Skillet, other acts sizzle on AiR1 Positive Hits tour
By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau
What do three Grammy nominees, an “American Idol” alum and a Grand Canyon University graduate have in common? They’re part of the AiR1 Positive Hits concert, headed to GCU Arena 7 p.m. Sunday.
A five-band collective is uniting for the tour, with the concert featuring not just hip hop and R&B but hardcore rock, too, and a talk by musician, author and GCU graduate Mark Lee of Third Day. He is returning to campus after speaking at the University in 2016.
The concert arrives just a week following the big Jeremy Camp concert, which coincided with Family Weekend. The AiR1 tour is being presented by Food for the Hungry and spotlights Christian rock band Skillet as the headliner.
Tickets to the show range from $19.75 to $36.75, with $49.75 VIP tickets available.
Also in the concert lineup are Tauren Wells, Colton Dixon, Britt Nicole and Gawvi.
Skillet formed in Memphis in 1996 and features husband and wife John and Korey Cooper along with Jen Ledger and Seth Morrison. They have received Grammy nods for the albums “Collide” and “Comatose,” just two of the nine albums the band has recorded through the years. One of those albums, “Awake,” was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, while “Rise” was certified gold.
The band’s latest album is “Unleashed,” released in 2016, though the group has repackaged the CD, dubbing it “Unleashed Beyond.” It will be released Nov. 17 and features five additional unreleased tracks plus three mixes of the No. 1 single “Feel Invincible,” “The Resistance” and “Stars,” which was featured in the film “The Shack.”
Vocalist and guitarist John Cooper said that with “Unleashed,” the pressure was off. The band, he said, didn’t have the easiest time recording its previous album, “Rise,” feeling obligated to top its hugely successful CD, “Awake.”
“Making that album was a real journey of terror. … We wrote over 70 songs for ‘Rise,’ and the whole thing was a nightmare, so when ‘Rise’ came out, it’s not that I didn’t like the record, but I did not enjoy the process,” he told Billboard in 2016.
This time around, he said to Billboard, “I had so much fun writing the record. Me and Korey wrote more together on this album than we ever have, and it was really liberating because we were just writing to be storing the songs up.”
Another Grammy nominee on the tour, Britt Nicole, started singing in church and later turned down a scholarship from Belmont University in Nashville so she could launch her singing career.
Her 2012 album, “Gold,” was nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Album.
Also on the lineup is Dixon, an “American Idol” alum who placed seventh in the show’s 11th season. His latest album is “Identity,” which was released earlier this year.
Wells, a Houston native who is a two-time Grammy nominee who opened shows for Lionel Richie this summer, is touring in support of his latest album, “Hills and Valleys.”
Gawvi made his way in the music business, in the beginning, as a producer. He has produced singles for such artists as Lecrae, though he is an artist in his own right. He melds hip-hop, pop and electro to come up with his unique sound.
Lee is the author of “Hurt Road,” a memoir of his life.
When he spoke at GCU last year, he told the audience about getting hit by a pickup truck his freshman year of high school, when he was selling doughnuts to commuters with his church group in Marietta, Ga.
“I was totally alert through the whole thing. Laying there in the middle of the street, I was kind of confused. I thought, ‘Well, I thought you’re supposed to die when you get hit by a truck.’ So I tried to get up, but then I slumped back down to the road and realized it was pretty bad,” he was quoted as saying in GCU Today.
Two years later, his father died of brain cancer.
But through those dark times he found music and, when his band partnered with GCU on one of its tours, he discovered he could take online classes with GCU and realized a longtime dream of getting a college degree. His major was Christian studies.
Lee likely will tell some of those stories at the concert.
Next up for GCU Arena is an appearance by the Harlem Globetrotters on Oct. 28.
IF YOU GO
What: AiR1 Positive Hits Tour
Featuring: Skillet, Britt Nicole, Colton Dixon, Tauren Wells and Gawvi, along with a talk by GCU graduate Mark Lee of the band Third Day
Where: GCU Arena
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $19.75 to $36.75 with $49.75 VIP tickets.
Contact GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults at (602) 639-7901 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LanaSweetenShul.