Going for the Record: New Life Singers Enter Studio to Make Worship CD
By Cooper Nelson
GCU Today Magazine
Gabe Salazar has trouble counting the number of times fans requested a CD of his New Life Singers traveling vocal ensemble.
People wanted copies everywhere they sang, and Salazar was forced to turn them away. He decided it was time to give them the recording they wanted.
“(A CD) is the No. 1 request everywhere we go, but we didn’t have anything to give them,” said Salazar, a Grand Canyon University alumnus who became campus worship director in 2011. “We have wanted to make one for a while, and now we finally have the talent.”
The New Life Singers began recording tracks for their debut album on April 1. Salazar said the CD could be released by August. The album features contemporary worship covers and student-written songs, reflecting the group’s roots as GCU’s worship band.
Songs will be recorded at the Church for the Nations music studio in Phoenix. Salazar said the group will include professional musicians from around the country to record instrumentals before the New Life Singers record vocals and solos.
CDs will be sold on campus and on tour. Digital recordings also could be available on iTunes. Salazar said the hope is to sell 5,000 copies, the minimum to land a spot on the Top 100 of Billboard magazine’s Christian charts. But he emphasized the importance of honoring God.
“Yeah, it would be really cool to sell 5,000, but the goal is not to sell records,” Salazar said. “The heart and soul of the group is worship. We want to share our hearts with people so they can enjoy (the CD) and God’s Word.”
Salazar, 28, grew the New Life Singers from five vocalists to a premier university choral group of 16 vocalists and five musicians. The group tours the Southwest, performing nearly 100 times a year while leading church worship and serving as ambassadors for GCU at high schools.
A main focus of the group is outreach and evangelism. The group regularly performs at homeless shelters and for charitable organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Student members often share their testimonies after performances.
Junior vocalist Jonelle Robson, a member for three years, said the CD expresses the group’s collective faith while encouraging others to believe.
“We want to use this CD to share our faith and our hearts with everyone … to encourage people in their faith and daily lives,” Robson said.
“There is a piece of us in this album that people can take with them and know who we are,” said Christopher James Van Natten, another junior vocalist.
The singing group has become popular over the last year and positions are in high demand, so Salazar said competition for future spots will be fierce and expectations will be raised. Along with the current CD and rigorous touring schedule, he has an ambitious future in mind for the group.
“It is such a new group, and to set the foundation (by recording the album) is important,” Salazar said.
“This won’t be the last CD.”
Contact Cooper Nelson at 639.7511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.