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AN #NRTWENTY EDITORIAL
Staff Voices: How We Found NRT
The NRT staff shares how they encountered and joined NewReleaseToday
 


AN #NRTWENTY EDITORIAL, Staff Voices: How We Found NRT
Posted: July 22, 2021 | By: NRTeamAdmin
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Throughout NewReleaseToday's (formerly NewReleaseTuesday) entire timeline (2001 to present), God has been incredibly present and has blessed this site in so many ways. There have been so many individuals who have brought their passion, creativity, and talent to the table. I'm amazed at the way God has orchestrated volunteers, staff, and partners throughout the years in ways that I could never do on my own. After 20 years, what was a team of one is now a team of many. A team who is passionate about helping people discover as much Christian music that we can find while building lasting, loving, and fruitful relationships with others that have the same desire. 

I've shared my journey with NRT, about building it from the ground up–with Jesus at the wheel. But, what's more impactful is discovering how NRT has impacted our volunteers, staff, and partners. Our team took a few moments to share how they first encountered NewReleaseToday and how it's impacted them.
 

Kevin Davis, Lead Contributor, Behind the Song Columnist

In my weekly Behind the Songs devotionals, I've openly shared my coming to Christ testimony: I found Christ thanks to the biblical messages in Christian music. It started with music from the classic contemporary band Jars of Clay (their debut album to be exact). Music from dc Talk, Newsboys, Third Day, and other great '90s Christian bands and artists helped my faith grow.

I started posting Christian music reviews on Amazon. And, while searching for new Christian music releases, I found NewReleaseTuesday.com (this happened in the early 2000s). Now, when I look at the new release page from 2003, I notice I found and bought most of the listed albums from reading about them on NRT.

When NRT's site relaunched in 2007, I subscribed to the NewReleaseTuesday podcast. And, also was one of the first NRTeam Members to sign up for the site. I continued writing reviews (I've written over 500 album reviews for the site in the past 14 years).

In 2008, I started writing my weekly Behind the Song devotional series. I could now use this platform to share my testimony with others, as well as my passion to lead others to the biblical truth connected to each song. It's a blessing, for sure, and I feel that God has called us into this ministry together. 

Paul Phillips, Associate Editor


I'm a writer and editor by trade. Not to mention I'm a big fan of music. So, the thought of providing content for one of my passions to serve the Lord is a perfect marriage. I remember frequently visiting NewReleaseToday for music news. When I'd visit, I always thought, "I'd love to edit and write for NRT." That means I'd get the opportunity to interview the big stars and share my musical passion with the world. It remained a "nice to do" for a while.

Eventually, I sent an email of interest about contributing my editorial talents to NewReleaseToday and got a response back! About a month later, NRT published my first article. I've written and edited content for NRT for almost five years. I'm so incredibly blessed to be using my talents to serve God, my master of the universe.


Jake Frederick, Host, NRT Now Podcast

I don't know exactly when I first heard about what was then NewReleaseTuesday. My best guess is in 2003 and 2004 when I first got DSL internet and was able to spend more time researching Christian music. I don't remember much in between then and 2018, but somewhere along the line, I liked NRT's Facebook page and signed up for an NRTeam account.

In 2018, I happened to scroll past a post that NewReleaseToday was looking for volunteers. At the same time, I knew that I needed to be writing or have some creative outlet. After meeting with our team captain, Kevin McNeese, he decided to take a chance on me. In the three years since Kevin brought me on board, the team and I have become friends.

Kevin has continually challenged me to grow. And, in doing so, the NRT Now Podcast was born (it's now approaching 100 episodes). Throughout each show, I've had the opportunity to have conversations with artists: hear their hearts and the stories behind the music we listen to. Every conversation reminds me why I love supporting and promoting Christian music. 


John Hisel, Contributor

When I dropped by a tiny radio studio in Boise, Idaho and NRT was just a dream in Kevin’s heart to record drops for his weekly two-hour radio show, neither of us had any idea where we’d be sitting nearly 25 years later. He and I had recently graduated from high school. Even at that time, Kevin knew there was something more out there when it came to how people found and consumed Christian music. Me, I just wanted to hear every PFR (an old Christian contemporary band) song on the radio.

