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Music

  • Jars of Clay Release Eleventh Studio Album - Inland

    Posted on August 14, 2013 by Family Christian

    GRAMMY and Dove Awards winning band Jars of Clay is set to release its eleventh studio album, Inland, on its own Gray Matters label with distribution through Tone Tree.  Produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Beth Orton, The Decemberists) and mixed by Beau Sorenson and Jacquire King, Inland is available today for pre-order and will be available Aug. 27.

    It’s been nearly twenty years since Dan Haseltine, Steve Mason, Charlie Lowell and Matthew Odmark released their debut Frail. Students at the time, Jars of Clay once again harness the youthful ambition and uninhibited creativity of their beginnings for Inland, while cultivating a maturity in sound with embellishments of violin, horns and ambient melodies that attests two decades of experience.

    “These are songs for the ordinary days – when life is weighty and uncertain,” reflects Matthew Odmark. “It is this middle space that we have inhabited over the years.  It’s where you and I do the gritty work of actually living.”

    The music on Inland has a rich cinematic quality, marked by Lowell’s lush keyboard melodies, Odmark’s strong acoustic rhythm guitar and Mason’s serpentine bass lines. The album’s first single and upcoming video, “After The Fight,” featuring the atmospheric guitar textures of Adrian Belew, has a low-key swagger that brings to mind the intergalactic art rock of Bowie and Peter Murphy. “We asked Adrian Belew if he’d come in and work his magic,” explains Haseltine. “He produced two songs on our first record, but we were too intimidated to let him play guitar. This time he added his big, wild, twanging guitar sound, the reverse solos and all the other effects he’s famous for.”

    Following years on labels, Inland marks Jars of Clay’s first independent release, “We’ve had enough experience with record labels working a project because they have to,” says Haseltine. “Everyone we work with loves the record and wants to help us build something as a band with a big creative vision.”

    Part of that creative vision is to shatter some of the preconceived notions built over the years by label marketing strategies. “It took a long time to strip away every voice that wasn’t ours to make Inland,” explains Haseltine. “For me, it's always been about a great song. We want to connect with people who love music for music. That's why created our own label.”

    Jars of Clay is currently on tour, playing new music from Inland and fan favorites spanning the band’s repertoire that includes 16 No. 1 songs.  Confirmed tour dates follow:

    August 15         BIRMINGHAM, AL                           WorkPlay Theater^
    August 16         CHARLOTTE, NC                              Amos’ Southend^
    August 17         KNOXVILLE, TN                              Bijou Theater^
    August 18         CHARLESTON, SC                           The Music Farm^
    August 21         GREENVILLE, SC                              The Handlebar^
    August 23         JACKSONVILLE, FL                         Murray Hill Theater^
    August 24         ORLANDO, FL                                  The Social^
    August 25         ST. PETERSBURG, FL                       State Theatre^
    August 29         NASHVILLE, TN                               3rd & Lindsley
    September 10   LITTLE ROCK, AR                            Revolution Music Room#
    September 11   TULSA, OK                                        The Vanguard#
    September 12   HUTCHINSON, KS                           Kansas State Fair#
    September 13   COLORADO SPRINGS, CO             The Black Sheep#
    September 14   SALT LAKE CITY, UT                      Urban Lounge#
    September 15   BOISE, ID                                           Knitting Factory#
    September 17   SEATTLE, WA                                   Puyallup County Fair#
    September 18   PORTLAND, OR                                Aladdin Theater#
    September 20   SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA                    SLO Brewing Co.
    September 21   PALMDALE, CA                                Palmdale Amphitheatre#
    September 22   SANTA ANA, CA                              The Observatory
    September 24   MESA, AZ                                          Mesa Arts Center#
    September 25   ALBUQUERQUE, NM                       The Lobo Theater#
    September 27   DALLAS, TX                                      House of Blues, Cambridge Room#
    October 23      SPRINGFIELD, MO                           Gillioz Theatre
    * Brooke Waggoner
    ^ The Last Bison
    # Brooke Waggoner/Kye Kye

  • The Digital Age Debuts Evening:Morning Today!

    Posted on August 13, 2013 by Family Christian

    Fair Trade band The Digital Age released their debut studio album Evening:Morning today, August 13. The four-piece, Waco, TX based group, made up of Mike Dodson (Mike D), Mark Waldrop, Jack Parker and Jeremy Bush (Bwack), formerly of the GRAMMY®-nominated David Crowder*Band, have officially entered a new musical era with the album release that has been called “one of the most anticipated albums of the year (Indie Vision Music).” The album launches The Digital Age into their post-David Crowder*Band career and continues the original vision and ministry that inspired them to create music in the first place.

