2020 has been hard for most of us. It's been especially hard on me and my family. We've had to prioritize how we're going to get through the last few months, and a lot had to go. That includes a lot of the things that I love and enjoy. Unfortunately, the work that I do on this website was one of those things.
I have a few other hobbies, but nothing I enjoyed more than the relationships I built working on Tentmaker Music. Man, I thought we were done for. I thought this was the absolute end of our vision to build Christian community. But then I realized, there's always something I can do. There's always an adjustment that can be made. I don't have to throw in the towel... just yet.
So, we decided to go back to our roots. Tentmaker Music was never meant to just be a rehashing of press releases and YouTube videos. It was supposed to be something deeper. Something more than that. So I went all the way back to when I was a new artist; trying to find a place to meet people as an independent artist... trying to find other artists like myself... looking for a place that I can get my feet wet and start competing with other musicians.
That's how I came up with Tentmaker Music: CLUB!
Almost three years ago I started to get the vision that big tech companies like Twitter, Facebook, and other places would either out right stifle our voices, or fall themselves. We've already seen it happen with Myspace, and a bunch of other platforms. The problem I've always had with these platforms is that no matter how zealous you are for Christ, there's always a mob who's ready to tear you to pieces. There's always something to steal our values and tell us that were wrong for what we believe and how we practice our faith. On the other hand, there's always another website who's excited to show us how someone else is doing the same thing we've already seen. More and more of the same. I want something more. Don't you want something more?
I don't know what your hometown is like, but my hometown stop having hall shows and open mics a long time ago. The churches don't really open their doors to newcomers to perform their newly written worship music, and we're still singing songs from 5 years ago that were hits on Christian radio. I don't think there's any incentive to become a new musician anymore. New music gets swept under the rug, or tagged with an expiration date (depending on the genre).
Today a lot of Christian artists feel like they need to compromise on their beliefs, or they just never developed a deep enough foundation to question whether or not they're even compromised. In this time of uncertainty, I'm not real sure that we have strong enough Christians to endure the coming storm. For the most part, that's my fault, and the fault of people my age. We're the social media generation. We've been so obsessed with gaining followers that we've left our disciples behind.
Some of us have never taken on disciples.
I want to help ReDiscover what's been lost. I want to help reconnect the parts of the body of Christ better forgotten each other. I want to help raise the next generation of worship leaders. I want to introduce this generations great songwriters to this generations great musicians (not everyone can be all things). I want to challenge you all with contests and writing activities that will help you become greater musicians. I want to pass on what I've learned from my years on the stage. I want to have deep conversations and our discussion forums, and learn about the stories behind your music.
These are all things meant for a specific people. They're not meant for the Twitter crowd, or the Facebook crowd. They were meant for the church.
Let's create something awesome together!
Do you remember the days when we used to sit in front of the radio waiting for our favorite songs to come on so that we can add them to a custom mixtape that we were making for our friends? Maybe I'm dating myself with this one but that's some of the best years of my life. I really miss those days. It was something communal about music and the way that we shared it with each other. there was something special in personal about creating a mixtape for a friend or having a friend make a mixtape for you.
The reason I'm going down memory lane is because I'm trying to figure out where I got mixed up. I feel like somewhere in this custom playlist digital streaming world that we live in, things have gotten sterile. When I really think about it, I think I can trace it back to the iPod. At that point it all became about me and what I was listening to. I was able to block out the rest of the world. I no longer shared music I enjoyed with other people, but I used it as a way to block them out.
I want to get back to those days where we used to share. the good old days where we all gathered around the radio to wait for our favorite songs, while sitting in chat rooms meeting new people on the internet. Back when the internet was fun and young, and before social media. Am I the only one that remembers these days?
The reason I'm bringing all this up is because a few weeks ago I tried to do a live stream. My goal was to review some new music that was coming out, and to give my thoughts in real time. Just as a few friends started to gather into the chat room oh, and I was giving my thoughts, one of my buddies alerted me that Facebook have muted all of the music I was playing. Suddenly I realized I was talking to myself because no one knew what I was talking about. They couldn't HEAR the music. That community experience was gone. They were left out of the bubble and I was the only one listening to the songs.
I told you guys that night that I would figure something out because I wasn't going to let this bad experience stop me. But to tell you the truth, this is the new standard on social media. You're not allowed to post other people's songs or to have them in your live stream anymore. In some cases you can't even share videos. It seems like every week we get an email with updated terms of service, lining out the new restrictions. Closing the doors on what we want to do and how we interact with each other is not my idea of a good time.
