I AM THEY
From starting as a worship team based out of a community of various churches almost a decade ago, Christian music artists, I AM THEY, have come a long way. Fresh off their tour with Citizen Way and a European Tour (which included EO Youth Day 2019 in Rotterdam Ahoy, the Netherlands in front of over 15,000 attendees) stops also included Switzerland and the United Kingdom. It was in the UK where band mates attended the wedding of keyboardist Justin Shinn. Additionally, I AM THEY will continue their extensive touring of the U.S. along with such acts as Amy Grant, for King and Country, Matthew West and Plumb among others in support of their sophomore album “Trial and Triumph” and their #7 Billboard hit “Scars”, which previously peaked at #5 and was nominated for a K-LOVE Fan Award for “Breakthrough Single of The Year”.
Trial and Triumph, originally released in March 2018, has taken I AM THEY to a new level in Christian Artistry, introspective looking in the writing of their music, and the addition of Jon McConnell who signs lead vocals on several songs from their latest release.
Scott Snavely of Behind the Musician recently sat down with founding band member Matt Hein to discuss I AM THEY’s roots and the events that led the band to where they are today including the process behind the making of “Trials and Triumphs” and its success.
Ben Calhoun Lead Singer of Citizen Way
Coming off the successful release of their second album 2.0 and their chart-topping hit Bullet Proof, Citizen Way Lead Singer Ben Calhoun took time to discuss music, Christianity, and life with Behind the Musician CEO Scott Snavely.
Influenced early in life growing up listening to Christian Music Artists such as Stephen Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, DC Talk, and Audio Adrenaline, Ben reflected on how this has helped mold his music writing and the sound that would become Citizen Way. Ben added, “A lot of those artists are good friends of mine now. It’s really come full circle in some ways to serve with them.” Adding, “They were my heroes and I’ve built on the foundation they have helped lay for me.” “I still listen to some Opera, Jazz and Country since you have to have a lot of input to be a songwriter. Christian music is my foundation and that’s why I’m here,” Ben said.
Jon Steingard (Lead singer of Hawk Nelson)
While driving yesterday, Hawk Nelson’s very popular single off their Diamonds album, “Drops In The Ocean”, came on the radio. It reminded me how fortunate I was to have met and have a great conversation with their lead singer, Jon Steingard, last Saturday while on tour with Tenth Avenue North. The song goes into a deep perspective from Gods point of view on how He is for us and not against us. And how we can freely walk in His love.During the interview Jon was asked what had the most profound effect on him and his Christianity when growing up. Jon replied, “I am the son of a preacher. There was a period in my youth that I focused on other things outside of God and found those things didn’t bring me happiness or satisfaction. “Quoting Galatians 2:20, which says: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me,” Jon explained he realized that, “It isn’t about me, but about being like Christ.”
Growing up in a Christian home, the music that influenced him the most was naturally Christian music. He states, “I grew up listening to Christian music. Delirious, Audio Adrenaline, and the old Newsboys were my favorites.”
Coming off the release of his latest album on the Sony/CMG label, “Where The Light Is”, Behind the Musician (BTM) caught up with Dan Bremnes while he was out on tour in Canada.
When asked what his initial reaction to winning a Juno Award for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year was, he replied, “It was unbelievable! Something you dream about happening but I never really expected it.”
Not only does Bremnes thank God above for the award, but he also states “There have been so many who have helped me along the way. Many from the record label, but also a youth pastor when I was young was very influential,” he added.