    Engaging with their active fan base that have followed the band members throughout their multi-decade career, The Digital Age invited fans to be apart of their first official music video for the lead single off of Evening:Morning, “Captured.” The single is already making an impact at radio, currently being played on AIR1 Radio Network, SpiritFM/Tampa, WQME/Indianapolis, WDJC/Birmingham, WBFJ/Greensboro, NC and others. The lyric video for “Captured” is available here:

    The tracks off of Evening:Morning were written in a quasi-conceptual, temporal fashion, moving through the night to the morning, 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, with each song representing one hour. Critics have been buzzing about the concept and quality of the debut album. Here is a sampling of the praise:

    "A unique worship experience. The Digital Age continues the musical innovation that was foundational to The David Crowder Band."
    - Dan H., Music Buyer; Family Christian

    “The concept of the album is strong, the songs are powerful, and Jesus is the hero and heart of these 12 tracks. This is an exciting new chapter for The Digital Age. They’ve brought along their history but given it new wings.”
    - Foursquare.org

    “Evening:Morning offers a refreshing and reinvigorating album for those who are seemingly tired of the over-commercialized CCM music industry. The Digital Age’s album is a certain purchase if you enjoy worship artists like Crowder, or even experimental-style bands like Rend Collective and Leeland …possibly one of the most anticipated albums of the year.”
    - Indie Vision Music

    "While there are definitely some flashes of David Crowder*Band glory on Evening:Morning, there's plenty of brilliance here in previously untraveled musical territory."
    - New Release Tuesday

    “If you were a true fan of David Crowder Band then the transition into Digital Age will be an easy one for you.”
    - Christian Music Review

    “Without a doubt, this is an album that improves with each listen…The Digital Age is an absolutely welcomed ensemble in the scene that has the potential to become huge in the near future.”
    - Jesus Freak Hideout

    “While the components of their former musical life are all there, the band makes great strides to make their own music and the result is nothing short of great.”
    - Soul-Audio

    "Evening:Morning is unlike anything we have ever heard from these guys.”
    - Breathecast

    "The Digital Age has certainly stepped up and even changed the game in many different ways."
    - CMAddict

    This fall, The Digital Age will embark on a headlining, nationwide tour to promote their release of Evening:Morning. Kicking off September 26 in Waco, TX at University Baptist Church, the tour will feature Christian pop group Bellarive.

  • Stryper's No More Hell to Pay

    Posted on August 13, 2013 by Family Christian



    Frontiers Records is proud to announce the release of iconic Christian rock band Stryper’s new studio album, NO MORE HELL TO PAY; the offering has been confirmed for a November 5th release in and will be available in two formats – standard CD and deluxe digipak featuring exclusive video content.

    Produced by frontman/guitarist Michael Sweet, the set features some of Stryper’s strongest and heaviest material ever. Check out a special video message from Michael Sweet here.

    Sweet also commented, “NO MORE HELL TO PAY marks our 30 year anniversary and what a journey it has been! It's our eleventh studio release since our first album in 1984 (THE YELLOW & THE BLACK ATTACK) and it's quite possibly our best record to date. Why? It's everything you might expect from a Stryper record - high octane vocals, layered vocal harmonies, guitar solos galore, driving drums and bass and an energy that hasn't been achieved since our glory days. The message is equally as powerful as it offers hope and inspiration to anyone listening. If you're a Stryper fan, it'll make you proud to be one. If you're not, listen with caution as you may actually become one. We've been waving the striped flag for 30 years and we're proud to say that it's an honor to still be making music with you and for you. The best is yet to come and it's coming November 5th!”

    Stryper is currently playing select tour dates around the nation as a warm-up for an upcoming extensive tour around the release of the album. Please see below for remaining tour dates.

    Stryper is one of the top Christian rock bands of all time. Comprised of the original line-up of Michael Sweet (vocals/guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Tim Gaines (bass) and Robert Sweet (drums), Stryper has been rocking since 1984, and is responsible for such '80s metal classic albums as SOLDIERS UNDER COMMAND, TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL, IN GOD WE TRUST and such MTV hit singles/videos as "Calling on You," "Free" and "Honestly." After a sabbatical for much of the 1990's, Stryper returned strong in the early 21st century. To date, the band has sold upwards of 8 million records worldwide and is a Dove Award-winner and GRAMMY nominee. Stryper is the first band to have two songs in MTV’s Top 10 simultaneously.

