The year 2020 is coming to a close very soon. And while many people will celebrate that fact as a good thing, there are little moments of brightness that shine through every so often. So here is an update on just a handful of Adventist artists who have released new music in 2020 that you should know about, even if they may have slipped under your radar.
Naomi Parchment - The Care Package EP
"The Care Package" is a unique new offering from Hunstville, Alabama-based Gospel-R&B crossover artist Naomi Parchment. The EP, released exclusively on Soundcloud, offers a surprising blend of original content, and references to secular and gospel songs as broad as Tye Tribbett, Gnarls Barkley, SZA, and more. This project definitely feels like it's meant to speak to people who are stuck at home and in their feelings during the tumultuous events that have characterized 2020. Anyone looking for a forward-thinking musical experience will find something to love here.
Brad Nickel - Run
Brad Nickel is a singer-songwriter from Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) whose sound spans everything from folk-rock acoustic sensibilities, to contemporary worship atmospheres, and even electronic textures. His new single, RUN, should be especially appealing to fans of groups like For King And Country. There's something sonically 80's about the whole thing. Adventist listeners will also find themselves possibly taken aback by a reference to "the Three Angels' Messages" in the second verse of the song that feels completely un-forced and at home with the tone of the song. Make sure to check out Brad Nickel's back catalogue as well!
Intercession - Free
While this is an entry from earlier this year, this Toronto, Canada-based group certainly deserves more attention with their debut single. Intercession is a talented vocal quartet with a knack for blending together the varied nuances of Gospel music and Contemporary Worship. This is a solid introduction for the group and I'm eager to hear more.
Cody Cornwall & Changed - I Must Tell Jesus
Another Toronto-based gospel group recently dropped a rendition of the hymn "I Must Tell Jesus," and it's a perfect example of how the right arrangement can give new life to an otherwise familiar tune. While this is the only song you'll currently find on their Spotify, it's a strong start on the recorded side of things for a group that seems to have a few years of experience together in a live setting. Keep your eyes and ears open for more from this group, and apparently the city of Toronto in general.
Carmen Cruz may not be an unfamiliar face for some readers. She's been a noteworthy Adventist name in the Independent music scene for a while now. While there was a long break between her 2014 debut album Plan For Me, 2020 saw Cruz come back with a smooth acoustic R&B track Sounds Better, as well as a vocal guest feature with the band Neon Skylines on their song Won't Let Go.
Loma Linda University Church
In a year when many churches struggle to adapt to the online ecosystem, Loma Linda University Church did a great job at staying ahead of the game. Their Anthem Worship ministry especially excelled at putting together high-quality music performances and visual experiences that could transcend, in a way, the isolation brought on by the pandemic. Check out the full playlist on their YouTube channel for more renditions of familiar worship songs, some original pieces, as well as sermon content and more.
From the realm of Christian Hip-Hop, DB has had a number of new songs out this year. From his recent collaboration with K-Drama on the song "Work," or earlier singles this year, this is one artist who seems to have not slowed down his creative output during the 2020 shut downs.
Okay, fine, I'll do it.. I'll mention my own band. Based out of - you guessed it - Toronto, Canada, KOZEN is a project that comes from the rock and metal world, but focuses on bending and cross-pollinating music styles and musician cultures. Disclaimer: I'm the only Adventist in the band, but I'm also the lead singer and lyricist, so you can decide how "Adventist" that makes the music. Our two singles this year were Summer Never Ends - an anthem for summer fun with a taste for tropical pop and with metaphors for the union of heaven and earth - and Somebody Else - a dark and heavy lament over strained friendships. In some ways, both of these songs are departures from our normal "sound." You can check out our first full-length album A Fearful Wonder and especially that album's lead single To The Wind if you'd like a clear sense of our overall sound.
Year in Review
The year 2020 has been a major challenge for many musicians. Still, countless artists have found a way to stay creative and keep putting out music in spite of the difficult circumstances. Here's to all the creatives going into 2021 with a sense of uncertainty mixed with determination. May you all stay inspired and motivated, and may the future bring you all more success.
-Max, for The Haystack Music