The annual Hillsong Conference, held earlier this month in Sydney, Australia, showed the world how ministry is changing. While more than 20,000 people packed Allphones Arena, the city's largest indoor stadium, at least 100,000 others across the globe watched the live stream or from the new Hillsong App. It was the first time the conference was streamed across the web, and Hillsong's Reuben Morgan hailed it a great success.
"Many people can't afford to come to Australia, but the technology enabled them to experience the sense of worship and praise that those at the venue encountered," Morgan explained.
The conference featured songs from Hillsong's new worship album, Cornerstone, which set a record as the first Hillsong album to debut on all major mainstream music charts in the world. During the conference, the album peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. iTunes overall albums chart and No.1 in other countries. Cornerstone also debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Christian and Gospel albums and the Praise and Worship albums chart in addition to the Top 200 chart.
"We never take this for granted and are always excited when projects that mean so much to us are embraced like this," shares Morgan.
However, he explained that success has a different meaning at Hillsong. "When people watch the conference around the world, and when they sing these songs that declare Christ as the cornerstone of their lives; it demonstrates their passion to encounter a real and loving God. That's success."
Cornerstone also garnered acclaim from media outlets as it released. Here are a few highlights of what media have to say about the new live album:
"A resource for worship leaders, Hillsong’s various teams unite to offer a few songs that will span the globe, surrounded by others that will lead millions in personal worship and devotion."
- Worship Leader
"Cornerstone is Hillsong at its finest.”
- All About Worship
"This collection is comprised of thought-provoking lyrics, excellent instrumentation, and spot on vocals that make it both pleasing to the ear and the soul."
Hillsong LIVE will return to the U.S. this fall, kicking off The Hillsong LIVE Cornerstone Tour on September 12th in Boston, MA. Tickets go on sale for the 12-city tour on this Friday, July 20th. For more information click here. Dates are listed below.
Hillsong LIVE Cornerstone Tour
9/12 – Boston, MA Agganis Arena
9/13 – Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
9/14 – Cincinnati, OH Bank of Kentucky Center
9/15 – Charlotte, NC Bojangles’ Coliseum
9/17 – Memphis, TN Bellevue Baptist Church
9/18 – Birmingham, AL Boutwell Municipal Auditorium
9/20 – Austin, TX Cedar Park Center
9/21 – San Antonio, TX Freeman Coliseum
9/22 – Tulsa, OK BOK Center
9/23 – Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena
9/24 – Kansas City, MO Independence Events Center
9/25 – Denver, CO Wells Fargo Theatre
HEARITFIRST.COM EXCLUSIVE ANNOUNCEMENT
TOBYMAC CONFIRMED TO HEADLINE
WINTER JAM 2009
NEWSONG TO HOST SPECIAL GUEST ARTISTS HAWK NELSON,
BRANDON HEATH, AND THE AFTERS
WINTER JAM TO MAINTAIN POPULAR “NO
NASHVILLE, TN—October 22, 2008—In an
exclusive announcement, HearItFirst.com has confirmed the artist line-up for
The Winter Jam 2009 Tour Spectacular, Christian music’s largest annual musical
tour. tobyMac, the “GMA Artist Of The Year” for 2008, will headline the tour
with special guests Hawk Nelson, 2008 “GMA New Artist Of The Year” Brandon
Heath, “GMA New Artist Of The Year” 2006 The Afters, and new Gotee Recording
artist, Stephanie Smith.
The 10-week tour launches January 8, 2009 in Roanoke, VA. Grammy-nominated and
Dove Award-winning, NewSong will host the high-energy event for the 14th
consecutive year, which will feature special guest speaker Tony Nolan.
Additional Winter Jam artists will be announced over the next few weeks.
Winter Jam is Christian music’s largest annual tour. Last year’s total paid
attendance was 311,836 with an average nightly attendance of 9,172. As a
result, Winter Jam was the fourth ranked tour on Pollstar’s 2008 First Quarter
Ticket Sales Chart topping Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, The Police and Foo
In spite of escalating prices due to a challenging economy, Winter Jam will
maintain their popular “no tickets” policy that allows consumers to simply pay
$10 at the door for admission.
“Year after year we’ve seen God’s hand on Winter Jam,” said Eddie Carswell,
founding member of NewSong and Winter Jam originator. “Over 311,000 people
attended Winter Jam 2008 and out of those over 53,000 made a decision or
rededication to follow Christ. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, over 4,300 orphaned
children around the world were sponsored through Holt International. Our prayer
is that God would continue to use this tour for His glory and to impact tens of
thousands more in 2009.”
Corporate sponsors for Winter Jam 2009 include Holt International,
a world leader in international adoption and child welfare, MegaVoice, an
international Biblical literacy organization, and HearItFirst.com, the leading
Christian music online site. HearItFirst.com will be hosting the official
Winter Jam site, which will launch on November 4, 2008 at
HearItFirst.com/WinterJam or by going to jamtour.com.
