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official band biography - Adoration: The Worship Album era (2003):


Newsboys 2003
Peter Furler doesn't come across as an impatient man. By every measure, Newsboys' lead singer/songwriter is kind-hearted, soft-spoken, in love with life. But once he starts talking about the Glory to come, a certain edge creeps into his voice and a bright fire flickers in his eyes. "I think about heaven all the time," says Peter. "I'm looking forward to the Kingdom. That's all I do."

Maybe so, but somehow, simultaneously, he and his band mates have engineered one of the most high-profile careers in Contemporary Christian Music. A steady string of hit albums and singles over the years, not to mention a reputation as amazing live performers, catapulted Newsboys to the top. Yet anyone familiar with the band understands the purity of faith that underlies their music. It's all about that relationship with Jesus Christ.

That's why Newsboys' latest Sparrow Records album, ADORATION: THE WORSHIP ALBUM, looms so large in their body of work. A straight-up worship album - the first in their celebrated career - Adoration was a true labor of love for the band. "It takes humility to worship," notes Peter, who sees the current crop of worship albums as "a movement of the spirit. You have to know what it is to worship to write a worship song. People who don't know think it's three chords and plain lyrics, but those could be the three chords that change your life."

The album was recorded at the band's own Franklin, TN, studio: a restored Victorian house built in the early 1900's, and the place where much of their last hit album Thrive was cut. Once again, Newsboys teamed with unofficial "sixth member," co-producer Steve Taylor. But before the "record" button ever got pushed, the members of Newsboys first had to decide what kind of album they needed to make.

It all started with their hit single "It Is You", which held the #1 position on Christian radio for 12 consecutive weeks. Remembers Peter, "I was asked to write that for someone else, but when I showed it to my wife, she said, 'If you give that song away I'll kill you!'" The song's success got the band thinking the time was right to create an album's-worth of worship songs. Peter then remembered "He Reigns," a song he'd actually written a few years earlier. "It hadn't been finished melodically and lyrically," he recalls, "but it became a cornerstone for the new album."

From there, the band followed its normal, if unconventional, pattern of song craft. "Everyone has a studio at home," notes Peter. "We don't so much jam together as pass discs around. I'll pass mine on to Jeff, I'll put his on: we rehearse virtually. Then when we've all had our say, we go into the studio, and often end up keeping a lot of what we recorded at home."

The results are a stunning collection of worship songs that will surely stand the test of time. Adoration kicks off with "He Reigns," an inclusive vision of a one world under God. Says Peter, "God's grace and mercy does reach to the far ends of the Earth and to the highest heavens. We wanted to keep the song real, with the sound of a little country church in the choir. It was thrilling to go in with the nine-voice chorale."

Another stand-out is "In Christ Alone," a stirring, richly melodic anthem reminiscent of an Anglican hymn. "Praises (Take My Hands)" offers a poetic take on the flesh as an instrument of praise. "One of the key lines is, 'To live the difference,'" notes Peter. "What that means to me is that if we want people to change, we have to love them as unto the Lord. You have to humble yourself, be a new creation and work out what this salvation is."

The achingly beautiful "Hallelujah" was inspired by Mark Buchanan's powerful book Things Unseen, which urges Christians to "fixate" on the promise of Heaven. Notes Peter, "I have an appetite for eternity; and now I'm at a place where I'm ready to go. I have no fear of death." The album's title track "Adoration," with its angelic children's choir, is reminiscent of a Christmas carol. "The song is about the birth of Christ," says Peter. "But then, the album goes through different stages of worship. We're saying, God can't promise life is going to be great, just that it ends great."

Other songs, like the live version of "It Is You" and "Lord (I Don't Know)" stretch the contours of the worship song as it's been sung in churches across the country and around the world. "This album is for the Church," notes Peter. "When we lift up the name of Christ, He will draw them in unto Him. There is a lot of power in that."

That's a lesson that has never been lost on the members of Newsboys. From humble beginnings in the church basements and pubs of Australia, to sold-out arenas, Newsboys have rocked the world from day one. After three successful underground albums in the late 80's the band reinvented itself in 1992. Under Steve Taylor's guidance, Newsboys exploded in popularity with Not Ashamed following that success with their first Gold album, 1994's Going Public (featuring their first number one hit "Shine"). In 1996, the band struck Gold again with the album Take Me To Your Leader.

Peter Furler produced the next album, Step Up To The Microphone, the band's third straight Gold album. They closed out the 90's with a series of successful arena tours, an experimental album (Love Liberty Disco) and a hit 'best-of' compilation, Shine: The Hits. Last year's studio album Thrive explored ever more exciting pathways of sound and faith. All told, Newsboys scored twenty-one #1 radio hits and sold over 3 million albums.

In addition, Newsboys have a sterling reputation in concert. The band moved from sold-out arenas on their Step Up To The Microphone Tour, to their own portable inflatable air-dome on their Love Liberty Disco Tour in 2000. The next year they took the concept even further with their most successful tour yet, Festival Con Dios. Newsboys took dozens of new and established bands out on the road with them, garnering major press attention from outlets as diverse as Newsweek, USA Today, Teen People, ESPN2, Guitar Player, Motocross Journal and Entertainment Weekly. Festival Con Dios would eventually be declared the biggest tour of the year in the industry, and last year's edition topped what came before.

After nearly 15 years together, the Nashville-based members of Newsboys feel they have nothing else to prove. "There's massive peace in that," says Peter. "You play your music, you put on the best show you can, and everyone's grounded in faith, that makes for a lot of unity. We've learned to respect each other's talent, and learned to love each other. There's no ego here: we have families, we're all connected with local church groups, we enjoy every show, and we're happy to be making music."

As for the Newsboys' mission, that hasn't changed. "We came here to make the best music, and, as Christians, to seek first the Kingdom," says Peter. "There is much power in this kind of music. It's the most powerful music in the world."

The songs on Adoration: The Worship Album easily bear him out.

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Copyright Sparrow Records and Newsboys.



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