Liberty News

Worship Collective works with popular Christian artists to release debut album

April 20, 2017 : By Drew Menard/Liberty University News Service

The Liberty Worship Collective released its first album this spring. (Click the image to preview or purchase on iTunes.)

The Liberty Worship Collective packed out the new Center for Music and the Worship Arts Concert Hall on Wednesday night as it celebrated the band’s debut album, anchored by the original single, “Run.” The collective’s self-titled record was produced by Shane & Shane through their Worship Initiative project with Wellhouse Publishing. “Run” was written by students in collaboration with professional artists Phil Wickham and Josh Auer and Worship Collective Director Louis Fabrizi.

In addition to the Collective’s original song, the album includes nine covers of contemporary worship hits, including Chris Tomlin’s “Good, Good Father” and “At the Cross,” Hillsong United’s “This I Believe” and “Hosanna,” and “No Longer Slaves,” originally written by Bethel Music.

On Wednesday, intense LED lights bathed the approximately 1,600 seat room in vivid colors as a swell of youthful energy, fueled by pounding drums, electric guitars, and passionate vocals, rose up in joyful celebration. The Collective performed back-to-back concerts, featuring a number of popular worship songs, including “Your Love Awakens Me,” “What A Beautiful Name,” and “Great I Am,” in addition to titles off the album.

The Liberty Worship Collective hosted a packed night of worship to celebrate its first album. (Concert photos by Andrew Snyder)

Footage was captured for a “Run” music video, as well as live videos of “Hosanna” and “Good, Good Father.” Those will be released over the summer. The album is available on Spotify and iTunes, as well as at Liberty’s bookstore and during Worship Collective events.

The Liberty Worship Collective is made up of 45 student worship leaders, songwriters, and musicians who lead worship at a number of campus events and at conferences, youth events, festivals, churches, and other venues across the country.

“Run” began as a lyric by sophomore Fiona Barbosu, inspired by Psalm 63, and then was developed in a writing session with Fabrizi, Wickham, and Auer, as well as seniors Judd Harris and Ashley Kidd.

“It is really about longing for more of God when we are already completely in His presence,” Barbosu said.

Wickham — whose song “This Is Amazing Grace” was BMI Christian Song of the Year for 2015 — then helped the small writing team develop the hook and chorus with Auer, who was playing bass with Wickham on tour, during a writing session.

Senior Judd Harris is one of the Collective's lead vocalists.

“He was on his tour, and it was one of his days off — that really resonated with us,” Harris said. “He wanted to pour into us as people that he sees as (following in his footsteps).”

While some collaborative songs can take multiple writing sessions of several hours to come together, “Run,” in about four hours, “kind of wrote itself,” Harris said. The song became an upbeat anthem with youthful vigor and optimism that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the Collective for a debut track.

Fabrizi said the song also has a bit of a “Phil Wickham stamp” on it as well.

Harris said that Wickham is one of the artists he and a number of the Collective members look up to.

“His style really reflects what I feel like worship and leading people in worship should be, this sort of ‘prayer song.’”

Barbosu added that upon hearing the drafted lyrics, Wickham immediately “understood the dynamic of what we wanted.”

Harris, an interdisciplinary studies student focusing on business and English, said this first cut builds “momentum to what we want to do in the future,” which is produce more original music.

“The songwriting culture at the Collective is built around that co-writing process, seeing what the Lord is teaching all of us (as we are) discipling one another and creating songs out of that,” he said.

As a new member of the Collective, Barbosu, a worship studies major, had been praying for God to use her in any capacity He saw fit.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It is amazing how He finds a place for each one of us in the Collective. It was my first year, and I had asked God to use me this year in whatever way; I didn’t know if it would be behind the scenes, but in answering that prayer, I get to see a song I wrote produced by amazing people and sung by my family (the Collective).

“It humbles you. The end product is a group of people, not your name, and the sound is the Collective, it’s from the heart.”

An original album is on the horizon as the Collective continues to develop.

Visit Liberty.edu/WorshipCollective for more information.