Seven or eight years later, I remember checking NewReleaseTuesday, the original site, every week for an updated list of my favorite releases from Tooth & Nail Records. I'd then use that list to plan my trips to the music store. Since then, NRT has grown into an outpost of hope on the wild landscape that is the internet. And, because Kevin was obedient to the voice of God so long ago, it will be pointing people to Christ through music for decades to come.

JJ Francesco, Wayback Columnist/Contributor

Honestly, I'm not 100 percent sure how I first found NewReleaseToday. I want to say it was early 2008, probably when Sanctus Real's then-new release We Need Each Other was streaming a week early. I was just coming into my own in terms of discovering what kind of music I liked (yes, Sanctus Real was one of my early favs). Getting to hear a new release early was such a high back then.

I kept up with the site and its unique name, making it one of my go-to resources for music previews, downloads, and information. The detail in the database was second to none. I got some cool stuff through the points store. I also started adding some user reviews to promote my favorite artists, which eventually led to my joining the team a few years later. Being part of this team has been an amazing taste of being a real and legitimate part of the Christian music industry as more than just a consumer. The experiences I've had through the site have been some of the best of my life. Here's to the next 20.

Mark Ryan, Contributor

I came across NRT close to 17 years ago. In fact, I remember some of the first free downloads that I got. The local Christian bookstore at the time had an abysmal selection of music, so it was nice to hear something new. Fast forward a few years from there, I came across a request on Twitter asking for a Christian hip-hop writer. Thus, began my journey of exploring Christian music and really developing my own voice as to how I think and process the music that is released.

It's been a pleasure writing for the website, whether it be music reviews or original features. It's amazing to see the new young crop of team members rise up and take their place at the forefront. It's also amazing to see a veteran like Kevin Davis–the mastermind of the Behind the Song devotionals–so committed to the cause of sharing Christ through Christian music. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for the future of NRT and its ever-evolving team.

Jasmin Patterson, Live Beyond The Lyrics Columnist

When I think of NRT, it reminds me of how God really is a master at creating full-circle moments in our lives. I discovered NRT around 2008 when I did an internet search for Christian music. I was a freshman in college, just beginning my undergraduate studies in the music industry to pursue my dreams of either being a Christian artist myself or working in some type of music journalism so I could help other people experience the music that had so changed my own life and my relationship with God.

From that time on, I followed NRT every week reading devotionals, interviews, news, and keeping up with what Christian concerts were coming to my area. In 2016, I saw a social media post from our director, Kevin, about wanting to add writers to the team. Considering my history with the site, my love of music, and my blogging experience, I hoped writing could be an incredible opportunity to join a vision I really believe in and to serve God and others while giving back to the site that had given me so much. I emailed Kevin and the rest is history. I’m so glad God’s plan for me included being a part of the team. 

Selena Schulz, Worship Wednesday Columnist

Writing for NewReleaseToday has always been surreal. It was my 14th birthday and I was at school, bored out of my mind, searching around on the Internet for new content on rock artist Jen Ledger and her band LEDGER (my favorite Christian artist forever and always). Nothing was popping up, but I had nothing better to do so I just kept going, scrolling through lyrics sites and rewatching music videos.

Then, all of sudden, I came across a clip of a new Ledger song, “My Arms.” I must have listened to this 30-second video at least 10 times. I immediately began searching for the release date; and, lo and behold, it was NRT’s website that had it posted. Picture me running to my best friend to tell her about the new song and then picture God probably smiling down on me because I finally found my way onto the Christian music path.

I kept using NRT to stay updated on the industry. And, when COVID struck, I found myself in need of a hobby. Long story short, I set my hopes on writing for NRT, and soon after, I was welcomed to the team. I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and the writing experiences I get to look forward to every day. I consider my introduction to the site a 14th birthday present to me from NewReleaseToday. So, these words are my 20th birthday present back to them. Happy Anniversary, NRT.

Grace Chaves, News Editor, and writer

I’m not entirely sure how I heard about NewReleaseToday. I think someone told me about it, or I stumbled across it on the Internet. Either way, I found NRT sometime in 2018 and became completely obsessed. I could spend hours searching the site and finding new artists to listen to.

When I was bored, I logged into my NRTeam account and added lyrics or read album reviews. It was fun, but I wanted to do more than just add lyrics and scroll through the website. I wanted to write for NewReleaseToday. So, I emailed Kevin, and after a few meetings and writing an album review, he let me join the NRT staff.