I think we've given a little too much access to people we don't know.if given all the power to companies and organizations who don't have our best interests in mind, and that's okay as long as we get some free software to work with. But that experience come with limitations and it's not working out very well is it? I've got a lot of successful friends and music who can feel this restricting pressure coming down on musicians. It's like we're not even allowed to be musicians anymore. We have to be marketers and promoters and models for Instagram. I don't know about you but I never signed up for that crap.
About a month ago I decided that I was going to take action into my own hands and try to figure out a way to do live broadcasts and to share music with people outside of social media and I decided that it was probably a good time to turn back the clock and look at some older technologies in order to do so. so what we ended up doing was investing in an internet radio station.
I know that there's a million other stations out there, but there's also a million other websites, and a million other albums, and a million other songwriters. Just because there's a million others doesn't mean that ours can't be different. We want to make this our own and we want you to be a part of it. In the next few weeks I'm going to be rolling out different playlists and shows two are on our new internet radio station: ”Tentmaker Music: LIVE”!
TENTMAKER MUSIC: LIVE IS ALREADY UP AND STREAMING.
In its current form, it's a lot like other stations accept it has music that has been featured on our website. We also have HopeJamz Radio with DJ 70x7 from the UK, and The Xero Hour (my culture wars talkshow). I'm hoping to make our radio station into something worth experiencing.
I want you to be able to get up in the morning and hear some interesting ideas on your way to work.I want you to hear some great music while you're on lunch. I want you to be able to chill before you go to bed. I want you to be able to look forward to hearing your favorite songs and playlists, and to anticipate the times that they're going to arrive.
I know that I have a lot of work ahead of me but I think it's going to be worth it if I have you guys to back me up.
Right now you can go to tentmakermusic.com/live and listen to music right now. You can also jump into the chat room and leave a goofy message for me. It'll definitely brighten up my day and it will be a welcome change from all of this coronavirus panic. I hope that we can find community doing the things that we love and I think that Tentmaker Music: LIVE can be a great vehicle for that.
If you want to get more information on this project you can always contact me via email or social media. And I'll be looking forward to doing my next live stream show this Wednesday at 7 (just like I was going to do originally). I hope you'll join me.
I found this to be an interesting video. It didn't Focus so much on what she is or has said, as it focused on the things that she wasn't saying, or what she left out of the conversation. In my opinion, that speaks volumes about her character. But at the same time, I feel like we've heard this story before. We've already learned the words to this song, and we sing it every year. The only thing different is that the celebrities names change. So, no judgement on Lauren.
Instead, I think you should put yourself in the hot seat for a second. If you had this platform , if you were in her place, how would you handle these kinds of questions. Because who knows, maybe you'll be the one in front of the cameras and behind the microphone. I mean that's pretty much the goal right?
So as artists and musicians, let's take a second to be really honest and answer some questions that no one ever asks us?. Not only is it a good exercise, but it's a good window to your heart. What kind of man or woman are you really? Put your answers down on paper, or better yet, type them out so that you can share them with the rest of the world as we convene in the comment section.
Oh yeah, and before I forget. Here's that video.
Now, Let's Move on to the Questions
1) Why should anyone listen to your music?
2) What do you hope to accomplish as a musician?
3) If your life was a book or movie what would the title be?
4) What kind of person do you envision when you write your music?
5) Do you feel the pressure of responsibility as a musician? Why or why not?
6) What good or bad has come to the world because of your music?
7) Where do you get the ideas for your songs? Where does your music come from?
8) Do you think the world would be better or worse off if you were not a musician?
9) What is the greatest impact your music has had on the world today?
10) What do you think others think of your music?
Answer honestly, and be sure to tag us in your post when you make it on your page this week. Post your answers on your celebrity pages on Facebook or on Instagram and we'll be sure to feature you when we see that tag. Also, be sure to tag three musicians in this post so that they can answer the questions as well. If someone tags you, you have to post!
