NFL Super Bowl winning player Ben Utecht is the starting tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals, but this year’s off-season introduces Utecht as a singer and musician to the world.
His highly anticipated, self-titled debut album launches on Tuesday on Stylos Records, distributed by Word Entertainment.
“Ben Utecht is a talented football player. He started at tight end for my team, the Indianapolis Colts, in Super Bowl XLI and helped us beat the Chicago Bears,” says former NFL head coach, Tony Dungy, who was Utecht’s coach for four years.
“However, I always thought his real impact would be in Christian music. Ben has a tremendous voice and a passion for music, but more than that, he believes in the gospel message and that comes through when he sings. I believe God is going to use his musical gift in a special way.”
Full of passion, depth and insight into the struggles of faith and life, Utecht is a fresh new wordsmith, musician and singer from an unlikely arena. Utecht has performed the national anthem at numerous college and pro sports events, played at churches over the years and even sung for both President Bushes. He celebrates the new album release on Tuesday with a concert at the Mongomery Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
When asked about his successes, Utecht responds, “My identity is as a Christian, not a football player or musician. In music and sports, the things people are doing become who they are. While people come to hear my testimony as a professional athlete, or see me as a musician, it is who I am as a believer in Christ that I want people to see.”
And that is exactly what thousands of music fans saw when Utecht sang at a recent Gaither Homecoming event. “Ben Utecht has been entrusted with tremendous talent, both as a professional athlete and a solo artist, and he uses those gifts for one purpose – to honour Christ,” says legendary musician and industry leader Bill Gaither. “There is no limit to what God can do with Ben’s combination of heart and talent.”
Known for his faith both on and off the field, Utecht wrote the lyrics and music for the majority of the new album, but he also collaborated with friends like Sandi Patty, Mark Harris and Jeremy Camp.
Utecht connected with fellow artist Camp after a concert in Indianapolis. Given their love of music and similar backgrounds of having fathers who were pastors, the two shared so much in common that it didn’t take long for a lasting friendship to develop.
“I’ve walked closely with Ben over the past few years and have been greatly impacted by his heart for the Lord,” says Camp, who co-wrote “Rescue Me” with Utecht for Utecht’s debut album. “He has a deep love for the body, a genuine passion for the kingdom, and I consider him one of my closest friends. I know you’ll be blessed by his music when you hear that heart displayed with such power and conviction.”
The album also features a duet with Patty on the song “We All Bow Down,” written by Harris. Utecht and Patty performed the duet during Easter weekend (April 11-12) services at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“I met Sandi when she came up to me after an event and asked for my autograph because she’s a big Colts fan,” says Utecht. “When she told me her name, I just laughed, handed back the piece of paper and said ‘You need to sign this for me.’”
Produced by Nathan Nockels (Chris Tomlin, Passion, Point Of Grace), Utecht’s debut features the energetic rock ballad “Yours” that’s an ode to God penned by Indianapolis native John David Webster, and “Generation”, another song penned by Harris that is a crossover-friendly cry for love and peace that’s perfect for Utecht to sing in the high schools he’s often invited to speak in.
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