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I Am They


  I AM THEY, a pop-acoustic worship group, stands as a modern-day altar to the Lord. The members themselves are the testimonial stones - each with their own stories of trial and triumph.

  Originating in Carson City, Nevada, I AM THEY has roots as a worship team based out of a community of various area churches. The band's five-piece, pop-acoustic-worship sound is anchored by three-part vocal harmonies. The group, made up of Abbie Parker (vocals/harmonium), Jon McConnell (vocals/guitar/keys), Matt Hein (vocals/guitar/mandolin), Justin Shinn (keys/banjo) and Sara Palmer (drums) represent I AM THEY - inspired by John 17.

  "In that chapter," shares Sara, "Jesus is praying for his disciples and refers to them as 'they.' He's praying and saying things like, 'Sanctify them. Make them holy. They are not of the world because I am not of the world.'

  He's really interceding for His disciples. We are disciples of Christ and being disciples is just as important today as it was back then. We're still here for the same purpose on the same mission with the same calling, bringing people to the Lord and spreading the news of the Gospel to people.

  We really wanted to incorporate that into our mission as a band, saying that anybody who is a believer in Christ is a 'They.' They are a disciple as well, so we can stand together in that and really bring people into the 'I AM THEY' family because we are all family in Christ."

  "Scars," the first single from their Trial and Triumph album is currently #5 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian Music charts.

  Matthew Hein, although having grown up involved in ministry and surrounded by the truth of the gospel, had found himself trapped in an addiction to pornography. From the age of thirteen this was something he had hidden successfully, but as a leader in his church and newly engaged to his fiance Tori, he knew it was time to reveal this inner battle. He confessed this sin to his fiance, his pastor, and God himself, expecting to lose everything - but the rejection never came. Instead of losing all he had, Matt felt the freedom he had wanted for so long, like he could breathe again. This heavy rock he had carried is now a part of an altar.

  Sara Palmer, after finding out her marriage was over, barricaded herself in her closet, and cried out to God to take her fears. Her sense of self had been so tethered to her marriage that she didn't know who she was outside of that relationship. The Lord began to show Sara her true identity. She saw a mountain before her. A huge immovable fear. But through faith, this mountain was moved and God showed Sara who she really was. Sara brought a piece of this mountain with her and laid it on the altar.

  Justin Shinn, after hearing cops knock on his door, and flushing pounds of heroin down the drain, left his house that day in handcuffs. At just twenty years old, Justin was one of the biggest drug dealers in his county. Justin's mom was also arrested because of cocaine he had stashed in her dresser. Seeing his mom in handcuffs through his jail cell window was Justin's rock bottom. The judge looked down on him, questioning whether he was even a salvageable member of society. He got down on his knees and prayed to God for the first time in years begging him for change. And God changed his life. Justin began to get involved in his church and eventually started leading worship again. The musical instruments he had pawned for drug money he bought back. The Lord brought music and worship back to his life and the heavy chains of his addiction were finally laid at the altar.

  Abbie Parker, after walking through a divorce and moving back into her parent's home, fearing the disappointment of her family and her friends, asked God, "How did I get here?" In her childhood bedroom, Abbie remembered who she was as a daughter, a sister, and ultimately a child of God. She no longer placed her identity in her successes or failures but in God Himself. Abbie had felt the weight of failure, but God saw her as His own. She was able to walk free, and leave the heavy lie of failure on the altar.

  Jon McConnell, on New Year's Eve, found himself in a bar he had played music in for years, to a crowd who had heard his songs over and over. He felt stuck as yet another year rolled in and he was doing nothing new. God didn't seem to be using him how he had expected. So he quit. He gave up on doing music in his own strength. He let go of everything he had been chasing and put it before God. Shortly after this moment of surrender, Jon received an opportunity to sign a deal with I AM THEY. Jon let go of his ambitions, surrendered his life, and laid it down on the altar.

  Out of these trials came songs of deliverance and worship. I AM THEY's sophomore album Trial & Triumph opens with a shout of new joy and assurance with their track "My Feet Are On The Rock."