    NO MORE HELL TO PAY track listing:
    1. Revelation
    2. No More Hell To Pay
    3. Saved By Love
    4. Jesus Is Alright
    5. The One
    6. Legacy
    7. Marching Into Battle
    8. Te Amo
    9. Sticks & Stones
    10. Water Into Wine
    11. Sympathy
    12. Renewed

    Stryper tour dates:
    Aug. 13 - San Juan Capistrano, CA / The Coach House*
    Aug. 14 - West Hollywood, CA / The Whiskey A Go Go*
    Aug. 16 - Henderson, NV / Club Madrid at Sunset Station Hotel & Casino*
    Aug. 30 - Wendover, NV / Peppermill Casino
    *Michael Sweet and Oz Fox acoustic

  • Steven Curtis Chapman Announces New Album - The Glorious Unfolding

    Posted on August 12, 2013 by Family Christian

    Highly acclaimed singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman announces the release of his latest record, The Glorious Unfolding, available September 30, 2013. The project is the first full-length studio album with all original songs in seven years. Kicking off the launch, the new single, “Love Take Me Over,” recently released and garnered 42 radio adds its first week out. Chapman will also visit 35+ cities on the first leg of “The Glorious Unfolding” Tour alongside GRAMMY-winning worship leader Laura Story and greatly noted songsmith Jason Gray.

    Garnering 47 No. 1 singles and approaching 11 million career albums sold, Steven Curtis Chapman is now readying to release his 18th album. The Glorious Unfolding centers on the truth that God is at work telling a story through the wonderful and amazing as well as the painful and difficult chapters of our lives, something Chapman understands first hand.

    “As I’ve journeyed through this story, I’m more convinced than ever that God does know the plans that He has for us and He will finish what He started. God is telling an amazing, glorious, epic story. We have to decide if we will trust Him with it,” explains Chapman.

    The latest single, “Love Take Me Over,” recently released to radio and garnered 42 adds its first week out on rotation, making it one of Christian music’s highest radio add dates of 2013. Other notable songs from the record include the melodically adventuresome “Glorious Unfolding,” high-energy declaration “Something Beautiful,” full-orchestrated love song “Together” and many others.

    Chapman will embark on a fall 35-city, “The Glorious Unfolding” Tour. The national run's title presenting partner is Show Hope, a nonprofit organization that restores the hope of families to orphans in distress around the world and in the U.S. Chapman and the tour are also partnering with America World Adoption. Fans can anticipate music from the Steven's new album, including the debut single, “Love Take Me Over,” a mixture of his No. 1 singles and other fan favorites in an encouraging night filled with stories, worship and excitement.

    “I'm so excited and honored to have Laura Story and Jason Gray join me on the road,” Chapman adds. “I can't wait to share these songs live and we're already praying God will use each and every night powerfully. I hope all our friends can make it out.”

  • Newsboys Announce ReStart Tour - This Fall

    Posted on August 12, 2013 by Family Christian

    This fall, the multi-platinum selling band and steady touring act Newsboys will continue to share the message of how to 'change the world' with their highly anticipated Restart Tour. Hitting 20+ dates across the U.S., this four-time GRAMMY-nominated and chart-topping group will kick off their anticipated tour on September 20 and run through October 27. Newsboys will be promoting their brand new upcoming studio project, Restart, which is slated to release September 10.


    Over the course of their previous sellout tours, Newsboys have impacted thousands of lives, both locally and internationally, making a Newsboys show one of the most in-demand nights of worship, praise and celebration. As they ready for their fall tour, concertgoers can anticipate hearing brand new songs from Restart, such as their newest hit single that is climbing up the charts, “Live With Abandon,” as well as "Restart" and "That's How You Change The World," the first song found on their new album. Fans will also get to hear many of the band's biggest No. 1 hits, such as "Your Love Never Fails," “God’s Not Dead,” “Born Again,” and much, much more.


    Sponsoring Newsboys' touring once again is Compassion International, where on their previous sold out God’s Not Dead Tour, more than 10,750 children were sponsored throughout their partnership with the organization. Also adding to the tour will be opening support from popular artists such as For King & Country, Moriah Peters, and Rapture Ruckus.
    Tour dates are listed below.
    September
    20 – Barre, VT
    21 – Shippensburg, PA
    22 – New Brunswick, NJ
    27 – Savannah, GA
    October
    03 – Metairie, LA
    05 – Harlingen, TX
    06 – Austin, TX
    10 – Columbia, MO
    11 – Cincinnati, OH
    12 – Cullman, AL
    13 – Waukesha, WI
    18 – Marion, IN
    19 – Davenport, IA
    20 – St. Cloud, MN
    22 – Fargo, ND
    24 – Green Bay, WI
    25 – Mitchell, SD
    26 – St. Charles, MO
    27 – Springfield, OH

  • Mandisa - Finding Freedom by Overcoming

    Posted on August 6, 2013 by John van der Veen

    Coming off her most successful album ever, Mandisa returned to the studio to record her new album, Overcomer. Her previous album, What If We Were Real, has sold over 270,000 albums and featured the breakout radio hits “Good Morning,” “Waiting For Tomorrow,” and the #1 hit, “Stronger.” The American Idol alum and three-time Grammy nominee continues to be a voice of encouragement and truth to women facing life’s challenges. Mandisa also continues to have unprecedented media exposure for a Christian artist including two recent appearances on Good Morning America. 

