As a youth leader, one of the fun things I get to do is attend Rock Concerts with them. Now I know I don’t look like the “Rock Concert” type, but remember I was a teen of the 70’s and let’s face it, that was the Rock Era! Anyway, Christian music has changed a lot over the years, and for many in my generation, it may sound much the same as secular rap, pop and rock but there is a distinct difference. The Christian bands have a distinctive message for youth…LIVE FOR CHRIST! Whether the artist is “beat boxing” or rapping, the message is still clear: “to live for Christ is gain, to live without Him is pain”. (paraphrased and based loosely on Phil. 1:21)
Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending “Rock the Park”, our church’s youth kick off for the year. I volunteered selling the bands’ “swag” (band t-shirts, CD’s etc.). I had the opportunity of not only meeting the band members of Phao, Transit, D.J. Crosswalk, and Peter Pot, but also enjoyed interacting with all the youth AND of course listening to some great music.
I interview Christian authors mostly on my blog but many young readers of my blog have asked me to consider interviewing some new up and comers in Christian music as well. So….
I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming rapper, Transit to Journey Thoughts today!
Transit (aka Daniel Bennett) is an indie hip hop artist who moved to Calgary from Victoria a few years ago to pursue an education and to take his music to the next level in the rapidly expanding indie community of Calgary. Since arriving in Calgary, Transit has wasted no time making himself a household name. In the short amount of time Transit has spent on the Calgary scene he has created a movement of people who are …sick of Calgary being labelled as strictly a “Country Music city.””My fan base consists primarily of kids who don’t usually listen to rap. We usually perform at indie shows because those kids are still thirsty for real music, thirsty for substance. There’s a subculture in Calgary emerging that really wants to build up the scene here, and I feel as though the scene is more alive here than ever. We’re trying to change the way people view Hip Hop, we’re trying to put Calgary on the map for that.”This mentality is what drove Transit to create the song “Calgary” which features 19 time Juno Nominee Jann Arden on the chorus, and multiple cameos from different local artists, as well as a cameo from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. You can watch the video here:
This past year, Transit and long time collaborator Dave Wallace created a video titled “Creating a hit: The 8 Hour Challenge.” In the video, Transit and Dave film themselves creating a top 40 pop song from scratch to prove how easy it is to be “radio friendly.” After creating the viral Youtube video, Transit and Dave were approached by KISS star Gene Simmons who was interested in the same sound that Transit and Dave were mocking. Rather than pursuing Gene’s invitation to set up a showcase for his record label, Transit decided to stay independent in order to maintain his artistic integrity. Watch the 8 hour challenge here:
Transit has been featured on Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Global National, Macleans Magazine, CBC Radio 1, CBC Television, Metro Magazine, The Times Colonist, The Calgary Herald, Amp Radio, X92.9, The Zone 91.3, CJSW, HipHopCanada.com and more!
Welcome to Journey Thoughts! How did you become a Christian and how has that influenced your music?
I’m a Pastor’s kid so I was brought up in the Church my whole life. However, I found myself getting into a lot of trouble as a teen. It wasn’t until I found hip-hop that I was able to properly vent my energy which brought me back into my faith.
What are some things you love about being a musician, and what are some things you don’t like?
I love performing, I hate everything up to it (ie. the booking, sound check, travelling).
What are your personal goals and aspirations with regards to your music and career?
Well I always said I just wanted to get to a level where I could support myself off of my music, now that I’m doing that I have a few higher goals, such as outselling every U2 album ever made (i’m kidding). I just take it one step at a time, my goals and opportunities are constantly changing. A quote I really like is “Chase God and let your dreams chase you.” I’m aspiring to chase God more, it’s too easy to get wrapped up in personal goals.
Who (or what) has influenced you or helped you the most as an artist?
I have a good support group around me. I’m constantly asking my friends and girlfriend for advice, they do a good job of reasoning with me. Also, people such as Jann Arden have been really awesome and encouraging to me as well.
What are the high points and low points of your career?
I sold 30 copies opening week of my CD “Nomadic” in 2009. I told myself I wanted to do more. My last CD, “Insufficient Funds” sold close to 900 opening week.
What is your favorite scripture verse (or Life Verse as I call it), and why?
Luke 9:25. I love this verse because I believe it’s the originator of the phrase “keep it real” which is so prevalent in hip-hop. A while ago me and my friend had the opportunity to work with KISS Star Gene Simmons. The only catch was we were going to have to ditch our creative control and values. This verse was very helpful to me during this time.