JD Vazquez // Shadow of Whales
“I’m here to talk about an organization that is near and dear to my heart called RYFO. Recently, we were playing in Lawrence, Kansas, and as a couple of small town boys from Texas, we needed a godsend to keep us from sleeping in our van. Thanks to RYFO, we found one. After driving six hundred miles, playing a rock show, trying to connect with and thank every new fan that night, we were exhausted. The last thing we wanted to do was drive another six hundred miles. Because of the incredible people at RYFO, we didn’t have to. We had warm beds to sleep in, breakfast the next morning, and conversation with some of the nicest people we’ve met on the road. Not to mention a fond and safe farewell. The team at RYFO make it possible for bands like us to extend our reach beyond what we thought possible. We are so grateful to be partnered with them and definitely recommend it to musicians alike.”
If Jesus was walking the earth today where do you think He would hang out? Who do you envision He’d be spending His time with? In the Gospels we clearly see His game plan for life and ministry, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17 NIV.)
Jesus spent His time with real people who were dealing with real life challenges. Furthermore He chose to meet people where they were, in the midst of their circumstances, and He spent time with individuals who had social influence. The verse after Jesus invited Levi to follow Him; He’s seen at Levi’s house having a banquet with all of Levi’s friends (Luke 5:27-29).
So if Jesus was walking the earth today where do you think He would hang out? Who do you envision He’d be spending His time with? It stands to reason that one place He’d be is in music venues, spending time with musicians. More than anyone else Jesus would understand the unique challenges artists face. He would offer them hope, encouragement and freedom rather than clamoring for their touch and suffocating them with adoration.
The cultural influence of the music community can not be understated. 6 out of the top 10 profiles on Twitter are musicians, and those artists alone have a following that’s greater than the US population. Despite the level of influence and the rapid secularization of our nation the music community is a mission field that’s often overlooked. The Good News of our day is that Jesus is still walking the earth! His Spirit lives within His followers and we have the opportunity to follow His lead into the places of need around us. You can be A Different Brand of Fan…
All around the country, communities of local musicians are the voices of their city’s music scene. Through their music these artists shape the cultural identity of their city. United in their experiences of being misunderstood, or feeling judged by the church, these local artists congregate in bars and clubs, music venues and concert halls—spaces where they feel welcomed and at home.
In addition to local artists, touring musicians typically spend more time on the road than they do at home. Their communities are their fellow bandmates and the other bands they tour with. When they return from long months on the road, touring musicians find it difficult to assimilate into the norms of life back home. They come back to find that life has gone on without them—often straining even their closest relationships.
In light of this reality, we’ve identified, and committed to focus on, 3 Keys to Transform Life Backstage:
1. Connectedness – The emptiness and isolation musicians often experience creates a need for genuine trustworthy relationships—relationships where they are given the opportunity to stop performing and simply be.
2. Sacrificial Service – The musician community needs servant-hearted individuals to identify and respond to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of artists.
3. The Love of Christ – Musicians who’ve lost their way, or those who are struggling to find it, are in desperate need of hope and truth. They need to be encouraged in the midst of their doubts, and reminded about their true identities.
If you resonate with the importance of these keys we invite you to partner with us by joining the RYFO FAM. For as little as “Five-a-month” you can become a Key Holder in transforming life backstage.
Are you a Key Holder?
[Click Here] to join the FAM
All donations are tax deductible. RYFO is a ministry of CRM (Church Resource Ministries), a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Anaheim, California. CRM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), which provides accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that demonstrate compliance with established standards.
By: Simeon Lohrmann (RYFO Team Leader)
With over 100 bands performing in 32 states in under 2 months, Warped Tour is a MASSIVE undertaking! This summer Warped is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and while the tour is celebrating its 20th year; we’re celebrating our 1st time having a RYFO presence on the tour!
Since the tour kicked off last month in Texas, our volunteers have been spreading the word about our Host Home network, and looking for opportunities to build relationships with the bands on the tour. When it’s all said and done 21 different volunteers will have represented RYFO at select tour dates in 6 different states. With one date remaining for our volunteers in Atlanta next week, we wanted to share about our experience thus far.
A Warm Welcome
Since our first appearance on the tour at the San Antonio date, the bands have been wowed by our desire to care for their needs on the road. Some of the bands went so far as to stop what they were doing to sign up on the spot. Comments like, “This is the best idea I’ve ever heard!” have been repeatedly noted by our volunteers as they share about RYFO. Simply put, RYFO has been warmly welcomed into the Warped Tour Community!
One notable, and somewhat comical comment made by an artist at the Pomona date went something like this…(a phone conversation while walking up to our booth in the catering area) “I’m about to get lunch (brief pause while reading our sign) and apparently I’m about to get a shower!” We proceeded to share with this artist, as we have with most of the musicians on the tour, about the hospitality of our amazing Host Homes all around the country. He was blown away!
