What do you get when you mix a suburban kid with an urban school in a city submerged with churches, clubs, and Hip-Hop? Beacon Light.
Beacon Light, born Brandon Clahassey, is a trail blazing rap artist from Grand Rapids, MI. He has performed alongside Grammy-winner Lecrae, Andy Mineo, George Moss and many more. Alongside his traveling ministry he serves as a worship leader with The Edge, a Hip-Hop church in Grand Rapids.
Beacon is a very versatile artist who can take his audience on a journey through a high-energy, "hands in the air concert" and finish in intimate worship. In addition to music, he has Bachelors degree in Biblical Studies and always seeks to leave the crowd with a life changing message.
Throughout his career Beacon Light has released two full length albums: Overcomin' (2010) and Lights On (2013). He has also released a variety of singles and free downloads on popular sites such as noisetrade. With two albums under his belt, he brings a smooth lyrical flow that dances with the beat in seamless, rhythmic-worship. His vocals ride the sound waves of bass-banging Hip-Hop and beautiful ballads all while communicating the everlasting truth of Christ.
"Hip-Hop is one of the most blatant genres around," says Beacon, "Artists blatantly boast about partying, drugs, and violence. I blatantly boast about Jesus and I hope to inspire others to do the same."
In many ways, Beacon, born Brandon Clahassey in Grand Rapids, MI, had an average middle class childhood. He grew up on a tree-lined street with his mom, dad, and younger sister, and had a group of close friends who could often be found on the basketball court. In elementary school, Beacon became a student at an Urban Christian School called The Potter's House. There, he developed a love for Hip Hop music, creative writing, and other cultures. His family, teachers, and friends knew him as a happy kid with a quick sense of humor.
Then one summer in third grade, Beacon was sexually abused. He started using humor as a mask, and although it fooled others, it didn't heal his pain. The abuse continued on and off for five years and left Beacon feeling ugly and worthless. Because of his overwhelming shame -- often experienced by victims of abuse -- he never sought to tell anybody, not even his parents. "I know abuse is a subject that people don't like to talk about," says Beacon. "But when it is ignored, it usually just gets worse."
In fifth grade the children's choir from his church gave Beacon the honor of rapping Sister Acts' Remix of "Joyful, Joyful" during their Christmas service. But despite his accomplishments, Beacon still felt broken. And by the time he was in high school, Beacon's parents were headed toward divorce. He continued to wear his mask, pretending that everything was okay. He filled his time playing sports and partying to the max. As a college student, Beacon began to gamble frequently. He would ride the high of winning with the same broken and empty feeling in his chest. "Imagine you were shot with a round of bullets, but instead of being rushed to the Emergency Room, you just put some Band-aids over the holes, put on your nicest clothes, and then went clubbing," says Beacon. "That's what I was doing, clubbing with spiritual bullet wounds."
Music was initially an outlet for his frustration and pride. "I used to freestyle battle a lot," says Beacon, "I loved walking into parties, drawing a crowd, and battling whoever thought they could rap. It made me feel like I was in control of my life, like I couldn't be stopped." Beacon adds, "But on the inside, I still felt trapped, depressed, and worthless. If I wasn't high, drunk, or surrounded by people, I felt alone."
Then, halfway through his sophomore year in college, Beacon cried out to God. His most profound experience was in a men's group with several trusted adults he had known for years. "Experiencing God is ten times better than any drug, any drink, any random woman," says Beacon. "Those are all short-lived pleasures. But God is forever."
From the moment Beacon cried out to God he felt Him working in his life to change, and heal, his heart. He decided to go to Grace Bible College. After deciding to major in Biblical studies (B.S. 2009), Beacon was introduced to Lecrae's music and realized that his own musical and writing gifts could be used to lead people to the healing found in Christ.
In 2007, he began writing, recording, and performing songs. His goal is to bring people to the light of Christ. He notes, "Popular culture constantly tells young people that material possessions, drinking, and sex, are the way to happiness. But they only temporarily numb the pain. Life with Christ is incomparable; nowhere else can you find true love, peace, comfort and strength."
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