As you all know, I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pa. However, before making my way to Philadelphia I spent over a decade living in Bear, Delaware. While there, an large amount of my time was spent at Victory Christian Fellowship where I was involved in choir, hip-hop dance and more. During my time there, I was blessed to have encountered great people who at times became a family away from my own.
Corie Strand, Isaac Coleman and Cyrus Alexander have always been positive, encouraging, brotherly figures in my life. It’s been my pleasure to watch them grow, mature and fulfill their callings. They now have a Christian Music group, The Few, comprised of five male members: Corie Strand, Isaac Coleman, Cyrus Alexander, Aaron Hynson and Sedale Johnson. The group’s name [and mission] is based off of the biblical scripture, Matthew 22:14: “For many are called (invited and summoned), but few are chosen.”
I caught up to Corie and Isaac to discuss The Few’s music, Christian stereotyping and how each man balances their music family with all of the other demands of their lives.
IC: The Few is a collective of five men determined to show the world that God is still the number one force in the world. Our gifts reside in the realm of creating music for the kingdom that will shape nations and individuals. We strive to let our music bring souls to Christ, yet show that we too are humans as well. We all need Christ, we are just called to lead souls to Him via our ministry.
SS: So how did you all connect with one another and start the group?
CS: Cyrus and I met while dating sisters. While going through our relationships and hanging out we learned that we had a passion for Christ and our tool to get people to know the good news of Christ was music. Isaac was someone we knew from our church and we asked him would he be willing to be a part of a group that combined all of our musically influences to bring souls to Christ; of course he said yes. Sedale and I played for a church together and we became close, I asked him to fill in on a gig with us and he did. After filling in for about a year and working in the studio with us he decided to be apart. Aaron is the late bloomer of the group he came during a transition of the group; we all were at points in our lives where we wanted to be fully committed to Christ and do music. The sound of our music changed and we needed someone to compliment us spiritually and musically. In addition, he fit the description; he came right in as if he was with us for years.
SS: Timing is everything! Has music always been a shared passion among each of you?
IC: Music has been a huge part of my life. From singing in choirs to my desire to play bass, it has been vital to my development as a man. It provided comfort, and stated emotions in times that I couldn’t invoke the correct words to say. There is a healing power in music – and I love the fact that the music I have helped produce and create has been beneficial and nurturing/inspiration to so many individuals.
CS: Music has been in my life since I came out of the womb, and I can speak for the whole group: life is meaningless without Christ and music. They are the only two things that love us back without conditions.
SS: That’s powerful. Now, you all have been said to have a blend of hip-hop, rock and worship. How is that captured in your music?
IC: We have the privilege to have a lot of various influences in our own musical styles. Whenever we get together, we are able to infuse many of those ideas into our songs. We try our best to utilize all of our members (we have an in-house M.C.) to capture the best renditions of the song…different feels are crafted from the message of the song.
CS: We love all different styles of music, so GOD always inspires us to create songs using the styles of music that attract our heats the most, or better yet that capture our hearts. When we minister/perform or whatever word you want use to describe what we do in front of people, we just do music from our heart.
SS: One of your missions is to remove “Christian stereotypes”. Why is this so important to you all?
IC: All people are looking for something to believe in. It is important to remove this stigma of Christianity because people must realize that it is not a thing to believe in; it is a lifestyle choice. We are just ordinary people who made a choice to follow Christ. We have interests in all types of things, but the difference resides in who our trust is in through everything we may encounter.
CS: Many people think Christians are hypocrites–meaning they do not live what they preach. Sometimes that assessment is correct; people that call themselves Christians are hypocrites. We[The Few] want to be exactly the reason the word Christian was used in the first place. The word Christian is not a club, a group, organization, a gang or even technically a religion. It is a way of life. In [the book of] Acts believers were called Christian because people felt that Christ was still around, the believers was acting Christ like, they were living life out like Christ did. They became like Christ, so the name was given to recognize believers living out the plan of GOD the way Christ did.
SS: Have any of you ever personally encountered being stereotyped because of being Christian?
IC: Anytime you take a personal stand, there will be some type of criticism or stereotype. It is something that comes with the territory. But it is something that is worth standing for. The funny part is that most that may put us in that “box” typically come to us for advice or for guidance. We are humans just like everyone else. We all have our issues and struggles that we deal with daily. The difference is that we rely on God, and that we don’t dwell on the negative side of things. Its imperative that we pursue greatness and that even in our darkest hours, we must exude positivity and God’s nature because we may be the only “Jesus” others may see.
CS: Yes and sometimes it was appropriate: if I do something that is not Christ like
and I say that I am a believer of Christ, it’s my job to live up to it. If I don’t and people see it, it’s my job to own up to that as well. People have the right to call a spade a spade; if we are believers we should live to be called a Christian in the true essence of the name. However, there are times where, because there have been so many people misinformed about Christ or what being a Christians is, that we get stereotyped for their mistakes.
