Unless you listen to contemporary Christian music (CCM) stations like J93.3 (WVFJ-FM) or 104.7 The Fish (WFSH-FM), you probably haven't heard of Aaron Shust. But the 30-year-old singer/songwriter is one of the most successful new artists from Atlanta this year. His single, "My Savior My God," spent nine weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Christian songs chart, making it one of the biggest records of the year. "I was just hoping that people didn't hate it when I recorded it," Shust says.
Meanwhile, his debut album, 2005's Anything Worth Saying, has sold more than 90,000 copies independently to date, according to Mike McQuary, CEO of Brash Music. It's relatively unusual for a secular label like Brash Music (an imprint best known for artists such as Anthony David and Taylor Hollingsworth) to work with a Christian artist. McQuary acknowledges the experience is "new and different." "We've never been genre-specific about our approach. We're all about finding the best possible artists," he says.
Shust, who also leads worship at Perimeter Church in Duluth, says he's never worked with a CCM label, so he doesn't know how it would be different. "I do know that these guys at Brash Music are great people. I believe they know the business, they're good at what they do and they believed in my music." He admits, however, that the Christian music world tends to be segregated from the pop-music world. "What I do receive is a mysterious allure from people who say, 'Oh wow, you're with a non-Christian label. That's pretty cool.'"
"My Savior My God" is a pop-rock number that begins softly, with Shust strumming an acoustic guitar. It then breaks into loud, open chords for the chorus, as he testifies rapturously, "My savior loves/My savior lives/My savior's always there for me/My God he was/my God he is/My God he's always gonna be."
When asked if non-Christian listeners would enjoy his music, Shust says, "It is definitely, unabashedly and primarily for those people who believe that there is a God who is in charge, and who is a personal God and actually hears our cries and calls and converses with us, so to speak, and who cares about us." But he adds that his search for truth and meaning in life, albeit in a religious context, is a universal theme that anyone can relate to.
"Hopefully as musicians and artists we can create art that applies to everybody," Shust says.
RANDOM NEWS: The editors behind local soul music magazine World Famous recently announced that it secured distribution in several major cities across the United States ... Young Jeezy and Jermaine Dupri were among the winners at the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards, which were held Fri., Sept. 8 at Atlanta Live. ... Thanks to the imaginative, Rorschach-inspired clip for "Crazy," Gnarls Barkley was one of only two artists to pick up two trophies at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. ... Athens hip-hop group Elemen.O.P (aka Element of Progression) has called it quits. The ensemble performed its last show on Sat., Sept. 9, at the 40 Watt Club. ... Snowden was recently featured on www.thefader.com. Unfortunately, when singer Jordan Jeffares gave props to several Atlanta bands, including Deerhunter, the Selmanaires and Sovus Radio, the writer who transcribed the interview misspelled their names. FYI, Young Jeezy happens to be on the cover of the print edition of The Fader. ... Bone Crusher, one of the only people on VH-1's reality series "Celebrity Fit Club 4" who actually appears to be sane, recently told www.allhiphop.com that he formed a new rock group called the Onslaught.
CD RELEASES: Metal band Locust Grove celebrates The Hour at Hand with a Fri., Sept. 15, show at Swayze's Venue. Palace of the Fallen, Blood Promise, End of Days and Left Hook are also on the bill. ... Pop-rock band Ocean Street promotes its self-titled CD with a Sat., Sept. 16 gig at Andrews Upstairs.
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
Yes, 14 is the correct answer. I'll pass your info along to the group's manager,…