist’s style of edgy but clean comedy keeps him on the road for a whirlwind schedule of over 250 live shows per year. A regional finalist in Comedy Central’s Up Next Competition and over 10 million Buzzfeed views, Crist just returned from a USO Comedy Tour for the Troops in Kuwait…all while headlining top comedy clubs across the country and sharing the stage with the likes of Dave Chappelle, Seth Meyers, Tim Hawkins,Chris D’Elia, and Anjelah Johnson. JohnCristComedy.com
Born in Michigan and now living in Greenville, South Carolina, Jared’s passion was the result of being raised in a loving Christian home as he incorporates his values into every aspect of his life and work. His values have led him to perform and create art for a large number of churches and charities around the world, with his performance piece “Face of God” being the most requested. In 2014, Jared performed live in front of over 500,000 people, including 31,000 fans at the Georgia Dome, as a part of the Winter Jam concert tour. His artwork has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities around the world. JaredEmerson.com
Angela Thomas is a Bible teacher, national speaker, and best-selling author of books and Bible studies that include:
- Living Your Life as a Beautiful Offering
- Wild About You! (A Bible study for Teen Girls)
- Do You Think I’m Beautiful? Answering the Question Every Woman Asks
- When Wallflowers Dance: Becoming a Woman of Righteous Confidence
- Stronger: Finding Hope in Fragile Places
- Brave: Honest Questions Women Ask
As a mother of four, her determination to know God on an intimate level, and her dedication to studying the Bible, have taught her many truths – some discovered through tears and some in times of joy. Angela has the uncanny ability to be transparent, make readers laugh, and whisper to them about their most personal fears and heartfelt dreams.
For more information about Angela Thomas, please visit her website at AngelaThomas.com.