Capitol Christian Music Group
Bryan and Katie Torwalt are worship leaders and songwriters who have a passion to see lives changed through encounters with the presence of God. This is the foundational premise from which their music is derived. The songs they write are declarative anthems for the body of Christ that reflect their passion for freedom, healing, and the assurance that God’s goodness surrounds us in any circumstance. Realizing the likeness in vision and spirit, the Torwalts joined with the Jesus Culture Music label in the fall of 2010 as they began working on their debut album "Here on Earth.” As they brought pen to paper, they had no idea they were crafting one of the biggest worship anthems of this decade. The song "Holy Spirit" has since gone on to win a Grammy for best Christian song of the year and it continues to be a staple in worship sets around the world. Their second album, Kingdom Come, is full of dynamic songs of faith and praise. The latest offering from Bryan and Katie, “Champion”, conveys a message of the victory we have in Jesus, even in the midst of hardship, and is full of prophetic declarations of the ever-present God who has overcome for us.
Chris Quilala is an artist on the Jesus Culture Music label and serves as worship pastor for Jesus Culture Church in Sacramento, CA. Chris has been involved in Jesus Culture since it was founded and he is an integral part of the Jesus Culture leadership team. He is a talented and anointed worship leader and musician with a love for the presence and power of God. He has a heart to write songs that will bring freedom and strength to the local church. Chris and his wife Alyssa have 4 beautiful children, Ella, Aria, Jethro (born December 3rd 2014 and is living in heaven) and their newest addition, Liv.
Chris McClarney grew up in the church as the son of a youth pastor and met Jesus at a very young age. When he was 14 he began leading worship for a small group, which then led to full-time ministry in local churches and inner-city ministry across Nashville, TN. Chris’ powerful worship anthem “Your Love Never Fails” has become one of the most popular songs in America’s churches as reported in the TOP 25 of CCLI and a #1 song on the Billboard Christian chart. Chris recently partnered with Jesus Culture music recording his debut live album “Everything and Nothing Less.” This powerful live album features 9 brand new songs recorded live at the 2015 Jesus Culture Sacramento conference.
While she maintains a solo career, Kim Walker-Smith is also a member of the Jesus Culture band and youth outreach ministry. Born in Albany, Oregon, the future singer, songwriter, and worship leader moved to Redding, California to attend college. It was there that she began attending the Bethel Church, where she later became worship leader, and in 1999, the church launched its Jesus Culture ministry. She made her recording debut in 2006 on the first Jesus Culture Music release Everything, then two years later her solo album Here Is My Song appeared under the name Kim Walker. Further Jesus Culture releases and her marriage to photographer Skyler Smith kept her from returning to her solo career until the 2013 live album Still Believe arrived as a Kim Walker-Smith release. The Smiths put out a collaborative effort later that year with the folkier Home, and in 2014 Walker-Smith presented her first seasonal album, When Christmas Comes. It reached the top half of the Billboard 200. Her first LP to consist entirely of original songs and no covers, On My Side followed in 2017 faring similarly well on both the Christian and pop charts and prompting the release of a live concert album, On My Side, in early 2018. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi
Hailing from Southern California, THE YOUNG ESCAPE (Capitol) delivers a fresh shot of EDM-infused Indie pop with the energetic live show to match. Comprised of siblings Ryan, McKenna, Kyrsten, and Luke Johns, the band’s debut singles “good life” and “neverfade” are an alchemy of modern pop sheen and sophisticated edge, carried to otherworldly heights by McKenna’s vocal. With an average age of 18, TYE speaks to the themes of insecurity, anxiety, and pressure facing every kid in the modern age with the hope and escape that’s found in the kinetic spirit of youth.
It takes courage to be a misfit – just ask South Florida rappers Fern and Marty. From prisonsentences to church expulsions, there’s nothing these two haven’t gone through or risen above. With God as the cornerstone of their story, this unstoppable duo brings their experiences to life through their own breed of faith-based hip-hop.
