Press Play: Best New Artist of 2010

Christian Music Makers has decided that the best new artist of 2010 is…Press Play. Have you heard of them? Imagine if Akon, Lionel Richie, Fergie, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Justin Timberlake were all combined into a Christian music supergroup, singing about God AND making you dance– that is Press Play.

Press Play’s new sophomore album, NY2LA, is entirely listenable throughout– an eclectic compilation of 12 dance, pop, R&B and rock songs. Couple that with a music video and a national tour, and Press Play is going to get noticed this year. What’s even more impressive is this: proceeds from album sales benefit the Los Angeles’ Dream Center and its philanthropic causes nationwide.

Brought together by Matthew Barnett, acclaimed as one of the most dynamic voices in today’s culture as founder of The Los Angeles Dream Center, Press Play was developed with a new and exciting vision for music: to change lives with a positive and relevant voice.

Press Play’s current radio single, “NY2LA,” was co-produced by Grammy Award winner Brian Kennedy and mixed by Bob Horn (Ne-Yo, Akon, Timbaland) and Sean Tallman (Rihanna, The Game, Ne-Yo). The single is a national danceable hit song with a contemporary rock and pop feel. It sounds just like Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” With a cameo from the star of Everybody Hates Chris, Tyler James Williams, “NY2LA” is a powerful call to all, literally from NY to LA, to get involved in making a difference in someone’s life and be a positive change in their communities.

On the NY2LA album, Press Play’s six unique and talented members inspire listeners with their deep and meaningful words in an upbeat and dance-oriented manner. Several of the standout hit tracks include “Love Somebody,” an 80‘s tribute song and “Getcha Hands Up” co-produced by Theron Feemster  (Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx).  Featured on the new release and the “NY2LA” music video are fans shown performing the signature “NY2LA” dance in diverse cities and settings across the country. Hundreds of dance groups sent in their creative renditions of the “NY2LA Dance” with rivaling dance challenges from city to city, resulting in a brilliantly entertaining combination, which can be found both on the album and at this link:

Kicking off its nationwide, 100 city concert tour this past July 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Press Play will also play benefit concerts across the U.S. throughout 2010, with record sales and all donations going toward the Dream Center’s philanthropic charities and Holt International’s adoption outreaches worldwide.

The Los Angeles Dream Center, where the group is based, serves more than 40,000 people each week in the L.A. area alone, through its feeding programs and outreach to the poor and needy and in 180 + locations across the U.S.

Today, the original Dream Center, located in the heart of poverty and hopelessness in central L.A., has over 700 people in its various in-house programs. Additionally, every week thousands more receive food and other services to meet their spiritual and physical needs. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, The Dream Center provides solutions to many the culture’s troubling issues, such as human trafficking, abandoned teens, gangs, homeless families, drugs and violence.

Currently Press Play can be seen each Thursday where they perform at the historic Angelus Temple in Los Angeles. Entertaining in an auditorium equipped with line-array speakers, 52-foot panoramic screen, LED stage panels, and a high-tech sound system, Press Play performs for thousands of individuals each week from all walks of life. Captivating fans with heartfelt songs, Press Play continues to reinvent themselves, serving as a model for culturally relevant musicians worldwide.

With a striking image and youthful energy, Press Play will literally take its music and message out of The Dream Center and across the country, from New York to L.A, throughout this  fall, winter and into 2011. The band is scheduled to play in major arenas and churches across the country, to audiences of 2,000 – 16,000.

“There’s a lot of space in-between the two coasts and we want to play as many cities as humanly possible,” Press Play’s founder and lead singer Dave Hanley says.

In addition to the band’s lead singer, musical director, founder and producer Dave Hanley, Press Play consists of co-lead singer Sada K, Chad Denney on drums, Jon Alexander on bass guitar, Joel Bodker on keyboards & vocals and Tyler Logan on guitar.

While NY2LA is Press Play’s “sophomore release,” the band has been recording music for more than 10 years, with 9 CDs under its belt, recorded throughout many years at The Dream Center’s church services.

In 2008, Universal Records A&R Executive Rhoda Lawrence saw Press Play on YouTube and signed them immediately. Press Play saw this new partnership with Universal Records as an amazing opportunity to help raise funding for The Dream Center.

Upon the band’s debut release through its new partnership with Universal Records, Press Play enjoyed a ride to the top when its record, Life Is Beautiful, shot to #2 on Billboard’s Christian chart and went to #45 on the Billboard Top 200 mainstream chart. Press Play was suddenly in the national spotlight performing on NBC’s TODAY Show, meeting with ABC, appearing on FOX News and with features in national newspapers, magazines and on numerous national TV outlets.

Los Angeles Dream Center

The Los Angeles Dream Center is and always will be Press Play’s “home.”