In contrast, some of the artists we connected with thought RYFO was simply too good to be true. When Audrey Thompson, RYFO’s Host Home Coordinator was asked, “So what’s the catch?” by one of the more skeptical artists. She responded plainly, “Well actually there is a catch. We’re doing it all for Jesus.” To which the artist responded, “That’s a good catch!”
To add to all the positive receptivity from the Warped bands, RYFO’s acceptance on the tour was fully cemented when Warped Tour’s founder Kevin Lyman took it upon himself to approach our table and personally thank us for serving their artist community.
With such a warm welcome across the board our staff has concluded one thing for sure – This summer won’t be the last time we’re Serving the Voices at Warped Tour!
A big shout out and thank you to our amazing volunteers!
Praying for the Voices
By: Sydney Fontaine
Music is a beacon in the lives of many. It’s a form of communication that is often taken for granted, but rarely tuned out. Music carries us through our workdays, and serves as the back drop for many monumental experiences. Music has intrinsic value which is exemplified through the profound effect it has on our daily lives.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “What’s going on behind the music?” Musicians are on the front lines of our culture, walking in the authority that we’ve given them by lending an ear to their voice. These individuals speak into the hearts and minds of our generation, and we choose to listen because they allow their passions and beliefs and convictions to spill out of them. As believers and a group of people that are passionate about music, we are called to do more than merely listen to the voices of these cultural warriors. We are called to serve these voices.
So how do you serve? I can think of an excellent way that you can begin this very moment, Prayer!
Prayer is our strongest ammunition against the chaos in this world. Our prayers work in ways that we are unable to. Through prayer we are able to ask God for His insight and intervention in the lives of the musicians that we serve. We are able to submit the things that we desperately want to care for into the hands of a God whose heart for the music community is so much bigger than ours.
Show how would you go about praying for musicians? Here are 10 prayers that you can praying…
Pray first and foremost that these artists would encounter the Lord and be drawn to Him. Pray that the love of Christ would be unavoidable to them as they navigate through the struggles that come with life on the road. Pray that they would embrace the roles they’ve stepped into as “culture-shapers” and role models and that their impact would have positive repercussions. Pray for their physical well-being, that they would have everything they stand in need of, and that in God’s provision He reminds them each of His goodness and faithfulness. Pray that they would have the strength to withstand the temptations that they face both at home and on the road. Pray that they would have the courage to say, “no,” when it would be all too easy to say, “yes.” Pray that they would be constantly aware that their integrity has a value that’s not worth trading for temporary pleasures. Pray that they would be able to combat their loneliness and find genuine, loyal friendships that point them to the Lord. Faithful friendships that transcend state lines are difficult to find! Pray for their families back home, that God would comfort them and bring them peace and understanding as their loved one faces battles that they often can’t explain in a phone call. Pray that God would bring wise individuals to speak truth into their lives at every turn, for their encouragement and sustenance.
Ephesians 6:18 says this: “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” We’re called to pray in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s leading, but pray nonetheless! Let’s not miss this call to intercede on behalf of these musicians. We have the opportunity to call upon the God we serve to provide for and shape those that shape our culture. Let’s serve these voices in a way that will never cease to be effective and LET’S START NOW!
By: Rihanna Teixeira
Growing up, we all have big dreams. If you ask a classroom of kindergartners what they want to be when they grow up, you’ll hear answers ranging from astronauts, to doctors, to actors, and teachers. We are born with an internal desire to be and do something great. For me the stage was all I dreamed about.
At the age of six, I discovered my mom’s Amy Grant records (yes, records) and began playing them on repeat. Songs like El Shaddai, Sing Your Praise to the Lord, and Father’s Eyes became my anthem and my family quickly caught on that I had an obsession. Night after night, I would literally spend hours in my room with the music blasting, pretending that I was singing on a large stage, and everyone in the audience was there to see me. Becoming a singer quickly became a focus in my life and at eight years old, my parents finally allowed me to pursue it.
I spent a lot of my time singing and performing at events and in choirs. As I became a teenager, I was a force to be reckoned with. I had no fear in calling and asking random event planners if I could sing at their event. I offered up my talent to anyone who seemed interested. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that I felt like my dreams were finally becoming a reality. I was in Los Angeles for a singing competition and was approached by a man in a shiny suit who claimed that he could make all my dreams come true. My mother and I drove to his office and from there he schmoozed us with a fancy dinner and conversation filled with names of Hollywood big-shots. Before I knew it, I was recording my first demo at Paramount studios; the experience was surreal.