    I sat down with Mandisa at a local coffee shop to talk about new music, coffee vs. tea, family and what it means to be an over-comer. What follows is a real conversation. Mandisa, some would say is a true artist. She is that for sure, but she is so much more. She is a warrior in a huge battle. She is a fighter - fighting for the truth of the Gospel. That can be summed up with one statement from her, "There is joy unspeakable!"

    John:               I’m reading a quote, and I’m not sure where this was, maybe on your promo sheet or something, but you said, “I recorded both the song ‘Overcomer’ and the album to fuel faith and empower people; to remind those facing a battle that all for the strength and power they need is readily available to them. We are all overcomers.”

    So, my question is, why do you think people struggle with not seeing that identity themselves?

    Mandisa:       Because we are natural people. We have a supernatural heritage, but we’re natural people. We tend to only see our circumstances and not look beyond our circumstances. I was reading in Judges 6-8, which is the story of Gideon, and it was fascinating to me. If you look at the snapshot of who Gideon was and Judges 6, and then if you look at the end in Judges 8, it’s almost like two completely different people. He was really kind of riddled with fear; I just think it was a stronghold of his. When the angel came to him and said, “Oh, mighty man of valor, the Lord is with you,” Gideon’s initial response was, “Well, if the Lord is with me, then why is this happening?” That’s so typical of us, isn’t it? We hear that the Lord is with us but then we look at our circumstances and say it doesn’t feel like the Lord is with me. Once Gideon started to believe what God said about him, he started walking it out. It took him believing what the angel of the Lord was saying to him to make him really started walking as a mighty man of valor. It was a process.

    I’m convinced that when people start believing what God says about them, they’ll start walking it out. But God, He requires the faith at first. That’s why He says time and time again, “Believe Me, trust Me.” I love the man in the Gospel as He says, “I believe; help my unbelief.” God honors that prayer; it’s like, “Lord, I really want to believe and I believe you a little bit but help me in the areas where I don’t so much.” I think when we pray that, God says, “Okay, thank you for finally asking me.” Wham! “Here you go!” [laughs]

    John:               When somebody comes to you and says, “Yeah, but you have it all together.”

    Mandisa:       Ugh! Please. [laughs]

    John:               They may say, “I’m just a single mom raising three kids,” or “I’m a college student with the whole world ahead of me,” or whatever, and yet they can’t see anything going on in their lives spiritually. How do you say, look at Gideon or look at the man in the New Testament who said, “Help my unbelief”? What is your secret? Have you found a set of steps or something?

    Mandisa:       Totally. I say look at them and look at me. My last album was called What If We Were Real? That’s because God really sent me on a journey of taking the mask off. It was the mask that I would wear to try to tell the world that I’ve got it all together. He taught me to really let people see me as I truly am because I’ve found… I don’t know, I think so often in the Body of Christ we drive up to church, get in an argument with our family in the car, and then drive up and hit the church door and we’re like, “Hi. I’m blessed and highly favored.” We put on this veneer like I’ve got it all together and I actually think that God calls us to live more transparently, to live more vulnerably and to let our brothers and sisters in Christ see us as we really are. One, because in that way we can help one another know that we’re not alone; and two, it helps us to become more than what we are or were to start with.

    So, my last album was a process of coming to understand that, and I have just learned to be very transparent--almost to a fault on my social media sites. I posted earlier this week about a moment where I had to confess to somebody at a store—it’s a long story, you can read it on my Facebook [laughs] —I had to confess to somebody at the store that I lied to them and [groans] that is just never easy to do! But I did it because, well, the Lord told me to and he convicted me and the less you listen to the conviction of the Lord, the more you get numb to it. I just want to always follow the conviction and to repent when I need to and to receive God’s grace and forgiveness and to keep it moving.

    I just try to make it a point of letting the world know I do not have it all together.  I’m on this journey just like you are and let’s do this together, let’s learn from one another.

    At the same time, you have to recognize that you’re more than what you currently see. When God looks at us, He sees us as he created us. He sees us covered in the blood of Jesus, not as what we see when we look in the reflection in the mirror.

    John:               Is it scary sometimes when you get that vulnerable with people?

    Mandisa:       I think it used to be; it’s not so much anymore. It’s been a process, but I can thank Simon Cowell, in part, for that [laughs], for kind of putting me on blast, you know, on American Idol years ago. It helped me to not live hidden and not live hiding who I really am. Him making fun of my weight on national television put my weight story out there for the world to see, and that’s the main area where I was the most timid of letting people really see what was inside. So when Simon threw me out there, I was kind of forced out there, but it was a blessing in disguise because I feel like I’ve really learned a lot through it. I’ve helped several brothers and sisters along the same journey know that they’re not alone and that they—and I’m struggling just like they are—we have everything we need to fight and to come in victoriously.

