1:10 pm. I arrived at the Stouffer somewhat worse for wear after fighting lunch hour traffic to get
back into town. Rushing to the elevators, I found a group was already waiting: Dana Key and
Altogether Separate! We climbed in “altogether” and rode up about 18 or 19 floors together. As they got
off, polite Ben Rayls turned around and shook my hand, introduced himself and said, “I’m with
Altogether Separate.” What a nice guy!
1:15 A little out of breath I arrived at the Reunion Suite to find i had a little time on my hands as
those Canadian boys were strolling the lower floors. They got there within a couple of minutes and
suggested a few video games to loosen us up and break the ice. I passed on such a golden
opportunity as I had only been allotted 15 minutes to learn everything I could about the talented
siblings. I will run the full interview later, but a quick overview is: these are some nice, genuine guys.
The way their parents brought them up will allow them to be unique, but not “affected.” Their heads
are screwed on surprisingly straight given their young age and chosen profession, and it is a delight
to spend time with them. They respect each other and defer to each other and are most definitely a
family unit. There is some joking about the twins, Marty and Josh, “outvoting” older brother Toby,
but Toby has obviously been a big influence in his younger sibling’s lives, especially in their pursuit
of a music career. I got a little inside scoop on their upcoming project and will be sharing all the
details when I have time to type up the interview.
2:00pm After taking a few photos of the boys on their way out to another interview, I stopped to visit with publicist
Bethany Smith in the Reunion Suite. We have been trying to “do lunch” and have passed like two ships in
the night, but we DID eat some party mix together so that almost counts. While we were chatting she
suggested I have a MASSAGE. A MASSAGE? That’s right: the Reunion Suite comes with its own
complimentary masseuse and, yes, I did indulge in 15 minutes of pure unadulterated luxury. I have
made an executive decision to interview every Reunion artist there is… leaving about 15 – 20 minutes free
between each artist…
After the Jake interview I ran into True Vibe and Jonathan Lippmann in another elevator. I don’t
know the other guys in the group yet, but I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan last month and
will meet with the entire group on Wednesday. Jonathan is another of these super-talented young
men who has impressed me with his sincerity and passion for having an evangelistic outreach that
really connects with young fans. We exchanged a few pleasantries in the elevator which just made
me more eager for our interview on Wednesday.
I went back to my car to put some media packages up and pick up more CA magazines to pt out. On my way, I ran into Nicole Smith in the parking garage elevator. I “just happened” to have a whole stack of Christian Activities in hand, and she looked at the photo of Plus One on the cover and joked about how “homely” the new crop of boy bands are” — OK, girls do joke about boys, even at our age, so get over it — and I added “especially those poor Canadian guys from Jake.” It is a joke, people. None of these new boy bands has a homely member among them. Nicole laughed and “agreed” and proceeded to tell me that when she performed some Jam tours with Jake, she often followed them, but there would be a mass exodus of young women and girls right as Jake left the stage and she went on. “I guess all the girls wanted to get their product
and autographs,” Nicole sighed. Uh huh. Yeah, I bet there was just as big an influx of men wanting to see the equally “homely” blond beauty perform. She gets no sympathy from me!
2:45 pm. It was back to exhibit area for me where I spent more time at the booths and appreciated the
assortment of businesses and services represented. I spent some time at the Cloud Ten booth where I
learned another Left Behind movie is definitely in the works, and the original cast is all interested and
in discussions about the upcoming flick. I definitely plan to follow this closely so stay tuned for
more info. At the True Tunes booth I ran into Dave Bunker again with another old pal, Tom Lewis.
We had an interesting conversation about local radio stations. I visited the Artists in Christian
Testimony booth and had some wonderful conversations about youth camps and Christian
Right after that I ran up to the media room to see if their were some new media kits. Sure enough,
Superchick, Jennifer Knapp, Alvaro Lopez, and Whisper Loud were there for the taking.. and I took!
While I was in there, I noticed an interview was going on with the legendary Oak Ridge Boys talking
about their return to Christian music (“We never left,” they point out. “On each of our albums, even
Elvira, there was a Christian song,”) I later heard somehow no suite was available for the Oak Ridge
Boys and they ended up doing most or all their interviews in the media room… which worked to my
advantage as I snapped a few shots and headed out… and ran almost headlong into Cheri Keaggy
sitting with a small bevy of publicists. Cheri looked marvelous in a green plaid pantsuit and we had a
relaxing visit. I must admit I spent most of it catching up with Jessica Atteberry whose career I have
followed with interest since she was at Atkins Muse. Now this talented young woman has started her
own PR firm representing Chonda Pierce and Compassion international. I did take advantage of a
photo op with Cheri and hope to have photos of everything posted soon.
People talk about how wiped out they get by GMA and how superficial it all is… and at times I get a
little jaded myself. But… this year I must be spending time with the right people as I left each
assignation refreshed and enthused.
11:00pm. Tonight brought Third Day to Cibo for a Gold Record party, and Flicker Fest featured T-Bone, Pillar, Riley Armstrong, Phat Chance and Audio Adrenaline at the Liquid Lounge. What a night!
Stay tuned for more GMA Journal and GMA Updates! Check the Gospel Music Week section for more news, GMA activities and earlier Journal entries.
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