Something I often hear in Christian circles, is a common distaste for the overall sound of Christian radio. Many in the industry listen to Christian radio in short stints as a necessity for work but their personal preference is found in mainstream music. The complaints I hear are generated from college/young adult Christians, artists, producers, songwriters, record label employees and even some who work in radio. Reasons heard from those complaining include 1) the music sounds the same as what was being played ten years ago 2) every song sounds similar 3) radio plays the same handful of artists on repeat 4) the production isn’t relevant to what is being made in the mainstream. While some of those reasons may ring true, who is serving up solutions? Who feeds the music to radio?
I would argue that the radio playlists lie in the hands of the creators. If the artists, songwriters, producers and record company A&R teams refuse to feed radio the same formulaic music, wouldn’t radio be forced to change? When something new begins to work, what if creators resisted the urge to jump on the copycat bandwagon and instead chose to lead with even newer sounds? What if record companies refused to put so much stock into what radio research is asking for and instead fed radio with nothing but innovative music? Imagine radio playlists chocked full of innovative artists like Switchfoot, For King & Country, Lecrae, Future of Forestry, John Mark McMillan, Social Club and The Brilliance. Radio might just sound a bit different.
Join the conversation, share your thoughts and stay tuned for Part 2 as we explore even more.
The Gray Havens End 2015 On High Note
CCM Magazine, JesusFreakHideout and NewReleaseToday
NASHVILLE, Tenn. January 4, 2016 —Artist Garden Entertainment artist, The Gray Havens, end 2015 on a high note with top rankings on multiple industry Top 2015 album lists. The independent, Chicago-based husband/wife duo found their way into the hearts of top Christian media with Fire & Stone, produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning Mitch Dane (Brandon Heath, JJ Heller)
CCM Magazine’s Andy Argyrakis ranked The Gray Havens Fire & Stone #6 on his Top 10 Albums list for 2015 stating “this full-length debut is an enthralling and enlightening start to what’s sure to be a fruitful career.”
Fire and Stone ranked #6 on JesusFreakHideout’s Overall Staff Picks for 2015 making The Gray Havens the first independent artist to ever appear on the chart. In addition, the duo ranked #1 on several individual staff picks charts.
Christian music discovery site UnderTheRadar ranked the record #4 on their 2015 Top Gourmet Album Picks.
The husband/wife duo released a new song, At Last, The King, in December which became NewReleaseTuesday’s top downloaded Christmas song of 2015.
The Gray Havens enter the studio this week with producer Ben Shive ( Colony House, Andrew Peterson) to begin recording their next record currently scheduled for a spring release.
The music streaming race gets a little more interesting with the today’s announcement from Youtube. Youtube announced the release of their music app for IOS and Android. I’m just downloading the app so no opinion from me yet on its functionality, however, I’m sure it will quickly move to the top of every music marketing plan. Upon hearing the news, I found this amazingly produced video that Youtube made to introduce the service. Interestingly I was the 50th person to view it so I wanted to share with those of you who haven’t seen it. After watching this video, I’m stoked. How about You?
Working as an artist manager, I’ve discovered something that holds true for most artists. If an artist is comfortable, they most likely aren’t growing. In order to continue growing an audience, the artist must continually push the boundaries of their music, imaging and marketing. The irony is that most artists don’t like to be uncomfortable but they all want to grow their audience.
Are you comfortable?
If you aren’t aware of The Gray Havens, then you should be! The husband/wife pop-folk duo have been quietly building a following amongst college students, hipsters and those who appreciate great music. With lyrics inspired by literary greats JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, The Gray Havens are branding a unique style of fantasy story telling with theological undercurrents.
David and Licia Radford, The Gray Havens, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new EP which they hope to release in Spring 2016. They have been vigorously writing new songs and have lined up producer Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Colony House, Brandon Heath) to begin production once the funds are raised. Check out the video and join them in making the new record.
CLICK THE K IN TOP LEFT CORNER OF VIDEO
Frontman for one of Christian music’s all-time best live bands, Salvador, releases his first solo EP “My Life Is Yours” today through Lucid Artist. In typical Nic Gonzales fashion, you won’t see him attempting to grab headlines. Instead, he is quietly releasing his new collection of beautifully written songs with minimal self-promoted fanfare. Well sports fans, THE SECRET IS OUT!
This EP reminds me of the pure but powerful vocal presence that led Salvador to the top of Christian radio charts. Nic plays most of the instruments himself but is accompanied by Salvador producer/keyboardist, Chris Bevins. His brother, Art Gonzales, makes a guest drumming appearance and of course you will hear some BGVs from wife, Jaci Velasquez. Listeners will be drawn in by the vulnerability Nic expresses through his lyrics on the EP. “Good As Gold” is my favorite track as he sings about the joy of being a husband and father.
Do yourself a favor…GO BUY THIS RECORD! CLICK HERE
Artist Garden Entertainment
I have been working on a book for the last couple of years titled Creating Monsters – Finding Fame In Jesus’ Name. The book is targeted at anyone pursuing a career on a platform that could potentially bring fame.(music, film, sports etc) The book released this week and is available at amazon.com, christianbookstore.com, select Christian retail and on my website keithstancil.com I’d be honored if you would check it out.
Brace yourself for the debut of Noah Cleveland, the new big voice in Christian music! The album, Church With No Walls, produced by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Nathan Nockles and Pete Stewart is loaded with songs that showcase Noah’s big voice. And when I say big voice, I mean BIG VOICE!
Noah tours the country bringing the super important message, of tearing down the walls. The anthem, Church With No Walls, co-written and produced with Passion City Church’s Nathan Nockles, shows his heart for healing the division present in today’s church.
The EP also includes songs co-written with a few of Christian music’s hit songwriters Tony Wood, Scott Cash and Pete Stewart.
Church With No Walls releases digitally today on iTunes, Spotify and all other digital outlets. Physical CDs can be purchased via Noah’s website http://www.noahcleveland.com
Kevin McNeese and his team at NewReleaseToday.com have once again showed innovative marketing as they continue to build one of Christian music’s leading brands. The NewReleaseToday.com team partnered with the Creation Festivals through hosting a coffee house stage this year at Creation Northwest, Creation Northeast, Sonshine Festival and Ichthus.
While most festivals include side stages, never in the past have I seen a sponsor with such a huge marketing influence connect all the dots in the way NewReleaseToday.com did this summer.
In addition to hosting the stages, they supported the stages weekly on their website and partnered with Noisetrade to offer a sampler with participating artists. The NewReleaseToday.com sampler titled Recreation, debuted at #1 this on Noisetrade this week and featured tracks from Disciple, Ginny Owens, Remedy Drive, Shonlock, Ryan Corn, Jonathan Thulin and others.
Utilizing their 150K subscriber list, NRT has managed to turn the normal low impact festival side stage into a viable marketing vehicle for newer artists. Its encouraging to see Kevin and his team lead the industry through new creative marketing initiatives that give new and independent artists opportunities to be discovered.