One thing led to another and I found myself on a plane to Atlanta, Georgia to record with a Grammy award-winning producer. This time, I didn’t have my mother, or anyone for that matter, with me. I still remember the fear that overtook me as I stepped off the plane and realized that I would be alone for the next few weeks in a city I knew nothing about. It was during this trip that my voice began to disappear. I remember trying to speak up during the writing sessions if I didn’t like an idea, and I would be quickly shut down. The producer would mock me saying, “I just wrote Mariah’s new album and it’s number one. Do you really think I don’t know what I’m doing?” I ended up recording three songs with him, all of which I hated.
My voice was no longer my own.
Looking back, I realize that what I really needed was support. A ministry like RYFO could have saved me from a lot of anxiety and fear that I was facing alone. I needed someone to process with or just vent to. RYFO’s Host Homes have an amazing opportunity to really speak life back into the areas of musicians lives that may be shut down. I encourage you readers that aren’t part of RYFO’s ministry to consider becoming a host home. In doing so, you could be the one who prevents a musician from losing their voice.
Praying for Musicians
By: Cathy Hill
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul is writing to some people he has never met but longs to know and serve and share God’s gifts with in person. When our pastor preached on this recently I felt my RYFO antennae go up!
In Romans 1:8, Paul gives thanks to God for these people that he keeps hearing about…”people everywhere keep telling me about your lives of faith”…(1:8 The Message). He says that every time he hears about them, he thanks God for them and he constantly prays for them. This is a great model for my RYFO heart.
So how might I implement Paul’s teaching?
Perhaps each time I hear a song, or when someone mentions an artist, I can thank God for giving these people their gifts and talents. If I know they are artists of faith, I can thank Him that they have chosen to use them to extend His kingdom. I can pray for their ministry of the Gospel through the power of music. I can also pray for the non-believer, that God would put people in their path that would point them towards Him. Whether on the radio, on shuffle on my iPod or streaming in the background, I have the opportunity to tell God how much I appreciate how these musicians use their gifts; whether it be to speak Gospel truth into my life, bring awareness to a cause, or simply do something they love to do. Each time I read a Facebook post or a tweet, I can pray for any needs or cares they have shared (travel concerns, family needs, joys, sorrows, life events…).
As I wrote this post, I heard a song by one band whose bass player recently had surgery to remove a tumor from his knee. Another song played by dear band friends whose drummer recently quit, leaving them with a spot to fill before starting a major tour. Yet another tune was from a disbanded group (and my first-ever hosted band!). With each song I have an opportunity to thank God for these artists and pray for their needs, their careers, and their personal lives.
Thank you Father for the gift of music and the many ways it touches my life. Empower those whom You have called to use it to further Your kingdom, and open the eyes of those who don’t yet recognize You as the giver of all gifts and talents. May I be thankful for them and prayerful on their behalf. Amen!
Photo Courtesy of Fire At Will Photography
A Personal Connection
By: Lori George
It’s a rare occasion when one of your all-time favorite musicians reaches out to you and offers you helpful advice. It’s even more of a rare occasion if they share a personal story about their lives that they’ve only shared with their family members and very close friends. So personal in fact, that they never shared it during thousands of interviews with various press all over the world. They entrust you with their story, without your asking, hoping that you will only share it with others who might benefit from it.
That’s exactly what happened to me.
In the not-so-distant past, I found myself in the midst of some very unfortunate circumstances. Absolutely none of my relatives or friends had ever been through what I was attempting to navigate on a daily basis. There were no books, magazines, or websites that served as a “how to.” I humbled myself, and on a whim, I made the decision to open a line of communication with one of my all-time favorite musicians. To my complete and utter disbelief this artist became genuinely interested in my life, and wanted to keep in touch so they could check in on me and offer me some pointers. I gladly exchanged contact info with them and four days later I learned from this artist that when they were my age they too had been navigating the same situations I was navigating. This artist shared with me their personal heartache and their daily fears. One example they shared was how they’d survived living in an old abandoned building. Since sleeping at night wasn’t an option, this person stayed awake throughout the night and read their Bible until day break. Later on those times served as the foundation upon which their catalogues of albums were built.
I never would have imagined this person went through so much. They seemed so incredibly together. Not just their outer appearance, but their overall presence on stage, how they interacted with others, and during interviews on radio, television, and magazines. I never imagined the pain, anger, confusion, depression, anxiety and doubt they’d endured. In light of my experience I’ve found myself reflecting on the interactions between musicians and fans. I wonder what the music community would look like if musicians and fans started interacting on a more personal level. What kind of change would that introduce in their lives?
As a contributing writer for RYFO I’ve begun to realize that my interaction can and should be the norm rather than the exception. I invite you to learn, as I have, about becoming A Different Brand of Fan. With a new perspective and approach on being a music fan, you may end up making a personal connection with one of your favorite musicians.