The path leads to Canyon Worship … and a career
Fourth of a series previewing Canyon Worship 2018, which will be available for $9.99 on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Shazam and in the Lope Shop on campus beginning Monday, Sept. 10.
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Like so many teenagers, Logan Myers didn’t know what career path she wanted to take. And it wasn’t just because she was only a sophomore at Scottsdale Christian Academy.
“I was in a place in my life where I was really confused about who I was, where I was going to go, who I was going to be,” she said.
She liked to write songs, sure, but her focus was on becoming a schoolteacher. She did her best to talk herself into the idea. She even signed up to major in education when she was accepted into Grand Canyon University.
And then on the first day of instruction, as she sat in a mathematics class, she realized that her heart just wasn’t in it. Instead, her heart was one floor above her in the GCU Recording Studio, where Center for Worship Arts students congregate daily to build songs and relationships.
She changed majors the next day.
“It’s scary changing your life plans,” she said. “Pursuing music was really scary, but I know that God has my back and it’s OK.”
Back in those uncertain days as a high school sophomore, she wrote a song that expresses those very sentiments. It’s called “My Only Truth.”
And look what has happened. Not only was it chosen for Canyon Worship 2018; co-producer Billy Smiley invited her to spend a week in Nashville, Tenn., working on other songs she has written, and she’s scheduled to go back in December and do a full band production of that work.
Her new career choice? Singing and songwriting, of course.
“None of that would have happened if I hadn’t written this song,” she said.
It’s one of those stories that seem to emerge almost routinely from the Worship Arts program. Like other student artists whose songs made the album, Myers, Chris Calderon and Johnny Harris don’t take this for granted. They’re amazed by how they got here and what they’ve experienced. Getting to be part of the album is just a bonus.
As they can scan the path, in both what’s ahead and in their footsteps behind them, they see God’s hand. The confusion is gone.
And there is a plan that we don’t know
But isn’t that what’s beautiful
That we don’t know anything at all
But we can know the One who does
And He knows what is to come
So we don’t have to worry anymore
And this is my only truth
Even as Myers conceived those words, she was troubled by what was ahead.
“I wrote it thinking I wanted to believe what I wrote,” Myers said. “This song sort of followed me.”
So she submitted it for Canyon Worship 2018 consideration.
“Why not? It’s OK to not know what’s going to happen in your life,” she thought.
Myers is focused more on writing pop songs than Christian music. She’d like to pattern herself after Tori Kelly. “She writes pop songs that have hope-centered themes,” Myers said. “I want to be real and honest and spread love to people.”
She still isn’t satisfied with “My Only Truth.” She was surprised when it was chosen – “I didn’t think it was my best work” – but then an unexpected life experience changed her mind.
“I sang that song at church two weeks ago, and this lady came up to me and she said, ‘I just finished my last round of chemo, and those words were exactly what I needed to hear,’” Myers said. “She was crying. I was crying. It was such a special thing.
“When I wrote this song and submitted it I was like, ‘Oh, I should change the lyrics. I don’t love them.’ But I just decided, whatever, I’ll send it in, and I’m really glad because they helped someone, they touched someone.”
Calderon utilized Myers’ songwriting skill to create “Hear Me.”
“I had a melody for the bridge but didn’t have lyrics and then met Logan – she’s a great songwriter, and pretty much immediately we came up with the bridge section of the song,” he said.
But the collaboration extended to his musically talented family. His father, Christian, used to play the saxophone and came up some of the words. Chris crafted some lyrics for his mother, Phyllis, a classically trained violinist who also teaches piano.
“It doesn’t sound like something that would be on a worship album,” he said. “It’s completely different from anything you would hear. It shows that ‘different’ works, even in this context.
“We used nylon string instead of a steel-string guitar. It has a gospel flair to it. It has organ. It’s like a jam, basically. We didn’t record it piece by piece. We all sat in the room together and recorded it live, so there’s that element of keying off each other. It’s cool to have something that’s more musically inspired rather than vertical worship.”
The sophomore happened upon GCU’s Worship Arts program quite by accident. “I had no clue what Worship Arts was. I didn’t know it was a major,” he said.
His church in Chicago doesn’t have a worship ministry. Now, he feels inspired to go back there and start one.
“It’s easy for me to just want to go to a church that has an established ministry, but I definitely hear God calling me to go to that church that I came from, go to the place that needs me,” he said. “God’s given me the heart to do something that I originally didn’t want to do.”
“Still Love Me” is another song that qualifies as stylistically different. It doesn’t fit the “corporate worship” mold but adds to the variety of the album.
“It’s about the idea of surrender and how for me I’ve gone through many seasons of life where I’ve strived to earn God’s love and grace, which makes no sense, of course,” Harris said. “God’s love is God’s love and it’s here for me no matter what.”
It’s his first time on Canyon Worship, and maybe the reason it was chosen was because he started writing it three hours before the midnight deadline. “I work better when I have a deadline and am under pressure. It’s just how I’m wired,” he said.
Like Myers, Harris is from Scottsdale (Horizon High School).
Like Myers, he changed majors after arriving at GCU (he started out in Christian Studies).
And like Myers, he went through a time when he felt a calling toward music but wasn’t sure if that was the right choice.
“I was at a winter camp and was praying, ‘What do I do with my life?’” he said. “I felt that deep conviction from God, ‘You’ve written music all your life and you’re talented at it, so I think it’s pretty obvious what you should do.’”
He made the leap to the Worship Arts program even though he never sang in front of anyone until his senior year in high school. Now he takes weekly voice lessons – another feature of the program – but has found that his passion lies in the words.
“I like writing, not just music. It’s fun to combine those,” he said. “I try to be as creative and honest and vulnerable as possible.”
And, like the others, he lets God take care of the rest.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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