Catalyst unifies change makers — equipping you with impactful content and experiences that transform thinking, provoke action and cultivate community. We’re challenging leaders who love the Church to break the bounds of an ordinary existence and find the courage to embrace and radiate bold change.
We had SO MANY incredible musicians and artists on the Catalyst 2014 stage this year. Learn more about them here.
Worship leader, Grammy award-winning songwriter, Author, Face Down.
Worship leader, Grammy award-winning songwriter, Author, Face Down.
Matt Redman is married to Beth and they have five children. Based on the south coast of England, they are part of St Peter¹s church, Brighton. Matt has been a full-time worship leader since the age of 20 and this journey has taken all around the world. His latest record, Your Grace Finds Me, was recorded live at LIFT, a worship leader collective hosted by Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA. Matt is also the author of several books, including Mirrorball and Indescribable with Louie Giglio.
Some things in life are built by coincidence, some by hard work, others by a sheer set of circumstances – not exactly random, but not contrived, either – that lead us to a place of pure synchronicity. To art, maybe. Nashville’s LEAGUES (comprising singer Thad Cockrell, guitarist Tyler Burkum and drummer Jeremy Lutito) might not credit one over the other in terms of which could best explain how they, deep into their careers and different paths, were able to drop it all at this very moment to make music they’d never quite played before but never sounded so right. “It had to happen now,” Jeremy says with a seriousness that quickly fades to laughter. “Not a second earlier.” Because if explaining how they got here is a long story, explaining what they make certainly isn’t: simply, songs rooted in joy. Seriousness, that quickly fades to laughter.
LEAGUES is infectious. The ten tracks that make up their forthcoming January debut, You Belong Here, encourage both dancing and introspection, and show a group of men leaving behind any preconceived notions or expectations but never their innate musicianship or love for the craft of songwriting. “I’m not inspired by artists,” says Thad. “As much as I’m inspired by songs.” Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” “Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’” by Michael Jackson. “Songs that stop the room for a quick second,” adds Jeremy. One listen to the swirling, rock-pop anthem “Mind Games,” the electric thump of “Magic” or the locomotive doo-wop of “Spotlight” and it’s clear that LEAGUES’ music does the same. Just try and keep your toes from tapping.
But it wasn’t a straight and simple road. Before the chain of events that united LEAGUES, the members all had careers in their own right – Thad as a critically-lauded singer-songwriter, Tyler as an acclaimed guitarist and songwriter and Jeremy as a self-described “hired gun” drummer. Those pasts certainly aren’t washed away, but any one of them will tell you that they now exist as a band, a cohesive unit. “I don’t want this to be a side project,” Thad says. “LEAGUES is what I am, we are, now.” And at the core is the idea of making music that is built expressly for enjoying with – not just in front of – the audience. “We have a saying,” Thad continues. “Not for me, not for you, but for us.” LEAGUES is a group effort: among Thad, Jeremy and Tyler, but also those listening and humming along.
Sure, the way that the members of LEAGUES came together could be recounted in a chain of events that shows a recurring pattern of eerie coincidences: while on the road backing Mat Kearney, Tyler and Jeremy discussed how they’d like to start something creative together one day, not exactly knowing with whom and when. And when Thad was speaking to his friend, LEAGUES founding member Mike Simmons, about ideas for musicians to work with on a new sound he was toying with, Mike suggested he consider Tyler. A veritable Venn diagram of overlapping musicians.
One afternoon Thad and Jeremy ran into each other at an East Nashville restaurant, where they exchanged numbers. “I knew he was a quirky guy,” Jeremy recounts of the moment when Thad switched from pleasantries to a deadpan seriousness when asking if they could talk on the phone later. “I went home thinking maybe he wants me to play on his next record. But he called that night and said, ‘I met this guy, you don’t know him, but we were talking about starting a band, and are you interested?’ That guy was Tyler Burkum…and I just started to laugh.”
Not to mention that part of the story had been conceived long ago when Thad saw Jeremy playing drums at a local show in 2005. “I remember thinking, if I am ever in a band, that’s my guy.” Back then, Thad was firmly on his way in his solo career, immersed in the Nashville songwriting scene and crafting acoustic-based, slow-burning roots music. And he continued that way until a few years ago, when suddenly “songs started to come that weren’t singer-songwriter appropriate. I tried to play them alone, but it was like a big gorilla playing a toy drumset.”