  Along with this joy is a feeling of candid honesty. After walking through the valley, the band is sharing all that the Lord has shown them. The track "Scars" is an anthem of rescue. We all tend to hide the ugliest parts of our lives. We bury our bruises under layers of perfectionism and pride. I AM THEY is peeling back those layers, not hiding their scars, but gratefully wearing them as marks of their own redemption stories. This latest album is an audible communion. A musical supper of remembrance of not only what Christ did for us on the cross, but of what He is still bringing us through today. It is a call to join the band in laying down the burdens we carry, to link arms and walk together as followers of Christ through trial and triumph.

See I Am They's Official Music Video
"Scars"  -
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Billboard Emerging Artists
I Am They

by Gab Ginsberg, Billboard Magazine

  Welcome to Emerging Artists Spotlight, a new Billboard series where we highlight a musician or act who has recently made a debut on the Emerging Artists chart. Whether they are new to the industry, or have been around for a while but are just starting to have a chart impact, the intention is to showcase where they are here and now. This pick is pop-acoustic worship group I AM THEY, who debuted at No. 30 on the chart dated March 9. They have risen to #5.

  I AM THEY have carved out places for themselves on numerous Christian Billboard charts over the years, but their recent single "Scars" making such waves that it's become the group's highest-charting hit ever.

  The piano-based ballad, which appears on their sophomore album Trial & Triumph, is a gospel song that carries a message of redemption, as vocalist/guitarist Matt Hein explains.

  "It talks openly about pain and the stuff we face in life as human beings, but then challenges us to recognize the beauty in our scars. I think that's relatable to a lot of people out there," he says. Indeed, the song is at a No. 5 peak on the Hot Christian Songs chart, and is still gaining momentum.

  The band also considers Trial & Triumph to be their most introspective record yet, showcasing their collective experiences of "incredible highs and painful lows." Says Hein, "It pours out an honest anthem of our own journey, [including both] victory and loss. The process of surrender requires a lot of trust; it's about letting go of the past and reaching forward to what lies ahead with open hands." That heartache and relief is tangible throughout the record, which also reached No. 23 on the Top Christian Albums chart.

  However, I AM THEY's message isn't limited to a song or an album -- each band member lives a philosophy of honesty and trust, daily. "Life can feel short, unfair, and just as painful as it is miraculous. Our music faces these realities head-on, offering relief through a source that's greater than any of us," adds vocalist Abbie Parker. "When we're honest about our shortcomings, we open a door to everyone to admit their struggles, which is the first step to find healing and peace."

  The members of I AM THEY hail from various cities and towns around the U.S.: Matt and Justin are from Carson City, Nevada, while Jon is from Humble, Texas, Abbie is from Morton, Illinois and Nicole is from Yakima, Washington.

  Passion outside of work: "Unity. More than ever before in my life, I see a world that is fiercely divided and people that choose to walk away from each other instead of learning how to love each other through our differences. We are also very passionate about Blue Bell Cookie Dough ice cream." -- Matt

  "I have been building a few businesses, encouraging people to see their full potential, and pursuing my love for film and photography." -- Jon

  "I've become passionate about my own mental health, and have committed to care for myself this year through therapy. It's incredible to see yourself change in real-time, and this simple practice has allowed me to treat myself with greater compassion and grow in empathy toward other people." -- Abbie

  "The recording process and learning how to produce music at a professional level. I would love to someday help artists who can't afford a big studio recording and give them a commercial quality product without it being a financial burden for them. A lot of people helped us out early on and I would love to pay it forward someday." -- Justin

  "Developing intentional personal and vocational core values for myself. It's made me a better human." -- Nicole

  What's next: Working on the next album, playing festivals in Switzerland, Amsterdam and the UK, recording Christmas singles for the first time, heading to Scotland to see Justin (keys) get married, and a first-ever headlining tour in the fall.

~ from billboard.com ~


s events

I Am They
(from Trial & Triumph)

Following rave reviews for their freshman album, I Am They is back to spread the good news of the gospel with lively all-new folk/worship songs. Magnify the Lord along with them as you listen to "Crown Him," "My Feet Are on the Rock," "How Far We've Come," "Let Your Love Pour Out," "Scars," and "Near to Me."

Compelling voices intersect with a passion for spreading the gospel in this debut album from a gifted worship band from Carson City, Nevada. They redefine discipleship with songs like We Are Yours; Awake, My Love; Your Love Is Mine; "Over and Over Again; King of Love; Even Me; From the Day; Make a Way; Here's My Heart"; and Amen.

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