EC24 ARTISTS & SPEAKERS


  • ELEVATION RHYTHM might be the sound for the next generation, but the collective is rooted in far more than trendy sonics. Their foundation is the Word of God. Their mantra is Jesus is Lord. Their drive is the love of Christ. Pure and simple. And on their latest release, This Is The Gospel, they get back to the basics, laying out plain truth for a world desperate for something to believe in.

     

    A musical expression of Elevation Church — led by pastor Steven Furtick — ELEVATION RHYTHM was born from the church’s high-energy Wednesday night youth gatherings. The ensemble has quietly evolved from a student ministry worship band to a dynamic live force supporting Lecrae on tour and sharing arena-fueled bills with Furtick and their sister collective, Elevation Worship. The group’s brief seven-track collection follows ELEVATION RHYTHM’s first full-length offering, Growing Pains. But unlike their emotionally-focused debut, This Is The Gospel is not only a work of art but a testament of faith.

     

    The concept originated with the outfit’s lead architect and primary producer, Josh Holiday, while he was on the road as part of the “Elevation Nights” tour. “I felt this call and this responsibility to say, ‘OK, if the next generation is needing a foundation for their faith, what does that foundation look like? What is the Gospel? What are the pillars? What is the truth?’” Holiday reflects on the questions he asked himself before entering the studio. “I just knew this next album had to be truth-centered, and I wanted to create music that was going to be foundational for this next generation in their faith journey.”

     

    Holiday soon scheduled a writing camp, where he assembled a select group of go-to collaborators. Then, he was tasked with pairing the right leader with the right song. After all, ELEVATION RHYTHM isn’t about the individual talent on stage as much as it’s about a unified voice sharing a message of real hope. 

    Next, he booked the live recording in a small, nondescript room normally reserved for church staff meetings. The space was an unconventional venue for tracking a live album, but Holiday insists that was the point, as he crammed 100 people into the room for a night of raw, imperfect worship. “I just wanted it to feel like that live recording was a part of making the album. I didn’t really wait until it was perfect,” Holiday confesses. “It’s like, no, this is the next step in the process.”

     

    That creative process is still unfolding as This Is The Gospel goes out into the world with an invitation for others to join in the song. Regardless of who is stewarding each selection, make no mistake, the project’s journey is one that points to Jesus every step of the way. The instrumental, string-laden “Good News” opens the narrative in dramatic fashion and quickly freefalls into the frenetic “PRAISES,” a Wednesday night favorite that earned a prime spot at ELEVATION RHYTHM’s annual student conference. “The first time we sang ‘PRAISES,’ our youth just really connected to it,” Holiday says of the exuberant track led by Jordan Holliday. “No matter where ELEVATION RHYTHM goes, our DNA and who we are at the core is still this bold, energetic, sometimes edgy, sound. We enter His courts with praise. So we wanted to just start with praise.”

     

    “Wind of Love” sweeps in with a gentle reminder of the Father’s merciful heart before “Streetlights” — a last-minute addition — abruptly interjects a dose of humanity into the set. A Prodigal Son story, the song borrows from a phrase Holiday’s mom would often repeat when he was a kid: “You can go outside, but when the streetlights come on, that’s when you know you need to come home.” In all its synth-soaked creativity, “Streetlights” — helmed by Brittany Diaz — morphs into a metaphor for the moment you realize you need to come home to Christ.

     

    This life-changing decision collides with the rhythmic-infused title-cut, featuring Joe. L Barnes, that removes all the complexities from the saving message of Jesus. “It’s not just the Christmas story of Jesus being born. It’s not just the story of the resurrection. It’s all of it,” Holiday contends. “It’s such a beautiful story, and it’s so crazy to think He did all that just for me.” Holiday adds that he knew it would become the record’s namesake only after he experienced the obvious joy that radiated from the track during the live recording.

     

    The bluesy “Purify” follows, starting out as a sparse ballad that builds into a celebration proclaiming, “There’s a party in heaven, and we’re joining in.” Although it was penned initially for Elevation Worship’s GRAMMY® winning album, Old Church Basement, Holiday — who holds writing credit on the song, alongside Tiffany Hudson, Davide Mutendji, and Chandler Moore — felt like it was a seamless addition to This Is The Gospel as it makes the foundational statement that the blood of Jesus covers all sin.

     

    Meanwhile, “You Will Be Saved” closes the straightforward opus. A simple invitation of salvation, the anchor track stems from a conversation between Holiday and Bella Cordero, whose effortless vocal leads the selection. “Knowing Jesus as a Savior is so humbling. I never want to get to a place where I feel like I don’t need saving. I never want to live that lie,” Holiday says. “This song isn’t just a salvation call for the sinners. We all need to be saved. It’s for the lost — it’s for the one — but it’s also to remind the 99, hey, don’t ever think you don’t need a Savior.”

     

    Repentance. Salvation. Sanctification. Wrapped in timeless melodies, these essential tenants of faith are all presented in an elementary manner on This Is The Gospel with ELEVATION RHYTHM declaring: This is what we believe.