I have heard it said that a person has 2 worldviews, the one they say they hold, and the one they live out. It is so much easier for us to say we believe something than it is for us to actually live that belief out. I have said it often when I preach but it is one of the most convicting thoughts to me, and it is simply that your life will reflect what you truly believe. If we are being honest with ourselves, our lives don't always reflect what we say we believe. For me it is easier to say I trust God than it is to live that out when I am on an airplane as my fear of heights seems to over ride my trust. Even deeper still, it's not the flying that is the issue, it's lack of control, it's the "what if the plane crashes" thoughts, it unfortunately boils down to a fear of death. This is a bit of a conundrum for me as a believer in Jesus, wouldn't you agree? However, before you cast your stones at me please take a minute to examine your own life. What fears do you have? Maybe it's of spiders, or public speaking, or you are constantly worried about your children, etc... It is super easy for us to point fingers, it is also super easy to say we aren't afraid of things. The truth comes out when we are in situations that test that. I have gone back and forth with my fear of heights, of crossing high bridges, or of flying, and it keeps coming back to a lack of trust in God and belief that He is in control of my life and my death.
If it is true that everyone has 2 worldviews then we have an interesting conundrum to sort out as Christians. See it is easy to say you’re a Christian, but our lives will always reflect what we truly believe. I hope this convicts you as much as is does me… When I look at my life, I have to ask the question, am I worshiping God by how I am living? Sadly, more often than not, I find myself answering that question with a no. If I am being honest, when I examine my life I see disconnects all over. I examine my Word life, what I mean here is my quiet time of reading the Bible, my Word life, and I find that it isn’t as consistent as it needs to be, I have the weird gifting of memorization and a lot of time I use that gift to justify not studying or simply reading as much as a should because I can recall sections of Scripture, maybe not word for word but for sure the general idea/concept being presented. This is both a blessing and a curse for me, but when I look at giving God my undivided attention in His word, I am lacking. I examine my Prayer life, am I praying as I should? How often do you tell someone you are going to pray for them and then it becomes and after thought, or just simply praising God through prayer, or most importantly, the listening part of prayer… I examine my Service life, not necessarily what and how much I am doing but why am I doing what I’m doing, what is the heart behind my service, is it to bring glory to God or is it just to get it done or is it to get something out of it for my benefit? I examine my Home life, I look at how I am leading family because the way I see it as a husband and a father you are always leading the question is where. I also examine my Work life and my Evangelism life, and Fellowship and Community life & I examine my Discipleship life, my Faith life, etc... Please note that when I say I examine my life in these areas I am referring more to my heart than I am the tasks though the tasks have their importance and place.
Bottom line, I examine my life but I broke it down here on purpose, I think examining these things in a whole and individually begins to help us see how the worldview we say we have translates to the worldview we live out. We are to worship God with our lives, and our lives will reflect what we truly believe.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
Thank you for to everyone who participated in the contest this week, both contestants and voters. You guys are amazing! And now, a very Special Congrats to Rep. You'll be hearing more from Rep as we introduce you to him in a future interview, as well as on the new Black Sheep Squad project next year!
We will also be adding the finalists to our BANGERS Playlists. Pleanty more great stuff to come!
This is one of those moments where you are going to want to pay attention. The legend of Xero is getting set to release a new song called 'till the lights go. This song features up-and-coming Christian hip-hop artists Average Joe and one of the most iconic names in Christian hip-hop, the one and only KJ-52.
'Till the lights go is a mixture of EDM and hip hop, and is super high energy. The song has catchy melodies, pertinent and well laid-out versus. Till the lights go is a track that is shorts you brighten even the gloomiest days as we set our sights on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the song is a call to worship, for us to sing our praises acknowledging all God has done for us.
'Till the lights go will be available on all major digital outlets on June 5th.
We are so happy to announce that we have the opportunity to partner with Leyna Ceville! Leyna has begun working on her first 5 song EP "From Brokenness" and we are excited for her as well as for you the listener. Leyna's infectious melodies and captivating lyrics will not only have you coming back for more, but contemplating the amazing grace of our Lord and Savior. God has been doing a work in this young ladies heart and it is evident in her life as well as the songs that are being created. Be on the look out for "From Brokenness" to drop sometime later this year or early next.
Leyna was recently featured on Average Joe's album "In Process", check out "As Long As I'm Alive ft. Leyna Ceville"
We are excited for Average Joe as this album has already begun to impact lives for the Kingdom of God! You can stream "In Process" on Spotify at spoti.fi/2HMnvHx and you can DOWNLOAD the album for FREE at averagejoeministries.org
Be sure to check it out, you wont be sorry, we promise! If you have already listened to it leave a comment we would love to hear your thoughts! God Bless!