Five renowned Christian artists are taking a step away from their solo careers for a shot at making a "super" group, with the vision to take Christian music to a new height. It has been a discussion for almost six months already, and Rebecca St. James, Kevin Max, Jennifer Knapp, Jason Perry, and Derek Webb have set their hearts to collaboration.
"This will be the most amazing convergence of talent into one group in the history of the genre. Usually a group has one or maybe two good songwriters - that's not the case here. I'm overwhelmed at the creative possibilities here," said Knapp. "What a way to come out of a sabbatical."
"Christian music has been at a creatively stagnant point for a few years now," Perry said in a press release. "It has always been our desire as solo artists to write music that pushed the envelope from an artistic point of view as well as ministered to the people who were listening. The five of us feel that by melding our efforts and coming together we can take the best of what each of us has to offer and present the Gospel at a musical level that has never before been achieved. It's like a miniature version of 'We Are the World,' but with a focus on the eternal."
Derek Webb, who last spring released his first solo album, She Must And Shall Go Free, pointed out that the new group would be an easy fit for him. "The majority of my career has been spent in another super-group of sorts, Caedmon's Call, so teaming with Rebecca, Kevin, Jason, and the Knappster is just the next logical progression in my career."
In this group, only St. James and Knapp haven't had group experience, however, they are confident. Both expect Christian music fans to warmly embrace this project with enthusiasm. "We haven't released an album together yet but between the five of us we have enough material to fill a half dozen concerts, let alone just one," St. James pointed out. "We plan on working in parts for each of us into our old material. We've purchased the set from Michael W. Smith's Change Your World Tour, which was one of my all-time favorites, and think that it will allow us to showcase all of our unique personalities."
As for record label, the group has not signed with anyone, but they are being suited by over 5 different labels now. "We are choosing a home based upon how well they line up with our creative vision and the amount of artistic freedom that they offer," said Max. He also mentioned that he is looking for a "wardrobe freedom clause" as well.
The news of this new venture was kept low, not even the record labels of the artists knew until they were informed last week. So this is a very shocking, however, very joyful undertaking.
"Today is a very special day," said the group in an official announcement. "Christian music will never be the same. Mark this date down. 4/1/04 is the start of a new era. And that's no joke."