    John:               Total sidebar, but do you still stay in contact with some of those people from those days?

    Mandisa:       The contestants I do.

    John:               Who won that year?

    Mandisa:       Taylor Hicks. He is in Las Vegas right now, and I know I’m a little bit biased, but I think that we had one of the more successful seasons. If you look at our Top 10, you’ve got Catherine McPhee on an NBC show, Kelly Pickler was just on Dancing with the Stars, and Chris Daughtry is a superstar. So many of the people on my season are doing really well, so that’s one of the great things about social media.  I can always tweet them and Facebook them and keep in touch with how they’re doing. Then when I get to their cities, I can look them up and say, “Hey, let’s go grab some coffee.” But no, I don’t hang out with Simon Cowell on a regular basis. [laughs again]

    John:               So let’s look at this: Each of your records seem to tell another chapter or story in your life; adding, maybe, another layer of who you are. When you put those songs together or create that album, are you thinking of Mandisa? Are you thinking of your personal friends… or your fan base? When you make a record, who’s that for?

    Mandisa:       I don’t think I’ve ever been asked that question and I like it!

    My albums have been a journey of my life. True Beauty was first and that was coming right off of doing American Idol and really learning not to define myself by the standards of the world but by what God says about me. Freedom was when God started chipping away at the things in my life that I’ve been bound by, mainly my food addiction, and I began really letting Him teach me that true freedom is not the fact that I can eat these scones that are right behind me, but that true freedom is knowing that I don’t have to and knowing that I have the power to resist those scones and the chocolate cookies or whatever is tempting me.

    The third was What If We Were Real? That record was God chipping away at the layers and letting me show the world who I really am, and with this one, it was a combination of me looking at my life and how I’m overcoming not just the weight struggle, but also lots of other areas in my life.  I’m overcoming … I think for a long time I was very miserable being single. I call myself super-duper single because I think once you hit 30 you’re not just single, you’re super single. (Laughs)

    I’m just saying, once I hit 30. (laughter). I think I was so miserable in that for such a long time, and I feel like God has been helping me to overcome depending on a man to complete me. I believe that I’m called to be married; I believe that I’m going to meet my husband one day, but saying “I’m going to live my life right now and not just wait for the moment when I get married.” That’s a big overcomer story for me.So, I was thinking about myself in those areas and then I was thinking about some friends of mine. One in particular, whose name is Keisha, was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was pregnant and was undergoing chemo treatments while she was seven months pregnant. When I looked at her story, I went, “Wow! You were in the middle of this battle and had the greatest outlook!” I could just see how God was going to use this as a testimony. I was like, “Keisha, you’re an overcomer and we’ve not even seen the end of this battle.” For me, it’s about really studying the Word of God and coming to understand that an overcomer is somebody who has not even conquered their circumstances yet.

    The Bible describes an overcomer as, first of all, if you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, the Bible makes it really clear that those who believe that Jesus is Lord, are overcomers, because Jesus is an overcomer. Then, of course, in John 4:4, it says that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. So, it really isn’t about circumstances; it’s not about feeling like we’re an overcomer.  We’re an overcomer because God says that we are. Like I said earlier, once we believe that, I think that’s when we’ll start walking it out. But we have to believe it first.

    That’s what this album is, is it’s convincing both myself and my brothers and sisters in Christ to believe that you and I are overcomers. That we need to and can trust God, and that the One who is inside of you is greater than the one who is of the world. You can beat whatever it is that you’re going through, even though beating it may not look like we think it does. Keisha’s doing really well with her cancer. She’s had a double mastectomy and is still going through more treatments, but her baby was born perfectly healthy. We don’t know what the end is going to be, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s overcome this; she may overcome it by seeing Jesus face to face sooner rather than later. Or she may overcome it by God completely healing her, but what we know is that because Jesus lives in her, she’s an overcomer regardless of how we see the circumstances working out.

    John:               Is this record more personal for you?

    Mandisa:       I think all of my records have been personal.  This one is different in that where I am in my life is different than all of my other past albums. I just feel like I’m in a great place of contentment that I’ve never had before. I love being single now; there are many benefits. Let me tell them to you… (laughs)

    On Mother’s Day, I got a last minute flight to Charlotte where I got to support my friend Lisa who was speaking in her Church. She was speaking about something that was really difficult for her, and as I booked those flights with my miles, I was like, “If I was married and had kids, I probably couldn’t have hopped this flight at the last minute and gone to support her.” I can take my money and use it to benefit causes that are important to me. I can spend as much time in my bed as I want to and I get the whole bed to myself. I love my bed; I named my bed Rufus because I love it that much.