Here are the dates, markets, and venues for Winter Jam 2009:
1/8/09 Roanoke, VA Roanoke Civic Center
1/9/09 Chattanooga, TN UTC McKenzie Arena
1/10/09 Fayetteville, NC Crown Coliseum
1/11/09 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
1/15/09 Augusta, GA James Brown Arena
1/18/09 Macon, GA Macon Coliseum
1/23/09 Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center
1/24/09 Des Moines, IA Veterans Memorial Auditorium
1/25/09 St. Charles, MO Family Arena
1/29/09 Cincinnati, OH Cincinnati Gardens
1/30/09 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center
1/31/09 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
2/6/09 Little Rock, AR ALLTEL Arena
2/7/09 Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena
2/8/09 Duluth, GA Arena at Gwinnett Center
2/13/09 Greensville, SC BI-LO Center
2/14/09 Jacksonville, FL Veterans Memorial Arena
2/15/09 Mobile, AL USA Mitchell Center
2/20/09 Columbia, SC Colonial Life Arena
2/21/09 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
2/22/09 Norfolk, VA Norfolk Scope Arena
2/26/09 Oklahoma City, OK Ford Center
2/27/09 Tulsa, OK Mabee Center
2/28/09 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
3/1/09 Council Bluffs, IA Mid-America Center
3/6/09 Knoxville, TN Thompson-Boling Arena
3/7/09 Lexington, KY Rupp Arena
3/8/09 Tupelo, MS BancorpSouth Arena
3/12/09 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
3/13/09 Ft. Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial
3/14/09 Ypsilanti, MI EMU Convocation Center
Now boasting more than 182,000
members, HearItFirst.com has become the definitive online community for fans
wanting exclusive in-depth access to artists. Among member benefits are free
daily updates, music downloads, weekly newsletters, early viewing of upcoming
music videos, artist interviews updated daily, and behind-the-scenes footage
from live events. The site also maintains an entire channel devoted solely to
the latest in indie music. Versatile, fresh and timely content has come to
define the site, which receives more than 500,000 visits a month and in excess
of 1.2million monthly page views. For more information, visit www.HearItFirst.com
Australia’s most well known megachurch, Hillsong Church, began its annual five-day Hillsong conference on Monday, drawing together 26,000 Christians from all around the world. Though the church is most well known for its music ministry, the focus of this year’s conference is on justice and what Christians can do to reduce the sufferings that plague the world.
Culled from the pages of Shane Barnard’s journal, duo Shane & Shane’s latest project, Pages, documents a personal season of change and re-evaluation. It also charts a subtle refinement and maturing of their acoustic worship style, ranging from the powerful “Vision Of You” and “In You” to the rousing “Burn Us Up,” the bluegrass-kissed “Beg,” and the worshipful pop anthem, “We Love You, Jesus.”
For fans of Shane & Shane, who recorded three consecutive projects from 2002 to 2004, the three years since Clean (2004) have seemed like an eternity. But the Shanes haven’t been on creative hiatus. They released a live DVD while running both their recording studio and media company in Dallas, on top of touring relentlessly. The duo performs 250 dates a year, primarily in college markets, and are one of Christian music’s top draws.
After living on the road for the better part of a decade, Barnard and musical partner Shane Everett took a three month break, during which Barnard wrote Pages and the pair re-considered the purpose behind their music. “We’d never stopped for this long,” says Everett. “That was the first time we had paused to evaluate life since we began writing and performing music full-time. We had to ask the important questions-- what are our goals? What are we doing here? Are we just playing music, or is it really something more? And how do we move forward from here?”
That at-times painful re-examination fueled the creative process for Pages.
The Shanes took another three months to record the album in their Spaceway Studios south of Dallas, Texas. “This is the first time since we built the studio that we’ve been able to enjoy it,” says Everett. “We were able to put in eight hours a day and go home; it was a healthy working environment.” The effect of this is evident on Pages. “Creatively it’s a lot different. Parts-wise, everything feels more intentional than it’s ever been,” he says, which is evident in the artistic growth the project showcases.
Pages was produced alongside Will Hunt (Ginny Owens, Robbie Seay Band, and Ryan Cabrera), who also manages Spaceway. David Hodges (Evanescence, Charlie Hall, Kelly Clarkson) made a guest appearance on piano. But notably, the album was recorded with Shane & Shane’s touring band, who give the songs more refined textures that complement the duo’s soaring harmonies.
“Vision Of You,” written perilously as Barnard drove the band tour bus one night, asks God “to do more than our songs can do in our concerts; confessing that more and more all we have are songs with words, wood, strings, and drums. It’s asking Him to do something when we play. Even though He’s everywhere, we’re asking Him to come and stir hearts.”
