Powerhouse Vocalist Comes to Hagerstown
Powerhouse Vocalist Comes to Hagerstown
by Jennifer LB Leese
Christian music is hitting the streets and hitting it hard. David Phelps is one of Christian music's premiere male vocalists. Phelps grew up in a house where his family attended church every day. "Music, for us, was our communion. We'd sing songs and harmonize." At the time, David didn't realize how rare that is. David's music fits more with the music from Amy Grant, Journey, and Sandi Patty-groups he grew up listening to. "I just started dreaming about singing Christian music," said Phelps.
From then on David worked to fulfill his dreams.
The beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder. David's art isn't sculpting marble, painting portraits, or snapping still shots; his art is creating a message of Christ through the splendor of music.
Apparently, Phelps is doing something right. Covering music from Christian to R&B-influenced groove, rock-tinged, and even energetic pop, he has quite the following. David gets the "big picture"--propelling him forward into the eyes and ears of millions.
Phelps' love of music and wanting to "help people get through their journey," is what inspired him to go after his dreams. When he was young he entered and won the Gospel Music Association's 1988 "Seminar in the Rockies" talent competition in Estes Park, Colorado. He pressed on to pursue a musical degree at Baylor University in Texas. There he had a teacher who tried to lead him to other styles of music, however, she eventually realized that "God was calling" Phelps to sing Christian music and never tried to change him or the genre of music he preferred.
Phelps and his wife, Lori, the woman who keeps him grounded, moved to Nashville after that in 1996. As do most music hopefuls, he longed to hit it big. However, after a few months, his dreams of landing a record deal was put on hold as the two ran out of money. They even thought of moving back to Texas at one point. "We really feel like God was calling us to Nashville, but it's just not happening," Phelps had told his family. That Christmas his family prayed for him and his wife. The next day, their prayers were answered, as he was asked to audition for the Gaither Vocal Band, a best-selling local country gospel foursome.
God-willing, two weeks later, David was officially a member of the band and shared the stage with Bill Gaither and the Gaither Vocal Band, singing to over 15,000 fans. "David has to be one of the most outstanding talents that I have witnessed in the last fifty years," said Bill Gaither.
David spent eight happy years with the band, but as with most artists, he wanted to release a solo album that expressed his own style and songwriting. "For me, this has turned into something more than standing in front of people and singing a song.
"To be able to sing a lyric that can really minister to someone's soul and maybe take them to the next step on their journey, when I get tired or burned out, that helps me get up and go sing."
David Phelps, solo and with the Gaither Vocal Band, has won four Dove Awards, two Grammy Awards, and 13 gold and 15 platinum-selling projects. He has had an incredible journey. Additionally, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) has nominated him twice for "Male Vocalist of the Year."
With the release of "Revelation," an album that garnered top-10 SoundScan positioning during its first week of sales, David fully realized his true calling. This album showcases David's impressive vocal ability and musical training. "As a culture, both churched and unchurched, we carry around so many ideas of who Jesus is that are not true," David said. "We relate Christ to the idea of being judged or compared against an impossible standard. I want people to hear about a God who isn't standing there with His finger in their faces, but is simply there with His arms open wide saying, 'I just want to know you. Come to me, and I'll help you through this journey.'"
David's second album, "Life is a Church" hit the streets September 27, 2005, moving David into a full-time career as a solo artist. "For over a year now I have been grappling with leaving the Vocal Band," says Phelps. "With the council of family, friends, my pastor and more, I mustered up the courage to take this step of surrender and obedience. Of course I will miss Bill, Gloria and the wonderful family I've grown to love on the Homecoming tour. However our paths are too intertwined for it to be over.
"I've had incredible success with my solo career and that's where I need to spend my energy right now. I'm looking forward to having the time to be out on the road reaching more people with the gifts God has given me," said Phelps.
"Life Is A Church" combines Phelps' renowned vocals with themes embracing his relationship with God, family, and the world around him. "Overall, the project says simply that we can no longer confine God to Sunday mornings."
As an acclaimed solo artist and while a member of the Gaither Vocal Band, Phelps has performed before millions including appearances at Billy Graham Mission crusades and before President Bush at the White House.
"David Phelps has an amazing voice. I knew that the first time I heard him sing at last year's Dove Awards. What a treat and what a surprise to hear such an incredible sound. I was blown away!! And I'm hard to please," said Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston's Producer, David Foster.
For those of you who are already David Phelps fans or those of you who would like to hear him in person, you're in luck! David Phelps Solo is coming to the Maryland Theatre October 23, 2005 for a 7PM performance.
Torben Aarsand, Executive Director of the Aarsand Family Foundation, was driving to Baltimore one day and decided to pop in a CD that a friend had given him. "When I listened to it again and again I thought to myself, this guy is phenomenal. I instantly became enthusiastic. What an incredible voice! This guy is better than the rest." Mr. Aarsand knew immediately that he wanted to share David Phelps with his community. The Aarsand Family Foundation, a group that directly helps adolescents committed to improving themselves through education and skill development; and helps organizations that assist these young men and women achieve their goals, is donating the net proceeds from this concert to further the work of the foundation as well as aiding the Boys & Girls Club of Washington County.
"We feel very fortunate to be working with the Aarsand Family Foundation because the foundation and the Boys & Girls Club share a common goal of preparing young people to become productive, responsible, and caring citizens," said Buck Browning, director of operations at the Club.
Mr. Aarsand is open to co-sponsors "to help feed the band". If there's anyone who wishes to do so or who feels they would benefit from contacting the Aarsand Family Foundation, visit them online at www.aarsand.com/foundation; call them at 410-771-1880 or write to them at 11019 McCormick Road, Suite #320 Hunt Valley, MD 21030. The Foundation invites the public to help support their work, through your tax-exempt financial gift.
The Maryland Theatre is David's only mid-Atlantic appearance. He is sure to draw a large crowd and provide concert-goers with an electrifying experience in gospel music. "It will be a worshipful evening that you don't want to miss!"
To order tickets, visit www.davidphelps.com, www.mdtheatre.org or call the Maryland Theatre at 301-790-3500 or drop by 21 S. Potomac Street, Hagerstown.