Remember the days when Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning artist NewSong merely thrived in the blooming music industry? Those decades when recording acts toured from coast to coast to generate album sales? But then the digital music revolution turned conventional thinking on its head. Today, instead of touring to move units, most artists release new music to drive fans to their concerts. And in this new era where tours rule the day, who is one of Christian music's primary gatekeepers and most influential bands? ...NewSong.
But make no mistake; this group's remarkable story is more about faithfulness and the favor of God than one band's daring innovation. In fact, the most pivotal moments in NewSong's career repeatedly begged the question: What was NewSong thinking?
"I attribute that to God having His hand on us and helping us in spite of ourselves," says Eddie. "We've tried to be faithful to our mission – to tell people about our relationship with Christ – since the beginning. I remember thinking, even before we started NewSong, that it'd be great to have a group of real guys that you could relate to, get up on stage, hold an audience's attention with great music and then share how to come to know Christ. Even though we love the music, the ministry part of what we do is the main focus."
Indeed, try getting Eddie or Billy to reflect on NewSong's notable success – the 20 #1 radio singles, numerous awards, and national television appearances are the tip of the iceberg – and they'll immediately take you back to what matters most, their mission. Even from the outside looking in, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that a heart for evangelism has always defined what they do. And that, perhaps more than anything, makes their repeated achievements – including some absolute stunners – so extraordinary.
With hits like “Arise My Love” and “Christmas Shoes”, the band has been called to do a Christmas tour every year, and have been happy to oblige, knowing the impact these songs have had on people’s lives. When the group introduced its annual "Winter Jam Tour Spectacular" in 1995, NewSong started to change the public face of Christian music. The mega-event on wheels has become one of the gospel music world's largest annual tours, with some history-making moments along the way—like setting a record in 1999 for the largest attended indoor event in South Carolina's history. To this day, NewSong's multi-artist, ticketless concerts give thousands the opportunity not only to hear incredible music but, of course, to also hear the Gospel message.
While the music groups that started with NewSong are either done or are having their occasional reunion tours, Eddie, Billy, Russ and company continue to nurture creativity by moving beyond conventional thinking. Or, as Eddie humbly puts it, "The innovative ideas that mark NewSong's history don't seem profound at the time; they just come about naturally."