Over the last year our team here at The Haystack has been working on creating more awareness of Seventh-day Adventist independent musicians. While it's been great to post about individual artists releasing new songs, albums, or interviewing singers and bands, it has quickly become clear that there is way more Seventh-day Adventist music being made than we initially guessed.
To help bring more attention to all this music, we have begun to curate together some new Spotify playlists. We are launching two of them this week.
The first is Independent Adventist Worship. This is a collection of praise, worship, and devotional songs across a number of different styles, encompassing CCM, Gospel, Folk, Pop, and more. The idea with this playlist is that it makes sense while driving to or from church, or playing in the background during a Sabbath afternoon potluck or picnic, or maybe Friday afternoon while you're finishing tidying up your house and preparing for Sabbath. You will also notice that some of the songs in this playlist contain explicit references to specific points of Adventist theology, such as the Sabbath ("Seventh-day" by Contagious Faith), the Three Angel's Messages ("Run" by Brad Nickel"), and the Investigative Judgment ("Miller and the Midnight Cry" by Billy Otto).
The word Independent in the title refers to the fact that these are not artists signed by major record labels.
The second playlist is Adventist Party Night. For many Seventh-day Adventists, Saturday night is a time for social gatherings, visiting friends, or putting on church youth group or outreach events. Unofficially, Saturday night is "Adventist Party Night," even if your family's idea of a party is just to have church friends over for food, fellowship, and some games.
For some people - whether they be at SDA schools, summer camps, or just the local church - it can be difficult and time consuming to curate a playlist of music that is 'safe' for their social event while also being adequately fun and having a modern sound. This playlist responds to that need with just over an hour of high-energy music that doesn't necessarily fit into the typical paradigm of "Praise and Worship" but is nevertheless created by Seventh-day Adventist artists, expressing a Christian message. This playlist emphasizes Hip-Hop, EDM, Pop, and Rock music. Basically, if it has loud 808s or overdriven guitars, you can find it here.
One of the problems with the Adventist music "scene" is that it's not much of a scene at all. In North America, for example, most SDA artists are independent and only locally known. Perhaps a handful of singers and songwriters gain recognition through a university campus, but for the most part the average Adventist singer seems to be playing to a niche (their local church context) within a niche (Adventism).
At a more global level, I think that the amount of controversy that exists about music within the denomination often seems to prevent us from putting music more "front and center" in the work of our church, even at large, global-scale church events. This is specially true when it comes to more contemporary forms of music. And so, local artists become regionally locked because there really isn't any platform within the church to make music known to the rest of the Adventist community internationally.
On that front, it has been helpful for us to consult the work of other organizations and ministries who have been keeping track of and promoting Adventist music in their own areas, especially Waymaker, One Sound Music, and the Adventist Musician Network. It's worth noting that some of these ministries are also curating Spotify playlists, as well as putting on live-streamed concerts and artist Instagram takeovers, so make sure to check them all out.
At present we have only begun to curate Spotify playlists, but we may consider doing something comparable with Apple Music in the future. We encourage everyone to spread the links to these playlists around. We will be updating them as often as relevant new Adventist-made music is released.