    I have the ability to do that without having to worry about somebody next to me pulling my covers, I love that. I think more importantly, I can spend as much time with the Lord as I want to. I can wake up on any given day, sit there in my bed, Rufus, and talk to the Lord all day long and study the Word and fellowship with my friends. You can’t really do that when you have different devotions to your children or to your husband.

    John:               It’s different.

    Mandisa:       It’s a different kind of a calling, but for right now I’m just appreciating that I have those things. So, yeah, in one area, that’s important, and I have a song, “I’m Praying for You” that I wrote with Chris August. That is a song to my future husband—who is not Chris August, by the way. (laughs) Let me just make that clear!

    So, I long for that day, but I’m not putting my life on hold. And I’ve got a lot of great workout songs on this album, just because that’s been important to me in the last few years. More than anything, there’s a lot of worship songs this time around because I’m just so loving the Lord and just so thankful for so much that that came out in my music. I’ve got a lot of songs that are like, “God you don’t have to do another thing, I just want to worship you because you’re that good.”

    Yeah, it’s different from my other albums. I think a lot of my other albums were more like, “Lord, when?” and “Help me,” and “I can’t get through this!” So now this one is a little bit more like, “Thank you, Jesus! I know that I can get through this!”

    John:               “Dear John”… Can you tell us about that song?

    Mandisa:       Oh, gosh! Do you have Kleenex ready? (laughter)

    John:               We can get some. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay too.

    Mandisa:       No, I’m happy to talk about it. Although I’ve never been able to talk about it without crying.

    John is my brother. He is not a Christian, and I really want him to be. And the reason I want him to be is not because I want him to live a life of rules and regulations. It’s because I know the abundant life that I have from a relationship with Jesus, and I simply want him to have that same abundant life. We’ve talked many times about faith. But right now he’s enjoying his party lifestyle, and he sees a lot of hypocrites—people who say they believe one thing and then their lives reflect another. So I think that’s just kind of been a way that the enemy has blinded his eyes. I pray for him on a regular basis and I have a lot of people praying for him. All of my Facebook and Twitter people know. Natalie Grant is a great friend of mine, and she has an alarm that goes off at nine o’clock every single day to remind her to pray for John. Here I go with the tears… (laughs)

    So, I played “Dear John” for him on Fourth of July weekend. It was the first time he heard it, and his response was, “You know, that’s a great song, Disa.” And, of course, my response that I wanted was, “What must I do to be saved?” and I know that that day is going to happen; it just hasn’t happened yet.

    So “Dear John” is a song that I wrote, if I were to write a letter about my desire for him to live that abundant life in Jesus and then if I were to put that letter to music, that’s what “Dear John” would be. I am praying first for his salvation, and hoping that as he listens to that song, he would put it on repeat without even knowing why, that he just keeps playing it and calls me up and says, “Okay, I’m ready.” Secondly, I’m also praying for every unbeliever who listens to it.  I just … I’m asking God to flood them with grace and forgiveness. I think so often people think that it is about, I don’t know, a list or something of things that you have to do. My brother’s enjoying partying and he likes going to bars and he likes women, and I just think that he probably has some shame there, but he’s just kind of enjoying that. But if I could just convince him, you don’t know what you’re missing! Jesus is literally the best thing that’s ever happened to me and what you think you’re getting from these bars and alcohol and women, it does not even come close to the joy and the freedom and the satisfaction you get from a life with Jesus.

    So I’m praying that for him and I’m praying for every unbeliever as they listen to it that they’ll just receive a flood of forgiveness and grace. Third, I’m also praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have loved ones in their lives who don’t know the Lord, that God would just rise up like faith to talk to them, to maybe write their own Dear John letter and say “Hey, one of my favorite artists, Mandisa, has this song that I really want you to listen to,” (laughter) but before you listen, let me tell you about what Jesus means to me.

    I don’t know, I can just imagine people sending a letter with that song and then their loved one calling them and saying, “Okay, I recognize that you want this for me because you love me, so let’s talk about it.” I’m just praying that God opens up doors for conversations about Jesus to be had through this song.

    John:               Very good. Okay, so let’s see. We’ll kind of change gears a little bit. So talk about the record. Any new guest vocals?

    Mandisa:       Yeah, lots of guest vocals.

    John:               Is Chris on it as well?

    Mandisa:       He is, yes. I wrote with Matthew West. We wrote a song called “The Distance.”

    John:               Okay.

    Mandisa:       I wrote with Plumb, we actually wrote “Dear John” together.

    John:               Does that mean that Matthew is then singing with you?

    Mandisa:       Matthew was doing the background on “The Distance.”

    John:               Okay.