To understand Social Club Misfits is to know the story of Fern and Marty. Though they’vetriumphed through five headlining tours, five albums, and three EPs, they haven’t alwayshad it easy. Fern, a pastor’s son, endured a three-year prison sentence for drug trafficking before forming a real connection with God. Marty, who was saved at 18, was fired from his church as a result of being a whistleblower. A chance encounter at a local radio station would bring the artists together and cement the beginning of Social Club Misfits.
From the get-go, Fern and Marty enticed crowds with candid conversations about God, butit wasn’t until Misfits 2 that they saw commercial success. The 2014 album tackled everything from trap-heavy bangers to fist-raising anthems, attesting to their unparalleled creative chemistry and not to mention, flexible flow. Fern and Marty explored the key theme of, well, being a misfit -- or, as they put it, “one who’s uncomfortable with his or hersurroundings.” The guys got real on love, family, and faith, but never let things get too serious. Life, in their eyes, is complex – “sorta like a Coogie sweater.” As it turns out,infusing their rhymes with depth and humor paid off; Misfits 2 landed at No. 59 onBillboard’s Hot 200 chart.
Building on the impact of Misfits 2 and its successor Us, Social Club Misfits inked a deal with Capitol Christian Music Group. From there, the accolades continued to roll in. 2017’s The Misadventures of Fern and Marty scored a No. 80 spot on the Billboard 200; 2018’s Into the Night follow-up racked up over 25M global streams and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Top Christian/Gospel Albums chart; and their single “War Cry (Feat. Tauren Wells)” earnedthem a Dove Award for Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year.
On their most recent EP, MOOD, the guys stay true to the project’s title. From the Spanglish, dancefloor-filling “Que Lo Que” to hype tracks like “Everytime,” MOOD promises a song in every shade. Wrapping up the first leg of their BIG MOOD USA Tour, Social Club Misfits continue to do what they do best – cater to a global fan base of fellow misfits. With a new Hot AC radio single, “Testify (ft. Crowder),” slated for a summer 2019 release, this pairshows no signs of slowing down.
Bringing in over 115M global streams across all platforms and 18M views on Youtube and Vevo combined, Fern and Marty have amassed something of a cult following. No matter the mood, song, or stage, Social Club Misfits are proud to tell their unlikely tale and remind like- minded fans worldwide to be proud misfits no matter where they are in their journey.
One of the most commercially successful contemporary Christian and gospel vocalists of the late 2000s and early 2010s, Mandisa, born Mandisa Lynn Hundley in 1976, grew up in Sacramento, California. She sang in her church and eventually studied vocal performance at American River College. Later, she continued her musical studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. After college, Mandisa found work as a session and backup vocalist for such name artists as Trisha Yearwood and Shania Twain. In 2006, she competed during the fifth season of American Idol and gained a following through performances of Alicia Keys' "Fallin'," Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," and Mary Mary's "Shackles (Praise You)."
After her elimination from American Idol, Mandisa quickly plugged herself into the contemporary Christian and gospel markets. In early 2007, she appeared with Kirk Franklin on tobyMac's Portable Sounds. Later that year, she released her debut album, True Beauty, on which she was joined by the Fisk Jubilee Singers and tobyMac. It topped Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart. She followed it with a holiday recording, It's Christmas, and released her second proper studio album, the Grammy-nominated Freedom, in 2009. Her output became less gospel-oriented, rooted more in straight-ahead CCM. What If We Were Real, released in 2011, was also nominated for a Grammy, while 2013's Overcomer took the award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Out of the Dark arrived four years later, following a deep depression precipitated by the death of a close friend. ~ Matt Collar & Andy Kellman, Rovi
Although he largely stuck to gospel and soul music during his time on American Idol, Danny Gokey transformed himself into a country artist following the show's conclusion. Born on April 24, 1980, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was raised in a large family and began singing during weekly church services. Gokey's interest in religion and music continued to shape his adolescence, and he became the music director of Faith Builders International Ministries during his mid-twenties. Meanwhile, he married his high-school sweetheart, a fellow churchgoing music fan named Sophia Martinez, and lived with her for four years.
