Tony Cummings reports on the American songsmith new to the Cross Rhythms playlist, DAVID GLENN
Listeners to Cross Rhythms' modern worship programme Verticality will soon be enjoying a couple of songs from the 'Relentless' album by Virginia Beach-based singer/songwriter David Glenn. 'Relentless' has proven to be a successful album for David, climbing to number 23 on the iTunes Top 200 Christian & Gospel Albums chart. Although originally released to digital outlets by Glenn's own Evident Music label, an early buzz led to a national distribution deal with Nashville-based Elevate Entertainment. The album was produced by Scotty Wilbanks (Third Day, NewSong) and was recorded at Rockporium in Canton, Georgia, with an all-star list of musicians that included Alex Nifong (Laura Story, Backstreet Boys) and Jason Hoard (Third Day, Natalie Grant) on guitars, Christian Paschall (Unhindered) on drums, Heath Balltzglier (Fee) on bass, Matt Butler (NewSong, TobyMac) on cello and David Davidson (Tim McGraw, Casting Crowns) on strings.
Said David, "I was purposeful in writing melodies that are easy for
the Church to grab on to
without anything that could create confusion musically. I also wanted the record to have different dynamics so there are moments within each song for the worshipper to connect with God, rather than always going 100 miles an hour. I really wanted to write for the Church to be able to worship, but also produce in a way that's musically interesting for Christian radio audience as well. People sing worship songs at church and they also sing the same songs as they listen to the radio, so I really try to appeal to those audiences. As I look out into the congregation at my church and in the places I travel, I see everyone from teenagers through senior adults and everyone in between. . ."
Coming from a Christian family that surrounded themselves with music, David found a love for music at a young age. In high school David joined a secular band and travelled extensively on the college circuit. After leaving for college, David realised his motives for music were all wrong. "After a few years of doing it my way, God revealed to me that He had given me a gift and that it should be used to glorify his name, not mine." After moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1997, he developed a grassroots following and became a local favourite. Glenn had the opportunity to travel throughout the country and abroad to lead worship at many concerts, conferences, and mission trips. By 2002 David had begun his recording career with the three-track EP 'Stand Up', about which Cross Rhythms described as "good solid stuff." Two years later Glenn released the full length album 'Not About Me' which Cross Rhythms described as having "hints of pop, country and blues" and then went on to call it "an original and outstanding piece of work."
In 2006 David released the 'Turn To You' EP, two years later a live project 'For You' and in 2009 a Christmas EP 'Away In A Manger'. But it wasn't until 2012 that the singer/songwriter began to raise funds through his supporters via Kickstarter that an album consummate with his songwriting skills began to take shape. The crowd funding mechanism raised more than $14,000 in a mere 30 days to handle the bulk of initial expenses, while also giving David a spiritually-centred confidence that he was truly on the right track. He enthused, "My wife Destinee and I were blown away. It didn't pay for the whole album, but it really took the pressure off and was especially exciting when the CDs came in and we had a team come in to help package them up. I sent a thank you letter to everyone for going on this journey with me and it was rewarding to know people really believed in me as an artist."
One of the outstanding tracks on the album about to be heard on Cross Rhythms radio is "We Are One". Inspired by Ephesians 4, the song is a battlecry for unity. Said David, "Unity in the body of Christ is really a theme that runs through the whole record. When we gather corporately, that's our opportunity to join our voices together as one, which is my sole goal on this CD and on stage. I don't just want to get up and play songs, but to really speak truth into people's lives, allow them to be a part of it and make it their own."
Glenn moved to Virginia Beach in 2012 where he is on staff at River Oak Church. And while leading worship is his primary passion, the singer/songwriter has been performing praise concerts all across America and abroad, including an opening slot on NewSong's annual Christmas tour. David spoke about the changing role of the worship pastor: "Long gone are days of worship pastor standing up and just leading people. You've got worship pastors who are artists, and instead of just singing other people's songs, they have a lot more invested and write their own songs from a fresh perspective that they lead themselves. It's just really cool to be at a church where I can do that as a worship leader, and as that extends into being a recording artist, I hope these songs can be a resource to everyone I encounter to simply continue worshiping even long after I'm gone."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.