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Meet the Artist: Nathan Cochran PDF Print E-mail
Written by Production   
Monday, 08 March 2010 11:22 AM EST

 

Meet the Artist: Nathan Cochran

MercyMe bass player Nathan Cochran talks about the concept behind the band's May release, The Generous Mr. Lovewell (INO Records/Provident-Integrity Distribution).

 


What is the theme behind the album? Is it a concept record?

"It starts with 1 John 4:10-11, and yes, it is a concept. We decided to invent a character named Mr. Lovewell who really believes that the little things he does to help people make a difference, whether it's helping someone carry their bags or mowing the lawn for an older lady that cannot. He also knows that ultimately, if he has not offered them the hope we have in Christ, then he has not really loved them at all. In a way he has really insulted them by not sharing this truth with them."

 

What is the viral promotion all about?

"We had great fun doing a photo shoot that was very stylized, to say the least. Mr. Lovewell was there and shot some short videos just to let everyone know that he was coming."

 

Can you tell us about some of the songs?

"Hmm, do you really want to know? Isn't a surprise better?"

 

When do you launch your tour in support of the new record?

"We will be on the Rock and Worship Roadshow again this spring, and we will be playing a few new songs on tour. The rest of the year will be great fun showcasing the whole record to everyone."

 

You seem to have a lot of fun on Twitter and blogs. How has social media helped you as a band?

"We really do like talking to people, and things like our blog
(www.mercyme.org) and Twitter have made it very easy on us to keep in contact with everyone. We all know how important instant communication is to everyone now, and we as a band wholeheartedly jump at the chance to share what God is sharing with us. And everyone gets to see exactly how goofy we really are."

 
CATEGORY KEY: Drawing in the comic book consumers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Blount   
Friday, 05 March 2010 12:17 PM EST

CATEGORY KEY: Drawing in the comic book consumersIf you want to increase book business at your store, you might take a lesson from many libraries. They have been adding both comics and graphic novels to their shelves to draw different groups of readers, citing increases in circulation of 40% or more as a result.

Faith-based comics and graphic novels provide a way of drawing young customers—often a problem group for Christian stores. Comics and graphic novels appeal to an increasingly media-savvy public, as well as to reluctant readers and to those for whom English is not their primary language.

With their shorter format and lower price points, comics are an economical option for young people, and serialized stories can entice repeat buyers.

While mainstream comics and graphic novels are dominated by superhero characters and plots, the scope is expanding to include much more sophisticated subject matter. Genres include biography, history, science fiction, mystery, romance, adventure, memoir, humor, politics—and inspirational and faith-based.

To make the most of this opportunity:

Know the difference. Comic books offer pictures for context, introduce plot and sequencing, while engaging the reader through the character's dialogue. The result is a story that engages readers at a richer level than straight text. Graphic novels are a longer version of a comic book with a more complex storyline.

Determine needs. Find out what's available that would be appropriate for your customers or that might draw new customers into your store. Consult with distributors, search online to see what's popular and talk with some of your current customers.

Place carefully. Consider positioning comic books and graphic novels near your store's music department or another area that already naturally attracts young customers.

Promote well. Announce your comics and graphic novels department to your customers and to the community, using social media as part of the approach. Offer giveaways and plan fun events to create traffic.

Kingstone Media Group was launched in response to the opportunities presented by these contemporary formats. Some comics—like the epic “Babylon,” “The Christ” and “Lion of God” (about the apostle Paul) series—do have overt religious content. Others—like 2048, a sci-fi thriller—read and look like mainstream material, but have a faith theme.

Find out more about Kingstone resources at www.KingstoneMedia.com.


Steve Blount is COO of Kingstone Media Group.

 
Meet the Artist: TobyMac PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 February 2010 02:52 PM EST

GRAMMY Award-winning artist TobyMac, on his Feb. 9 release, Tonight (ForeFront Records/EMI CMG), creativity, touring and digital music.

Tell us about the new album.
“I try to write about life as a believer on this planet and all that comes with it. ... I call the record Tonight because that’s when things come together for me. A written song turns into a produced recording and then gets into the hands of people and we get together in a concert setting where anything can happen.”

What did you bring from your experience with the live record Alive and Transported?
“My band played on a lot of tracks on this record. I have always had a mixture of studio musicians and my band to make up the sound of my recording. I am always thinking about the live show. My band is so amazing they make me think we can do anything in the studio. So I think the live record probably busted my confidence to take creative adventures with my show in mind.”

The songs touch on a variety of topics. Where did you draw from?
“My own personal experiences, my friendships and my shortcomings. ... I want my songs to be about life, a pursuit of holiness in a crazy mixed-up world.”

Where are you now creatively?
“Coming off a year-and-a-half-long process—the writing, mixing, mastering these songs—has been a long run. Then I headed straight out to the Winter Wonder Slam Tour. I usually get refueled creatively very quickly, though. ... Right now I am most inspired about taking the songs on the Tonight album and turning them into a live experience.”

What are your thoughts on the changing landscape of the music industry?
“I would always want people to enjoy the experience of buying the CD and delving into the packaging. ... But if my songs are getting into people’s hands, I’m not complaining. When artists begin to overly concern themselves on how music is getting into people’s hands, they are not concerned enough about the art that they are making.”

Will you tour in support of the new record?
“I will be co-headlining with Skillet on the Awake Tonight tour. I think the intensity of both bands will make for a great live experience. Later this summer, I plan to co-headline some shows with Chris Tomlin.”