So Thad, Tyler, Jeremy and Mike came together every six weeks or so, to play music and experiment. “It didn’t sound like four guys jamming,” Thad says. “It sounded like something trying to emerge.” Jeremy agrees. “We are still trying to chase what happened that first time we got together, which is something that makes all of us start laughing. A deep joy, really.”
Of course no amount of joy or musical synchronicity can trump reality, and the band members were vastly aware of the daily struggles of balancing home life with their aspirations – or just the dollars and cents of making things work. “We aren’t 22 anymore,” Jeremy says. They had families, children, responsibilities. But they wanted to chase this sound, no matter what. That meant booking studio time, often without the funds to pay for it, and being lifted up by friends and supporters who believed in their music. The sessions culminated in an EP of three crescendoing rock-pop songs so irresistibly listenable that the band had no choice but to keep going.
And to say that they dove into this concept head-first would be an understatement. Thad had scheduled a gig opening for Zach Williams & the Reformation in September of 2010 at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, and brought Jeremy, Tyler and Mike along to play with him as a backing band. Halfway through the set, he made an announcement to the crowd that from here on out – including the rest of that very show – he would be performing with and only as LEAGUES. Thad Cockrell, the solo artist, was all but gone. It’s quite a gamble to take, in the middle of a performance, on one of the most recognized stages in Manhattan. The band hadn’t been together very long, and this would be their first show. “But the entire mood changed,” Jeremy says. The crowd danced to songs they’d never heard before, from a group they didn’t know existed. Afterwards, the men erupted into what would become a pattern of post-show behavior: sheer laughter.
LEAGUES certainly were laughing when they stepped on to the Ryman Auditorium stage for only their tenth show together– the Fray had seen them play recently in Nashville, and asked the band to be their opening act at the legendary venue. Several dates doing the same for Mat Kearny lead LEAGUES to “become a band in front of a thousand people,” but also put pressure on Mike Simons, who chose to ultimately quit and focus on his family. He’ll always be an essential part of the LEAGUES story, but as Thad puts is, “the fourth member of the band is the pleasure of the audience,” now.
That idea is crucial to understanding LEAGUES. This isn’t music played in a vacuum, solely for the benefit of the artist and their insular creative vision. Every moment, note and lyric is made to be enjoyed with each person who comes to a show or hears a song. Instead of letting the hardships of long careers in the music industry wear on them or breed cynicism, LEAGUES have started fresh, un-jaded. They recorded and co-produced with Paul Moak (The Weeks, Matthew Mayfield) their debut over twelve days in Nashville, with the aid of Vance Powell (mixing/engineering) and Chris Athens (mastering), who have worked collectively with everyone from Jack White to Rihanna to Coldplay.
“In order to truly create something new you have to do something you don’t know how to do,” says Thad. What LEAGUES creates is ethereal, joyful music that explodes the senses and challenges the mind. Thad may be right – we all have to take risks – but it’s hard to believe that making a sound this true wasn’t something he, Jeremy and Tyler were simply born with the ability to do.
Though, maybe, it’s just about the laughter.
Comedian, Actor, Director, Half of Tripp and Tyler
Comedian, Actor, Director, Half of Tripp and Tyler
Tripp Crosby is most widely known as the taller half of Tripp and Tyler, a world famous YouTube sketch comedy duo with over 40 million views. Their work has been featured on the Today Show, CNN Headline News, and multiple times on the homepage of YouTube.
Tripp is also a film director and was recently selected as part of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Director Showcase at the Cannes International Film Festival. He is also the founder of Green Tricycle Studios, in Atlanta, GA, an award-winning commercial, music video, and branded entertainment production company. Their work has been seen on multiple television networks and by millions on the world wide web.
When he's not producing new sketches with Tyler or leading his team at Green Tricycle, Tripp can be seen performing at comedy clubs and corporate events around the globe.
Tripp and Tyler are a sketch comedy duo most known for their hilarious and viral YouTube videos.
They started creating original material in 2006, and since have amassed over 40 MILLION YouTube views and over 130,000 subscribers. Each year they host live events for
thousands of people where they perform original sketches, interact with the audience, and interview notable personalities. They also perform their own live variety show in Atlanta.