    Mandisa:       I wrote “Dear John” with Plumb, she’s singing background on that. I wrote “Praying for You” with Chris, he’s singing background on that. Then, there are a few people who aren’t singing on the album, but we wrote with… Israel Houghton on a song called “At All Times.” He lives in Houston, so we didn’t get those vocals. Then Cindy Morgan and Britt Nicole wrote a song that I did not write on called “Where You Begin,” and they’re not singing on it but they wrote that song.

    So, yeah, lots of guest appearances on this album and they’re not only some of my friends, but they’re also some of my favorite artists. So it’s just been neat to be able to come together on these.

    John:               That’s great! That’s cool.

    Are you a book reader? You are a book reader; what are you reading right now?  That’s okay if you mention like three or four.

    Mandisa:       Okay. I’m reading Captivating by John and Stacy Eldredge, just because as a single woman that’s a great book for me to have. I’m also reading through The 5 Love Languages because there’s kind of a new relationship in my life. I don’t know where it’s going to go but, shhh. (laughter)

    John:               And it’s not Chris August.

    Mandisa:       It’s not Chris August.

    Female:         He didn’t hear that part. (laughter)

    Mandisa:       I think it just kind of helps to know how people are wired. I’m really into my friend Tam here; she does radio at Capitol with me and we’ve been talking all day long about personalities and how different kinds of people communicate with one another. I’m just into stuff like that. So I’m reading The 5 Love Languages, as I mentioned, and I’m realizing what my love languages are and are not. I think it will really help me to be able to show love to whomever I marry; but not just in a potential marital relationship, but with friends and family and coworkers too. So I’m reading that. Then, I’m also reading through the Bible; my Church is reading through the Bible, the Scriptures both in the Old and New Testament, and I’m using the voice translation, which I absolutely love.

    Those three things I’m reading right now.

    John:               You are an author as well.

    Mandisa:       I’m working on a new one [book].

    John:               Really? Wow! When does that come out?

    Mandisa:       We’re just in the process; we’re meeting with publishers now. I have my preference, but we want to do an overcomer book. We want to do an overcomer book where people would compile a bunch of overcomer stories because I’m just convinced that when people tell their story in their testimonies, it helps them because the Bible says that we overcome by the word of our testimony. But it also helps people to hear it so I want to hear people tell their stories of how they overcame cancer because when people are going through cancer to read something like that, fuels their faith. So I want to compile these powerful stories about people in the middle of their battles, and also at the end of the battle. So, we’ll see.

    John:               What kind of music to you listen to now?

    Mandisa:       I’m a big CCM fan; the thing I love about CCM music, which stands for Contemporary Christian Music for those who don’t know, is that it comes in every style. You’ve got Christian Hip Hop and Rap and Country and Rock and Polka, probably! I don’t know. (laughter) I love that you can get all these styles, but the thing I love most about Christian music is that it’s not just something that makes you feel good, that makes you want to get up and dance, there’s a purpose and a meaning to it, and it helps you connect with the Lord. I love worship artists. My favorite worship artists are Israel Houghton and Jesus Culture, Meredith Andrews. I love the more current, more pop, hip hop styles. Capitol Kings I’m loving now. Then more pop artists like Britt Nicole and Natalie Grant. I don’t know; I love it all! If you look at my iPod, you’ll see a little bit of everything, but it’s pretty much all Christian music.

    John:               Last question, because we’re going to end here at three o’clock.

    Female:         Okay, we can leave a few minutes late too, because we came so late.

    John:               Well … What are you most excited about in 2013 besides Overcomer coming out?

    Mandisa;       I think the Hits Deep tour. We did it last year. It is tobyMac’s tour. He brings out a bunch of artists that are all my favorites. Last year it was Britt Nicole and Group 1 Crew were on it, but Britt and Blanca from Group 1 Crew are in baby mode right now, so they’re not on it this year. But we’ve added Colton Dixon who was on American Idol as well and is my label mate, and Capitol Kings who I just mentioned. I love them, they’re just really current. Then the people who were on it last year as well, like Brandon Heath, Jamie Grace and Chris August and Toby and myself. I cannot wait; it’s literally all of my favorite artists in one night.

    John:               Is that this fall?

    Mandisa:       It is. It starts in November and goes through December. Then in October I’m doing some more shows with Brandon Heath. We’ve been touring all year together; we did a 3-in-1 tour with Laura Story, and then we did a few shows called the Brandisa tour (laughs), because there was a rumor that he and I were dating so we just sort of embraced the name Brandisa. We are not, we are not dating.

    John:               Who started that rumor?