In 2008, Martinez underwent surgery for congenital heart disease and died during the operation. An enthusiastic fan of American Idol, she had asked Gokey to audition for the show on several occasions. He ultimately auditioned that summer -- a mere four weeks after her passing -- and became one of the show's early frontrunners, sailing through each round with his gruff, soulful vocals and tear-jerking back-story. Gokey ultimately finished third in the competition, with only Adam Lambert and Kris Allen receiving more votes.
The American Idols LIVE! Tour kept him busy until September 2009, at which point he signed with 19 Recordings (in conjunction with RCA Nashville) and set to work on a country album. His first single, "My Best Days Are Ahead of Me," peaked at number 29 on the country chart, and he rang in the New Year by releasing a full-length record, My Best Days, in early 2010. Well received, the album peaked at number three on the Billboard Country Albums chart.
Gokey's sophomore album, Hope in Front of Me, followed in 2014. Bouyed by the single "More Than You Think I Am," it debuted at number one on the Billboard Christian Albums chart. A year later, he delivered the holiday album Christmas Is Here, followed in 2016 by La Esperanza Frente a Mi, a Spanish-language version of Hope in Front of Me. In 2017, Gokey returned with his fifth full-length studio album, Rise, featuring the title track single. Also showcased on the album were guest appearances from fellow American Idol alum Jordin Sparks and vocalist Kierra Sheard. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Christian Albums chart. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi
Professionally known as TobyMac, Toby McKeehan grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs in the shadow of Washington, D.C., where he fell in love with rap music. While attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia during the mid-'80s, he met Michael Tait and Kevin Max Smith (aka Kevin Max), and the three friends formed the Grammy-winning, platinum-selling Christian pop group dc Talk, which mixed elements of CCM, grunge, and rap. When dc Talk ended in 1999, McKeehan began a solo career that was stylistically diverse and immensely successful as well.
The first TobyMac solo album, Momentum, was released in 2001. A mixture of urban rock and rap, it garnered five Dove Awards and a Grammy nomination, and spawned the remix album Re: Mix Momentum, which saw the light in 2003. Using pretty much the same blueprint, and even adding in a little dancehall reggae, McKeehan released Welcome to Diverse City in 2004. It worked again; the album landed TobyMac a Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Album of the Year. Another album-length remix set, Renovating->Diverse City, came in 2005. Released in 2007, Portable Sounds provided fans with another vibrant, genre-melding set of new material and entered the Billboard 200 at number ten. Four of its singles, including the Kirk Franklin and Mandisa collaboration "Lose My Soul," reached Billboard's Top Christian Songs chart. It was followed in 2008 by the two-disc live set Alive and Transported.
McKeehan's roll continued the next decade. Tonight, released in 2010, debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and won a Dove Award for Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year. In 2012, after Christmas in DiverseCity and Dubbed and Freq'd: A Remix Project, he released his fifth proper studio album, Eye on It. Ever willing to explore different sounds, it incorporated EDM-style dubstep. The set debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 and won the 2013 Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album. Reviving his album remix format, he issued the companion album Eye'm All Mixed Up: Remixes in 2014. McKeehan debuted new material while on his 2014 Worship, Stories, and Song Tour, and the single "Beyond Me" was released at the beginning of 2015. His sixth album, This Is Not a Test, followed later that August, again topping the Christian charts and reaching number four on the Billboard Top 200. Another live album, Hits Deep Live, captured performances from an arena tour that kicked off in the spring of 2016. It arrived in audio and video formats that November. A pair of non-album TobyMac singles appeared in 2018, including the hit "I Just Need U." ~ Steve Leggett & Andy Kellman