     

    The truth might be timeless, but so is the sonic bed Holiday and his team built — a deliberate move that affords This Is The Gospel an extended shelf life. “I tried to paint with colors that would last a little longer,” Holiday offers of the percussion-heavy, choir-assisted framework, “so people would want to come back and listen to this more than once.” In a single-driven society, This Is The Gospel is meant to be consumed in its entirety simply because it’s a complete story communicating the full scope of what it looks like to place your faith in Jesus.

     

    As for the collective itself, ELEVATION RHYTHM’s future efforts may be a little more sonically bold in an attempt to keep up with the ever-changing fads of today’s youth, but this album is the cornerstone that sets the compass for all creative endeavors to follow. And while the group is made up of a revolving reserve of diverse songwriters, creatives, and guest artists, their mission aligns on This Is The Gospel. The young adults who inspire their music are an extension of their composition as well.

     

    “I think there’s this beautiful relationship between ELEVATION RHYTHM and the next generation. We are on the same journey, asking the same questions and doing it together,” Holiday contends. “ELEVATION RHYTHM is more of a spirit than it is a face. It’s a spirit that we all carry. It’s the unity, it’s the love, it’s the heart for these songs, and this album is what we’ll always be about.”

  • Shane & Shane is the combination of solo artists Shane Barnard and Shane Everett. After meeting in college, Shane & Shane began writing songs and touring the country leading worship. Over 15 years later, they’re writing more music than ever, with no intention of slowing down. Their desire has always been to glorify the Lord instead of themselves and they do so by writing music that is biblically based, lyrically rich, and sonically engaging. Check out their discography!


    Over the past few years, Shane & Shane have dedicated their lives to encourage and equip worship leaders and their teams through an online resource called The Worship Initiative. The Worship Initiative is an equipping ministry and a collective of worship leaders that, over the past few years, has grown into a thriving community in and of itself.

  • Robbie Seay is the EVP of Leader Development + Content at The Worship Initiative. He lives in Dallas, TX with his wife of 25 years, Elizabeth. Together they have 4 children. He is widely known for his songwriting, worship leading, and recording career, which still play a big role in his life & ministry. His heart for the church, the music of the church, and worship leaders has led him to devote much of his time and energy to mentoring and encouraging young leaders/songwriters as they enter the intersection of worship, ministry, and leadership.

  • Gateway Worship is the primary worship expression for Dallas-Fort Worth based Gateway Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in North America. Leading only 200 people in its infancy, the worship team now ministers to over 40,000 congregational attendees across multiple campuses and tens of thousands more online each week, capturing the sound and songs of the local church. One of today’s most influential churches, Gateway’s gift of worship to God is being echoed in churches across the world. United with one voice, a collective of worship leaders, musicians, songwriters, are committed to leading the church body into a place of intimate worship and an understanding of the power of the Word of God expressed through music.

  • Thrive Worship and its founding leaders – Corbin Phillips, along with Peter Burton and Charmaine Wells – is the global worship team of Bayside Church, a multisite movement based in northern California. Being part of the current fastest-growing church in the country, Thrive Worship is a group of diverse singers and musicians across seven campuses, expanding their creative reach while keeping the same core passion and message. Working as a worship family, they express the following approach – “a church for people who don’t like church” – with songs that are focused on unwrapping the gospel to everyone.


    After signing with Integrity Music in 2018 and releasing their debut album, “A Thousand More,” and the new EP “Let's Have Church,” Thrive Worship “continues to pursue its call to equip the church with truth and faith, offering songs of hope for the future and love for our Savior.”

    Phillips says, "Thrive Worship is just an extension of what's happening in our walls. We know when we're writing songs from the heartbeat of testimonies within our church, of our own testimonies, or what we've seen God do in our services."


    He continues, "As we entered into this project, we were pulling from (about) 60 songs. We felt like God was pouring out on us but, at the end of the day, I think this idea of what God said in Acts 2, that in the last days that he would pour his spirit out on the church, we're seeing God's spirit in our lives. We're seeing God's spirit being poured out on our church right now in a way that I've personally never seen in the 20-odd years I've been coming to this church. We, as Thrive Worship and as songwriters, have a responsibility right now to equip the church with truth and with the gospel and with the mechanisms to share and to grow that faith."

  • Since making his major label debut with The Unknown in 2020, Jonathan Traylor has made an impressive entrance into the Christian, Gospel and Worship music genres. Early career milestones include a #1 single at Hot AC (“I Trust You”), opening for gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds’ Make Room Tour and CCM icon Jeremy Camp’s 30-city “When You Speak” Tour, as well as earned his first Stellar Award nomination for Best New Artist of the Year in 2021.


    "I’m Here For You" is the latest collection of songs from rising artist Jonathan Traylor (Motown Gospel/Capitol CMG), available September 24, 2021. The timely 6-song EP speaks to the reality of God’s presence with us, and the importance of our connections with one another.

     

    Standout tracks include the inspiring and uptempo “Hope,” the acoustic-driven and introspective “High Up,” and the inviting worship anthem, “The Table.” With every song written by Traylor, and produced by hitmakers Jordan Sapp and Jeff Pardo, "I’m Here For You" is a marked progression of Jonathan Traylor’s multi-faceted artistry.


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