Started by Grand Canyon University, Canyon Worship is a group project compiling original songs, written and recorded by different students each year. Beginning in 2015, it’s by necessity an evolving project, with the student body changing year on year.
The group released their first EP in 2015, a three song affair, and from there have seen their growth explode, to the point where each subsequent year they’ve released an album that’s better than the previous year.
Comparisons could be made to their contemporaries in Christian worship music, such as Hillsong, and Elevation Music, but there is something that sets Canyon Worship apart. With a strongly consistent output, and their music recorded at the University’s state of the art Worship Arts Recording Studio, produced by Matthew Odmark from Jars Of Clay, as well as Satellites and Sirens’ Geoff Hunker, the students have created a near perfect blend of gospel, pop, and soul. The songs are not only radio-ready but also highly relatable, and edifying.
The songs for each year’s album are submitted by the students, with ten artists chosen to be featured on the new record. This instils in the students a healthy competition, while at the same time inspiring them to examine the deeper meaning and purpose of worship songs,, and their role in the lives of the church community.
GCU Worship Arts Co-ordinator, Dr Randall Downs, spoke about the new album:
“I’m really excited about this album. Hopefully churches will be able to take in some of these songs and incorporate them in their worship services. For the first time, we’re releasing chord charts and lyric sheets to make it easier to do so.”
Watch the behind the scenes video of the creation of ‘Come Up Here’, written and composed by Katie Brown, who shares what she learned through the experience of writing the song:
The album was performed in full on 21 October at GCU’s Ethington Theater, to resounding acclaim.