Nine-year-old Adrian Romoff lives in Peachtree City, Georgia and was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He discovered the piano at age four and taught himself to play under the careful eye of his mother, Olga. He gave his first concert at age five and has since played countless public concerts and recitals. In December 2011, Adrian won first prize in an International Talent Competition at Carnegie Hall, which led to a guest appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Adrian returned to Carnegie Hall twice more and recently performed at the ClaviCologne International Piano Festival in Germany. He won the C. Merrell Calhoun Prodigy Award and recently gained acceptance into The Juilliard School. Adrian's passions are not limited to piano. He knows three languages and enjoys reading, listening to classical music and spending time with his family and friends. His idols include Albert Einstein and Russian-American pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Adrian is going into 10th grade.
Be the Message Church-Wide Challenge Kit, Kerry & Chris Shook
Kerry and Chris Shook were so weary of sermons and words in their own lives that they decided to do something about it. Be the Message is their story of taking one step after another to live out God’s gospel in the world. Take your church on a five-week journey to do the same. Catalyst attendees will receive 20% off their order of the Be the Message Church-Wide Challenge Kit.
To take advantage of this offer, order online at BeTheMessage.org or contact 866-977-6685. Enter promo code CATALYST at checkout.
Save up to 60% at major retailers on eBooks by Catalyst speakers including Craig Groeschel, Christine Caine, Mark Batterson, and more! Part of Zondervan's Reading Group Month eBook Deals. Shop Now: http://bit.ly/z-catalyst14
The Voice of the Martyrs: FREE Book
The Voice of the Martyrs serves persecuted Christians through practical and spiritual assistance. Go to our website www.persecution.com to receive a FREE copy of the book Tortured for Christ. Read the shocking true story of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand who was imprisoned for his faith for 14 years.
Undeterred: Raising kids who are strong in the Word
OneHope, who has reached over a billion children with the Gospel, is inviting bloggers to share their insight on a new blog, Undeterred! Visit www.onehope.net/undeterred and leave a comment about a post or share the blog with your friends on social media using @OneHope and #OneHopeAsks for a chance to win an IPAD mini!
So thankful for our friends and sponsors at Medi-Share who not only are providing a positive alternative to health insurance, but are also providing prayer support and encouragement to those who are going through health difficulties. What a great way to come together as the Body of Christ in real & practical ways! Find out more about this ministry here: http://www.Medi-Share.org/Catalyst Menti.on CATALYST when applying and the $50 application fee will be waived.
LoopCommunity.com: Loops and MultiTracks for Worship
Loop Community is the largest collection of loops and multitracks for worship leaders. If you create your own tracks, upload and share them with the community. Our free app, Prime, can be used to playback multitracks in your live performance. Looptimus is a USB Foot Controller for controlling multitracks. Use Promo Code CATALYST14 to get a free loop track download! Expires 01/2015.
Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University is the nation’s largest private, nonprofit online university with over 95,000 students. Offering more than 250 degrees from the certificate to the doctoral level, Liberty Online is training students as Champions for Christ through the flexibility of a quality online education. Find out more by visiting www.liberty.edu/catalyst2014 and receive a 15% tuition discount.
$500 Scholarship to Knox Theological Seminary
Are you looking for a Christ-centered, gospel-driven, and mission-focused seminary? Knox Seminary is offering Catalyst attendees a special $500 scholarship that may be used during your first year of biblical and theological studies. Inquire for more information today! You may also enjoy a FREE six-month subscription to Christianity Today Magazine here, compliments of Knox.
You want to CHANGE THE WORLD and we want you to look good while doing it. Visit www.feedone.com/catalyst to sign up for program updates and receive a FREE T-SHIRT. Offer ends October 15th so act fast!
Christian Healthcare Ministries
Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM) is an affordable, faith-based solution to the problems of rising health care costs and expensive health insurance policies. CHM is also an eligible option under the U.S. Affordable Care Act (ACA). To learn more, visit http://www.chministries.org. Join CHM during Catalyst and your first month is FREE (up to a $450 value)!
Fowler Inc :: $500 off On-site Design & Consultation Services
Your space is unique. It shapes the way you worship and the way you communicate with your people. Fowler Inc. will help your ministry by tailoring a system specifically for your space. Visit fowlerinc.com for more information about how we can help you reach people more effectively.
Considering an MDiv, MBA or MSL?
Grand Canyon University offers the advanced degrees needed to lead today’s ministries, churches and companies. Ask us about free and quick transcript evaluations. Learn how affordably and quickly you can complete a program. Visit www.gcu.edu/catalyst for more information.