 
Looking at the lighter side of faith PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 February 2010 03:49 PM EST

Popular humor blog spawns book centering on quirky Christian habits

StuffChristiansLike

The lighter side of Christian faith is explored in the new humor book Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. The book, inspired by the author's popular blog, features essays on the quirky side of all things Christian.

It includes topics such as "Being slightly offended the pastor has a nicer car than you," "Telling testimonies that are exciting right up until the moment you became a Christian" and "Using 'Let me pray about it' as a euphemism for 'no.' "

The book features favorite items from the author's "Stuff Christians Like" Web site along with updated essays and additional content. The blog, which began in March 2008, has amassed more than a million site visits and generated more than 6,000 comments. Acuff began the blog as an illustrative response to how Christians sometimes hijack themes from popular culture, fashioning itself as a takeoff of the successful "Stuff White People Like" blog.

"I thought honestly I would do it for a week or two, but on day eight or nine, 4,300 people came and read the site," he said. "It just went viral."

The popularity caught Acuff off guard, and he was quick to point out that it's "been bigger than any degree of coolness or talent that I possess."

Acuff acknowledged the rarity of Christian humor books in the marketplace, a reason the book concept was initially rejected by publishers.

"There's not a great precedence to lean on," he said. "That's not to say people haven't done it well," he said, noting that Christian humor titles are not as prevalent as general market humor books.

He hopes that Stuff Christians Like can help broaden the humor section of Christian bookstores. Of the comments on the site, he noted that "a lot of those are from humorists. They're out there. My hope is, in addition to the book doing well, that it will help create a shelf that is Christian humor."

Acknowledging the potential for controversy when mixing faith and humor, Acuff said that he did not want to make "any joke to get in the way of the everlasting love of Christ." He did not descend into mockery, he added, trying instead to "write things that are funny without a victim. Mockery usually needs a victim."

Acuff said there was much more material on his blog, but the book has enough new material to attract readers.

"What I think is really neat, (if you read the book), you now have nine times that amount of content online for free," he said. "Readers that didn't know it as a blog will discover that, and blog readers will pick up the book."

Whether or not the additional material will end up in subsequent releases, Acuff joked, "I'd be surprised to see a Stuff Christian Teens Like or Stuff Christian Moms Like, but it's a down economy, so who knows? Difficult choices need to be made."

While Acuff keeps a good sense of humor, his new ministry addressed a serious situation last year. When his 6-year-old daughter raised the issue of starving children overseas, Acuff presented a fund-raising opportunity to his readers to give at his Web site in coordination with Samaritan's Purse, raising more than $60,000 in 25 days for orphanages in Vietnam.

"That's the power of social community and what it can accomplish," Acuff said.

Zondervan will promote the release with a print, broadcast and online advertising campaign and book tour.

For more information or to order, call Zondervan at 800-727-1309, or visit www.zondervan.com.

Click here to listen to the audio interview with Jonathan Acuff.

 
Worship leader offers hope for the weary PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 February 2010 03:48 PM EST

Reinvent-Your-LifeAlvin Slaughter, a worship leader and music artist who first came to prominence as a vocalist for The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, brings a message of encouragement to the weary in Reinvent Your Life: How to Turn Your Life Around, Rediscover the Fire of Your Faith and Get Your Power Back (978-1-599-79608-6, $12.99), releasing April 6 from Charisma House, an imprint of Strang Book Group.

Slaughter has noticed a persistent discouragement in the body of Christ and relates lessons from his own struggles with fear, depression, financial failure and marital strife. Chapters include "Discovering Your Life's Passion," "Facing the Music," "Confronting Failure Myths," and "Next-Level Belief."

"When I experienced despair in life's journey, I felt paralyzed emotionally and spiritually to the point that, even though I sort of knew what I needed to do to make things better, I just didn't have the heart. I didn't have the faith, the fire in my soul to do anything about it," Slaughter writes in the book's introduction.

To combat his problems, Slaughter said he had to face his personal issues and embrace the truth of God's Word, which helped him and his wife "reinvent" their lives, a challenge he issues to those struggling with similar issues.

Slaughter points out that believers can receive power from God to help them through their problems, but they must also work hard to reshape their lives.

"Let God help you to reinvent your life," he writes. "You must take biblical steps to get refreshed, get focused, and let your mind be transformed. And keep at it. There is no substitute for perseverance in your walk with God."

To promote Reinvent Your Life, Slaughter is scheduled to appear on television programs such as TBN's Praise the Lord and It's Supernatural!, as well as radio interviews, book signings and speaking engagements. A digital media campaign will also be implemented, including podcasts, an online journal from the author and social media.

For more information, visit www.strangbookgroup.com. To order, call Strang Book Group at 800-283-8494.

 
Meet the Artist: Phil Vischer PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 February 2010 03:01 PM EST
VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, owner of Jellyfish Labs, on strategies to reach kids today and his current projects, Jelly Telly online programming and the new "What's in the Bible?" DVD series from Tyndale House Publishers.

What's the aim of the new DVD series?
"To bring Christianity to life for kids by walking them through the entire Bible-from Genesis to Revelation. I think VeggieTales did a good job teaching individual Bible stories and Christian values. What we're trying to do now, though, is connect all those dots to show kids the big picture. Instead of teaching Christian values, we're teaching Christianity. Instead of teaching individual Bible stories, we're teaching the entire Bible. I think it's the next step after VeggieTales-sort of 'VeggieTales v2.' "

Read more...
 
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