“Beg” is a song that Barnard describes as “honest – honest words about how much I don’t love God as much as I want to, and what kind of posture and place that leaves me in at the end of the day. He commands of us to love him, and I don’t feel like I can so many days. That leaves me in a bare place of crying out for help.”
But for most listeners, their first exposure to Pages will be “We Love You Jesus,” which Barnard wrote in a coffee shop. “I just heard it playing in the air. It’s still unbelievable to me,” says Barnard. “I went home and wrote it down, and we started singing it everyday. It’s a poppy song of hope, but also a song about death.
The first line in the chorus says ‘we love you for so many reasons—for death, for life.’ The second verse is about the passage in I Corinthians where it talks about taking the sting out of death. I flipped open my Bible to this random page, and it just fit. It felt like the song was written outside of me.” The page, and the song, ended up not being so random.
In March, Barnard’s father died unexpectedly. “One of the many helps for my family and me was that song, saying ‘I love You because You save. You take the sting out of death.’ My dad was a new believer. He saved him four years ago . . . I think that’s why I heard it that day in the coffee shop. It was a gift of comfort,” Barnard says.
Today, as Pages nears its launch, the Shanes’ lives are looking different. They’re scaling back their touring (though one might not notice that this fall, when they hit the road for 60 plus dates with Bebo Norman and Shawn McDonald). Everett and his wife Kellie just welcomed their first child, a little girl, and Barnard was recently engaged.
Further, the two have now more clearly defined their roles within the band. Everett is focused on managing the band, setting up their touring, and promoting the record, while Barnard devotes most of his time to writing.
“I feel like we’re in a better place than we’ve ever been,” says Everett. “I feel like we’re just starting, like we’re really moving forward in a lot of areas.” Barnard says he’s felt a new and specific calling on his life, an “intense and urgent call to not only preach the gospel but to minister for the Lord.”
Pages serves to chart this process of refining and, ultimately, rededication in the lives of two of Christian music’s most passionate performers.
“I simply cannot believe this,” exclaims an ecstatic Meyers. “Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel towards the reception I am receiving in Japan. God wanted this all to happen and I am so thankful to be a part of it.”
Meyers is returning to Japan for the second time this year to visit with media and retail. During her first outing, between March 25 and April 1, she performed a show for over 500 contest winners, saw retail and media, interviewed with MTV Japan, and did her cover photo shoot for Nylon Magazine Japan.
Since the U.S. release of her debut album on Essential Records, seventeen year-old Meyers has garnered a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year, had three Top 10 singles (“The Way To Begin”, “My Savior”, and “Anticonformity”), and performed before more than 400,000 people.
Krystal Meyers’ second studio project, Dying For A Heart, will be in stores September 19.
For more information on Krystal Meyers, visit www.krystalmeyers.com and www.essentialrecords.com.
Liquid, who draws from an eclectic mix of musical influences including Latino-tinged R&B, old-school hip-hop, and 1970’s soul, will perform four songs at this weekend’s Sunfest. He will share the stage with DJ Maj as the two perform separately as well as collaborate on performances together. The festival lineup also includes such names as Omarion, Fiona Apple, Ashlee Simpson, and Carrie Underwood.
Tales From The Badlands is a twelve-track album that was inspired by Liquid’s upbringing in North Philadelphia, an area known predominantly for an abundance of drugs, violence and poverty; an area simply called The Badlands. “My goal is to be as honest as possible, in every sense,” says Liquid. “I feel like people in the ghetto have the same basic problems as kids in Beverly Hills—it just looks different. I want to reach kids from the inner city as well as from the suburbs. With everything I’ve ever written down lyrically and musically, I ask God to stamp the song with his love. I want God to take control and do what he wants through my music for the world.”
Liquid, born Victor Oquendo, was self-taught at the piano, writing music and learning to program by age 14. At 15 he had already started to produce songs for his own rap group and, in 1998 was signed to a production deal with an indy label in New York City where he met some big name producers like Koran C. Thomas (Wyclef Jean) and Manuel Seal (Alicia Keys, Usher). The relationships eventually paid off as he found himself producing Petey Pablo’s I Ain’t Scared, the B-side on the platinum selling single Blow Your Whistle. Since then his production credits include Out of Eden (over 1.5 million career sales), GRITS (CBA’s #1 Rap Brand) and Verbs (Live to the Music! spent 19 weeks at #1 at Christian Rhythmic). He has also already seen major song placements on both MTV and ESPN. On the tour front, Liquid will perform at the Aquire The Fire event in his hometown of Philadelphia on May 12th, as well as doing a show for the prison ministry Men of Valor in Nashville this June. Fall tour plans with the group Salvador are also currently underway.