By Quoleshna Elbert
Mark your calendar between October 3rd-11th. Brooke Annibale, Garrett Heath, Hiram Ring and Joy Ike make up the roster of “4 On Tour,” a team of individual artists whose styles range from a mix of folk, acoustic, neo-soul and blues (among other genres). And, they have come together to offer a unique event on nine special occasions along the east coast. Joy Ike, the orchestrator of this unique co-op gave Wrecked for the Ordinary some insight on how it all began, what drives it and where it may go.
Joy and Brooke were the first to meet; they’ve performed together in their current residence of Pennsylvania. Joy met Hiram while at a gig in Washington, DC. And, Garrett added Joy’s Myspace page to his friends list. She then listened to his music and was attracted to the message behind the melodies.
His message embodied the desire of these very different artists to create music that shares the message of Christ in a way that people can receive it.
Joy explains it simply by the fact that they are a group of artists who are “making good music in a mainstream culture that doesn’t believe Christians can make good music.”
I think these days, Christians are trying to figure out ways to compartmentalize their faith. But I believe that if you believe in something, that thing will affect every part of your life. It will inform your decisions, your relationships, and your art form. This is the heart of 4 on Tour. Each of us has been making music for several years; but writing songs for the sake of writing songs gets old…[because] everyone else is already doing that.
It’s exciting for me to travel with artists who have a message behind their music… songs that talk about the state of our world, the state of the human heart, ways in which we can be more genuine Christians, and ways to live and love people more authentically. After leaving my marketing job, i just felt like I was dropped into this black hole where, as an artist, I didn’t know how I fit in.
I still don’t know that all the time, but I knew I didn’t want to live in this Christian subculture where there are Jesus versions of movies, Jesus versions of music, and Jesus versions of candy (Yes, there are in fact Jesus versions of candy!) The world doesn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus, and the church doesn’t want to have anything to do with the world. This is wrong.
What makes this tour effective is the fact that their styles of music blend beautifully together. No artist quite fits into any category, but instead they each straddle many genres. However, there’s a commonality between the artist’s music that will resonate with their core audiences. The best way to explain the 4 on Tour’s mix of mellow grooves is something like, “Folk-singer song-writer-pop indie soul-nuance…”
They have worked as a team to help introduce their own fans to the music offered by their companions. And, a look at 4 on Tour’s Facebook Fan page shows that it’s working! People from as far as Germany are new fans of 4 on Tour and, by association, the four individual artists contributing their music, perspective and approaches to this project (search for “4 on Tour” on Facebook).
There is the possibility of growing this project. Though it’s still early in the project Joy Ike mentioned considering ways of progressing this team-oriented approach to music, communication and performance.
Right now, Joy just counts it a blessing to be able to perform in unlikely venues such as local bars and be able to share faith about God while addressing topics like depression, divorce and other issues not often approached from the Christian perspective: “When sharing something honestly and creatively people do listen. They might not be able to agree with you but they do listen.”
Make sure to see for yourself how these artists dare to uniquely express their hopes, dreams, fears, disappointments and triumphs… their living.
Check out 4 On Tour music and tour dates at their website. To find out more, you can contact 4 On Tour at the following:
Writing lyrics, consuming lots of sugary tea and dancing — these are a few of Quoleshna‘s favorite things. She’s passionate about full-throttle, godly exploration of God-given talents. Currently, she’s working on handcrafted, comfy, fun and elegant fashion accessories. Visit http://connect.tangle.com/quoleshna for extended vids or if you feel led, contact her: [email protected].