The numbers and statistics surrounding The Dream Center are mind-boggling and even when touring the place in person, its hard to believable that the work actually carries at such a magnitude on a daily basis. Situated on 9 acres (the former Queen of Angels Hospital), The Los Angeles Dream Center is like a church on steroids. Matthew Barnett actually calls it the “church that never sleeps,” open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Not only are they literally “open,” 24/7 but they are doing the things that a church exists to do, not just talking about it.

Aside from the fact that the actual Sunday morning and Thursday evening services are attended by plenty of well-known Hollywood-type personalities (including Patricia Heaton, Sinbad, Kathie Lee Gifford, E! News host Jason Kennedy, Tyler Williams, Elijah Kelley and others), their presence is nearly paled in comparison to the Monday – Saturday work going on long after the “church” services have ended.  The Dream Center has over 200 programs including homeless outreach, drug & alcohol recovery homes, teen programs, GED training, gang recovery, adopt-a-block and an endless list of others. Quite simply, The Dream Center’s main goal is to “get people off of the street, give them something to eat to begin, train them and get them back to being a productive part of society.”

Today, 180 Dream Centers dot the map across the country, with additional centers opening on a regular basis. In addition to all that they are currently doing across the nation, Matthew Barnett has an even new vision to raise money for the Dream Center’s latest endeavor of creating “Emancipation Homes.”

“Emancipation Homes” is a transitional housing program for 18-year-olds who “age out” of the foster care system and suddenly find themselves having to quickly learn how to make money in order to live. The Dream Center has found that many of these 18-year-olds are ill equipped to function in society and turn to the streets, drugs, gangs and prostitution for their survival. Through Matthew Barnett and Press Play’s musical ambition, the “Emancipation Homes” will work to give new adults skills and training needed to obtain and hold a job as well as prepare them for their GED, if necessary. The Dream Center’s research has shown that there is a high statistical percentage of people who land in prison after aging-out of the foster care system after being left with few options and with nowhere to go.

It is incredible to imagine that many years ago, music producer Rodney Jerkins’ donation of some speakers, microphones and a sound board would have propelled a little known band called Press Play to take its message and its music out of the church to change and inspire lives around the world.

Here’s a breakdown of the songs on Press Play’s “NY2LA” CD:

NY2LA – A national phenomenon danceable hit song produced by Brian Kennedy, producer of Outcast, Rhianna and many more. This song is a call to everyone, from NY to LA, to get involved in making a difference in someone’s life and being a positive change to their community. It shows that the only true answer for our world’s challenges is God, the only true love. (Special guest appearance by Tyler James Williams)

Getcha Hands Up – A hard hitting song produced by Theron Feemster, acclaimed producer for Rhianna and many others. This song is a call to live free through God and let the chains fall off by getting your hands in the air and partying like you are free.

Let’s Dance – A club dance groovin’ song encouraging you to dance and dream as much as your heart can because you are free! Co-written by Group 1 Crew’s, Manwell Reyes, this song will put you on your feet.

Let’s Go – This song, as well as all on the NY2LA project, was mixed by two of the best guys in the industry. From Ludacris, Neyo, Chris Brown, Rhianna and many more, this song brings it unlike any other. Also, with an appearance by Tyler James Williams, “Let’s Go” rocks the house with a call to go and change your world.

L.O.V.E. Now – A multicultural song asking and telling the world to LOVE and how this word is the universal word of unity and change. Clearly, it’s the love of God that is our only hope and bond.

Holiday – This perfect-for-AC Radio hit will make you immediately smile as if you are on a holiday. As the only complete solo song by David Hanley, “Holiday” is sure to please. A perfect Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz like tune.

I Love You So – This is the song that will encourage you to take out your cell phone and wave it in the air, as the classic R&B hit of the project. Once again another beauty, produced and mixed by top producers to create a masterpiece! It says “I… I… You… You… Me… Me… We are walking side by side,” and so on.

My Everything – This great AC style song sung by keyboardist, Joel Bodker is a pleasant change of sound and melodies. It states one thing, that God is our everything.

Love Somebody (80’s Tribute) – This song intentionally takes you back to the days of Duran Duran, yes the 80’s! YouÕll love this dancing and kicking tune that once again lays the theme of this project clearly. Let the love of Christ be the fix-all to everything in life.

My Destiny – Another soulful tune produced by Theron Feemster and featuring Press Play’s other soloist Sada K. This song proclaims that your destiny can be reached and you can find it only in God.

Shake the Rooftop – This a rocking guitar driven song calling everyone to their feet and to shake the rooftops with dance and song.

Forever– “Forever” is the power ballad, worship song of the album. Sung by David Hanley and Joel Bodker, this song is the perfect follow up to “Angels Sing.” Simply saying that “Forever Forever, I Will Always Love You.”


Published by

Mark Weber

Mark Weber publishes the MarkWeberMusicBlog.

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