Conduit Church Feb 12, 2010 -Riding Off Into The Music Business Sunset

I’m sitting here in my office surrounded by boxes. I’m packing my stuff this weekend and moving out of the office and company that I started 8 years ago. My metaphorical horse is saddled, and I’m about to begin my ride off into the music business sunset.

I had left the music business briefly in 2,000 with the premise that someone couldn’t be famous and not lose their mind. Fame and Christianity are strange bedfellows and I had cancelled plenty of shows in the 90’s because of the moral failings of my clients. I had come to the conclusion that it just couldn’t work, that this model was completely broken.

Through circumstances I realized that in reality I had copped an Elijah complex. The “there’s nobody holy but me so I’m taking my toys and going home” attitude. It’s ironic how self-righteousness can be so blinding to actual righteousness around you.

I felt like God was leading me back to Christian music, but to stop complaining about the problems and start acting like part of the solution. And just like Elijah I came to the realization that there were plenty of people working in Christian music whom were good, God fearing people that were passionate about spreading the gospel through music.

What I ultimately realized was that the problem wasn’t the fame, it was being a “star”. Being is a star, creating your own light, your own glory, accepting your own worship. It’s a sense of entitlement, of condescension and arrogance. Being famous is a lot of people knowing your name, and respecting you enough to listen to what you’ve got to say.

It’s not possible to be a star without being famous. It’s part of what fuels the star machine. It is possible to be famous without being a star. Jesus and Paul were famous but they weren’t stars. In fact Paul, when people came to him to say “wow you’re amazing, look what you’ve done” tore his clothes and said I’m no different than you.

In it’s most simple for, fame is a platform for someone to speak from. The more famous you become, the more people will listen to you. What I felt like God was calling me to was build a “platform” for people to speak from. And ultimately I might ought to make sure they’ve got something to say once they get there. It kind of starts with the premise that the one thing we’re entitled to is hell. Because of God’s mercy we’re not getting that, and so everything else is gravy. If the show isn’t great, if the sound wasn’t perfect, if the bus tire blows, the flight cancels, well, it sure beats hell.

I’m so humbled by the caliber of the artists that God has allowed me to work with over the years. Some of the relationships lasted longer than others, some were successful, some weren’t but in each one God led us, strengthened us, and furthered His Kingdom. Fusebox, The Darins, Kutless, Paul Wright, Everman, Seven Places, Disciple, Stellar Kart, Everlife, Esterlyn and Chasen have all played a role in molding me into who I am today. I am honored to have played a role in all of their callings.

Everyone of them has taken their platform seriously and communicated the gospel through their songs, their speech, and their lives. They have truly lived out the vision of Platform Artist Management. They have sacrificed greatly, poured out their lives, and allowed God to work through them.

As I move on, Platform will continue with my long time business partner Chance Hoag taking over for the company and Brandy Wahlman and Sam Barker working in the trenches. It makes it easier to leave knowing that God is in control, and that He has these capable people at the helm.

The current roster of Kutless, Disciple, Stellar Kart and Chasen are all great bands who are not only talented musically but gifted spiritually. They all have something to say, and Platform Artist Management will continue to nurture, build and create opportunities for them to share this message. While I will no longer have a voice in their careers, I do plan to use my voice praying for them.

As for Shannon and I, we’re excited about the future. It’s hard to ride away from this 15 year journey in Christian music, but the sunset we’re moving towards is beautiful. And every sunset, means a sunrise, a new beginning, a new day is on the way.

Easter Sunday 2010, Conduit Church will be launching at Independence High School in Thompson Station, TN. And while we shall miss this world that God has allowed us to be a part of for the past 15 years, there is an energy and passion for what lies ahead. I’m not naïve to think it will be easy but I’ve got faith that God is leading this and he’s been this way before.


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