Tony Cummings spoke to JT Murrell about the Christian music charting group SWITCH which has even caused trade magazine Billboard confusion
In the world of Christian music, the chart which best indicates which artists are enjoying big streams, download sales and radio play, plus those acts well on the way to getting there, is Billboard magazine's Hot Christian Songs chart. That chart for 2nd March showed a top five surely familiar to most Cross Rhythms listeners - number one Lauren Daigle, two Avril Lavigne, three Hillsong Worship, four For King & Country and five Casting Crowns. But it was a new entry by a new act which would have puzzled some industry observers. For there, at number 31, was "Symphony" by Switch.
What made the listing on the chart so confusing was that the accompanying photo showed four black guys with giant afros. No doubt by now some trainee journalist has been pulled over the coals for allocating an old photo of an Ohio-based funk band called Switch (who in the '70s and '80s clocked up a series of pop and R&B hits) with the new Christian music Switch emanating from Oklahoma's multi-site Life.Church. The Christian music Switch's 'Symphony' EP has already received considerable Cross Rhythms radio play, with the title track and the equally radio-friendly "Lifeline" both connecting with CR listeners.
The Cross Rhythms reviewer loved the EP, expounding how it featured "different guest singers or rappers, one of whom Dillion Chase (six albums) is well known and does a great job on the mid-tempo closing title track. Switch specialise in hugely catchy pop clearly targeted at the young and executed skilfully by some clever producers/programmers. Two standouts are the EDM-styled 'Heartbeat' and the decidedly funky 'Higher And Higher'."
I spoke to JT Murrell, one of the producers of 'Symphony', to try and get to the bottom of what is still something of an enigmatic entity.
Tony: How would you describe Switch?
JT Murrell: "We are a collective of worship leaders from Life.Church in the United States. Craig Groeschel is our pastor. We're passionate about creating pop-sounding songs that encourage listeners in a relationship with Christ."
Tony: Where does the name Switch come from?
JT: "Switch stems from our student ministry here at Life.Church. Students and young adults begin to grapple with their identity and their faith as they struggle with things like God's plan, chaos, pain, and at some point they have to switch to their own faith."
Tony: I see four guys in this picture. Are there four main musicians in Switch?
JT: "That's right. You're probably looking at Cassidy Estevez, Rob Estevez, Ashton Wellman and Luke Guevera."
Tony: What do your initials stand for?
JT: "JT stands for Jonathan Thurman."
Tony: Do you sing or play instruments?
JT: "Both. I produce and oversee all the production of everything that happens at Life.Church. I'll be behind the scenes helping things come along production-wise."