SS: Understandable. I think people of all religions are often held to some type of religious stereotyping. You all have said that you want to “restore integrity to Christian music”. When and how do you all feel it was lost?
CS: Christian music lost its integrity a long time ago. Artist that sing about things that do not or have not lived most of the time are not appealing. That holds truer for Christian music: if you sing about living holy or “GOD is my best friend”, then you can’t have pictures of you drinking, smoking or at the strip club. You cannot be using inappropriate language; you cannot just do or say what you want because you are held at the standard of Christ. Going back to what the word Christian means!
IC: Many artists desire to do music for all of the possessions and status they can acclaim; money, jewelry, fame, etc…and most artists are willing to compromise what they believe in to attain it. Even Christian artist fall victim to it as well. The message of Christ may be compromised in order to have a hit. It all lies in the true reason we chose to do music. Although we all would love to make money from this, it is not our main goal. We have been tasked to give our audience a life changing experience from God – that is first and foremost! We believe that when we follow this completely, God will provide everything else that we desire! So it goes hand in hand.
SS: You currently have your album The Truth out. What went in to making this album?
IC: Many hours in the studio, many hours of rehearsal, many hours of writing material. We would have to sacrifice our evenings after work to record, lose sleep in order to complete it. Thankfully, just about everything to create the music was done in house – we are blessed to have a full team of musicians, producers, writers, and singers to do the album. We used some close associates to assist in the mastering process for some of the songs (shout out to Jerm “Wheatbread” Boyd, B. Wellz, and anyone else who contributed to the album). It was a challenge to get everything completed and perfect, but through our determination and sacrifice, the album was completed. It is definitely a testament of our efforts and the music is like a road map for some of our thoughts, pleas, and feelings during that effort.
CS: We basically had everything in our lives on shut down mode to create and finish this album. It was on the hardest but fulfilling things to date in our lives.
Life is meaningless without Christ and music. They are the only two things that love us back without conditions.- CS
SS: It’s often hard enough for one person to complete an album, how do you all manage to do so with FIVE?
IC: It is difficult to make decisions with five people involved. It is OUR group, not one member’s group. Consistency is key for our success and scheduling things so the entire unit can have a chance to commit. We use one specific day for rehearsals and stick to it. We collaborate on which days the majority of us could get into the studio. If the lyricist and singer were not available, then perhaps the musicians may go in and format the track. We email tracks to one another so we are aware of what is going on.
CS: We are brothers so we just do our best to open to all different types of communication with each other. We listen to each other’s opinion and we have each other’s back no matter what. We are our brother’s keeper in every way we can be.
SS: As a collective, what is one of your favorite songs that the group has created thus far?
CS: I would have to say “I Need You” and “Hosanna”. “I Need You” because we really all needed to know Christ in a deeper way when we recorded it, it was probably all of our worst moments in our lives all at the same time. It seems as though we all go through the same things at the same time. And “Hosanna” because once we got through everything we just worshiped GOD for loving us enough to see us through.
IC: Contrary to popular belief (or actual desire from certain members), we all are singers. It’s something that we do on the regular. Oh, and the fact that we are some picture taken fools.
SS: Ha! So do you each still have full-time jobs? If so, how do you all balance your music careers with your personal life?
IC: Each member does have a full time job. To get the job done (gigs, rehearsals, meetings), it takes a complete sacrifice. Because we all are apart of the vision and this is something we all desire to do, it’s imperative to find that balance. Some of us have wives, kids, etc…so that sacrifice plays into that as well. The families involved all support our mission, and support full-heartedly. This helps out immensely because they understand why we do what we do. And having great time management works well too. Listening to your body is vital too. If you are tired, REST!!! If you can practice, then listen to the material and practice.
SS: What’s up next for The Few?
IC: We want to continue to build the kingdom of God and bring soul to Christ. We are constantly writing new material and honing our crafts on a daily basis. We are working with our manager to find more events to minister, and find various avenues to gain exposure. It is the stage of building stability, and assembling the correct pieces to assist us in finishing our mission.
SS: Lastly, what is your key to ‘Sincerely Lovin’ Life’?
IC: “I would rather take a risk to go after my dreams/passions & FAIL, versus always wonder ‘what if’.” Each moment and experience you have shapes you..don’t be afraid to try something new, be challenged, experience different cultures and activities…it will open your world to whole new horizons.
CS: “Never give expectation you’re not willing to meet yourself.”
Want to keep up with latest news and shows for The Few? No worries:
Facebook: The Few
YouTube: The Few
ReverbNation: The Few
iTunes: The Truth x The Few
– Sincerely Syreeta