    Mandisa:       He did. (laughs)

    John:               Oh, he did?  (laughter)

    Mandisa:       He went on a national radio station and said that we’re dating. I was like, “Brandon, look, I know it’s all kind of fun and games, but as a single woman you are messing up my game by telling the world that we are dating!” (laughter)

    So we set the record straight. There’s a video on YouTube of him clarifying that we’re not dating. But, yeah, we’ve been touring together all year long.

    John:               So we need to pray for a husband for Mandisa, and for her brother.

    Mandisa:       You can pray for continued contentment for Mandisa and then the  husband will come whenever God is good and ready. (Laughs)

     

  • Matt Redman to Release "Your Grace Finds Me"

    Posted on August 5, 2013 by Family Christian

    Acclaimed worship leader and two-time GRAMMY® winner Matt Redman announces the release of his new live album Your Grace Finds Me due September 24. The forthcoming release from sixstepsrecords follows his heralded 2011 project and its RIAA certified gold anthem title track, 10,000 Reasons. This year alone "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" has won two GRAMMY®  awards, a Billboard Music Awards and was named ASCAP's Christian Music Song of the Year. Continuing the momentum from “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” is the new album’s lead single “Your Grace Finds Me” which drops at radio on August 2.

    Redman shares about Your Grace Finds Me and the inspiring new songs:

    Redman recently finished recording the 12-track project at Passion City Church’s ‘LIFT: A Worship Leader Collective’ in Atlanta, GA. The event was hosted by Louie Giglio and GRAMMY® winner Chris Tomlin and included worship leaders from all across the country. The record follows suit with 10,000 Reasons, which was also recorded at the annual LIFT conference. This fall, Matt Redman will embark on a European tour along with Martin Smith.

  • Newsboys Hit the Restart Button

    Posted on August 1, 2013 by Family Christian

    Four-time GRAMMY®-nominated band Newsboys plans to “take the music further” than ever before with their new album, Restart, set to hit stores on September 10. Boasting a discography of 16 records and over eight million albums sold, Restart will be the third studio album with Michael Tait at the helm and combines the pop, worship and rock that fans embraced from the first two albums, Born Again and God's Not Dead. In the nearly four years since Tait joined the band, over 650,000 records have been sold, while five singles have attained No. 1 status on the radio charts.

    Musically, the Newsboys are driven to recast themselves with the pop-spirited new album and have already proven to be successful as their first single “Live With Abandon” reached No. 20 on the National Christian Audience chart this week. The single has also broken into the Top 10 at Christian Hot AC at No. 6.

    "At the start of this record two years ago, we knew we'd be taking great risks, but people will be excited about this album because we've pushed the music and taken it further than we've ever taken it before,” says front man Michael Tait. “I have not felt this way about anything I’ve been involved in musically since Jesus Freak.”

    The lyric video for “Live With Abandon” is now available here.

  • Hezekiah Walker's "Every Praise" is the #1 Gospel Song

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Family Christian

    Hezekiah Walker’s “Every Praise” is quickly becoming an anthem in Gospel music.  Today the song has landed in the #1 spot on the R&R Gospel chart and, after debuting #1 seven weeks ago, his album - AZUSA THE NEXT GENERATION -  is also #1 on Billboard’s Gospel sales chart.

    “The airwaves are saturated with powerful music right now, and it feels great that ‘Every Praise’ has cut through to the top of the charts,” says B. Jeffrey Grant Clark, Vice President of Radio Promotions for RCA Inspiration.  “’Every Praise’ is another Hezekiah Walker song that will be sung throughout the ages – it continues his outstanding legacy of creating timeless church music.”

    Donald Lawrence, who produced “Every Praise,” says the song “sonically and stylistically ushers in and validates a potential new genre – ‘Christian Soul.’ “It was an honor to once again produce great music with Hezekiah Walker and tread new water by developing a new sound for choirs and choir music,” says Lawrence.

    Hezekiah Walker says that “Every Praise” is a universally relatable song.  “Whether they go to church or not, people have a praise in them that is reserved for God,” says Walker.  “This song connects with a feeling of thanksgiving and honor that everyone has at some point.”

    “The driving force for me is keeping choir music relevant,” says Walker.  “Back in the day when I came along there were a lot of choirs, but you could tell the difference between a Ricky Dillard, a Donald Lawrence, a John P. Kee and a Hezekiah Walker because we all had our certain sound.  That’s what kept us in the game, and I’m constantly keeping a focus on delivering a unique sound,” he says.

  • New Single from Royal Tailor - Remain

    Posted on July 30, 2013 by Family Christian

    After a debut album that landed them a plumb spot on Winter Jam and a hit single at radio ("Make A Move"), Royal Tailor is back with their electrifying second record.  THE band for student ministries and college students, Royal Tailor delves deeper into themes that resonate with this audience, from talking about a love that will always remain, even when Earthly love fades to expressing a desire to living only for the true original Creator.

    Check out their new single, Remain in the lyric video below.

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