I was only 13 at the time, and I definitely wasn’t the greatest writer. But, God is the best writer, and He was writing me into His story. He knew what He was doing. I almost backed out of writing for NewReleaseToday. I was insecure, dealing with anxiety after a traumatic experience, and facing a lot of pain at the church where my dad was a pastor at. But, I’m so glad I followed when God was calling me here. When I joined the team, I didn’t know what I was walking into. But, for the first time in so long, I felt like I belonged. To me, this isn’t just a job. It’s a family. I’m so incredibly grateful for NewReleaseToday.

Brendan Burke, Social Media Roundup Columnist

I found NRT by scrolling through Twitter. There, I discovered a contest to win a Matthew West CD (yes, I ended up winning the giveaway). And, after receiving my CD, I sent NRT a message to see if they needed help with anything. Three months later, I joined the team. Being on the team has taught me so much, from becoming a better writer and an even better person. I found God’s calling for what I want to do with my life, which is social media, and that’s one reason I write my weekly Social Media Roundup column. Writing these recaps makes me a stronger person and a better writer. I thank God for letting me use my skills to help NRT.

Bradden Ford, Database Coordinator/Contributor

I first discovered NRT on January 16th, 2016. I was listening to a Christian top 20 radio program called 20 The Countdown Magazine. While listening, I remember they gave a shout-out to NewReleaseToday. I quickly searched it and was drawn in by the news articles, videos, lyrics, and upcoming releases. I loved Christian music and wanted to learn and keep up with it as much as I could.

I visited NRT daily and spent hours reading everything I could about Christian music. In August of that year, I made an NRTeam account and started adding lyrics, videos, releases, and new artists to the site. About two years later, Kevin reached out to me and officially invited me to join NRT as a staff volunteer.

I was extremely excited and in awe that God took a dream I had and made it come true for His glory. I was just 14 at the time and didn't know much about what I was doing. However, Kevin and the whole NRT staff became like family by helping, encouraging, and praying for me.

I'm blown away by what God has done through NRT in my life. He's changed me, strengthened me, drawn me closer to Him, and brought so many amazing friends into my life. It's only through Jesus and His perfect plan that He made a way for me. I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness for what He's done and continues to do. I'm extremely thankful and praise God for NewReleaseToday.

Dwayne Lacy, Gospel/Hip-Hop Writer

I came across NewReleaseToday while I was writing for the gospel music site, GospelFlava. I loved the new music NRT showcased weekly. Not too long after I learned about NRT, I found out they wanted a gospel music/hip-hop writer. So, I decided to step out and apply. 

I'm extremely grateful for the realness: the way the team listens and prays for one another. My favorite part is the monthly meetings. The team has some of the most talented writers and those who are very passionate about bringing encouragement and ministry through the music of great artists.


Ryan Adams, Rock Reporter

As my love for music moved more into the Christian rock and metal genres, I frequented NRT for reviews and interviews from the artists I had just begun to find and love. NRT became a go-to for me whenever I wanted to know more about rock and metal bands, even though it wasn't the website's primary focus. Something about it drew me in. Years later, after I graduated college, I began looking for opportunities to get more involved somewhere musically. So, I reached out to NRT, and Kevin sent me an album to review. It's been great ever since. It's a blessing to be able to give back to a team and community that I benefit from myself. 

Josh Galla, The CHH Drop Columnist/Contributor

I discovered NRT when I was writing for hip-hop websites, SOHH and Jam the Hype (this was around 2011). I approached Kevin about being their Christian hip-hop reporter. It wasn't a good fit the first time around. So, I improved my writing skills, fine-tuned my craft, and approached NRT again in 2014. It was a go; my timing matched God's timing. NRT needed a guy and I officially joined NRT in 2015. 

I knew NRT as NewReleaseTuesday, as I relied on them for their new releases calendar. No other media site posted a consistent release schedule. Being the audiophile that I am, I turned to NRT to stay atop the Christian music scene. I think that's why I focus on weekly releases in the CHH and Urban Soul spaces currently because no other media site covers these genres in such detail. That and interviews have always drawn me to NRT. I'm quite thankful for their existence before my joining the esteemed family. Happy 20th anniversary. The next 20 years are going to be groundbreaking.


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NewReleaseToday is always on the hunt for passionate writers, and creatives, to join our team. If interested, please email kevin@newreleasetoday.com

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