Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith, media & culture: 04/16/21

How did a young a young college dropout from Brunswick, GA go from earning money scrubbing toilets at a Publix to (seemingly) suddenly becoming a breakout hip hop artist? For twenty-two year old Christopher Hulvey (aka Hulvey), the answer comes town to a mixture of God-given talent, hard work and faith. BRKNHRT, his Reach Records label debut, dropped in 2020 and immediately garnered him national praise and attention.  In 2020 Pandora called him a Christian Artist to Watch. That same year his recordings of Higher and Real Love were featured on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop Atlanta in 2020. His song Cold Blooded was featured on the ABC police drama The Rookie.

Of course, shortly after the release of BRKNHRT, the world shut down in response to a global pandemic. Having to put his dream of touring and performing on hold, Hulvey, like many other people, found himself secluded from his friends and family. The social isolation forced him to face his insecurities and fears and surrender them to God. It’s from that experience that his debut album, which dropped last Friday, was born. Our conversation begins after the video for the lead-off track Can’t Tell It All.

JWK:  In a relatively short period of time you’ve gone from scrubbing toilets for a living to being signed by Reach Records and being named “Christian artist to watch in 2020” by Pandora. What was that journey like?

Hulvey: My journey has been one of persistence and that helped me to continue to do what God put it on my heart. With BRKNHRT, the EP, God put that on my heart before I even signed to Reach Records.  I would just go work on music every week and so persistence helped me get to where I’m at. It was also believing what God put in me regardless of what I see and being who I am made to be; believing in the message that God put in me to communicate and that played a role in getting me to where I am because I didn’t compromise.

It’s been a beautiful journey and also one that was so unexpected because with COVID, no one saw that coming. I thought I would have been touring and living life differently than how I am living now, but what is great is because of that I have been able to invest into my personal relationships and have more time to soak in what God has put on my heart.
Musically, I started out sending my music to Ace Harris, VP of A&R (Artists & Repertoire) at Reach, and he is the one who kept encouraging me and I kept refining my craft, and sure enough, here we are.
JWK: You acknowledge struggling for years with anxiety and anxious thoughts. What made you anxious and how are those struggles represented in your music?
Hulvey: It all started when I was a kid and I was having thoughts of things that I never even knew, and anxious and irrational thoughts would creep in, and it made me anxious. I think it was the enemy attacking me on who I was meant to be in Christ.  Specifically, I wrote about an instance in Reasons, and it was a fear of death. I would go to sleep and these thoughts about ‘what if I died?’ and the thought of losing my life out of nowhere made me feel super anxious. Anxiety also came in when I was moving to Atlanta, but God walked me through it.
JWK: You’ve also said that as dark as 2020 was for many people, you personally found beauty and peace within it. Can you explain that?
Hulvey: Sure thing, the beauty and peace was God. When I had those dark thoughts, I started talking to my mentors and I started to find healing because I was being open. I started reading the word and the Spirit was giving me nuggets on who I was and I realized the Blood of Christ truly set me free. I realized He was actually with me and there was nothing I could ever think to ever keep me apart from God and it set me free. That was the takeaway. I am actually free from my own mind. I’m a new creation.
JWK: Do you think music can be an instrument for healing?

Hulvey: I believe music can point people to The Healer! He has used it for me when I’ve been through hard times and also when I just want to praise Him.

JWK: What do you hope listeners take from your new album?

Hulvey: I hope they realize they can be free from whatever they feel chained to and that their new identity is truly in Christ.

JWK: What’s next for you – and where do you see yourself in five or ten years?

Hulvey: Right now, other than releasing the album, I’m getting married to my beautiful fiancée, and other than that, I have no clue. I’m taking one day at a time. I just want to trust God with today.
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Congratulations to my friend Margaret “Peggy” Kim who was named to Nonprofit HR’s 2021 Nonprofit Women to Watch List for exhibiting “extraordinary leadership, unwavering dedication and impactful achievements.” Her FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference is celebrating its 5th anniversary with an event that will include Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, producer and playwright Tina Fey sharing her personal career journey, as well as her thoughts on the current entertainment landscape, and what it takes to succeed in the business. For details on applications for attendance click here.

Sponsors and partners for this year’s event include Disney Advertising Sales, Ascential, ViacomCBS, AMC Networks, A+E Networks, Spectrum Reach, Spectrum Networks, Roku, Verizon Media, MNN, Horowitz Research, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, WICT NY, NAMIC, T. Howard Foundation, Cynopsis, Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable.

Peggy’s vision for FUTURE NOW is to identify and nurture “a strong, vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community of future leaders in media, who stand for truth, integrity and excellence in every sector of the industry.” Toward that end, the nonprofit organization produces live events and programming to educate, mentor, train, and give college and graduate students and recent graduates unprecedented opportunities to connect with and learn from today’s most influential leaders, executives and professionals in media and entertainment. The FUTURE NOW Media & Entertainment Conference brings together students from all over the country with today’s top executives, thought leaders and professionals. The conference is designed to give students the opportunity to hear directly from leaders in the industry, connect, network and be mentored by them.  Recruiters from various companies are also on site to recruit FUTURE NOW students for internship and job opportunities. In addition to the annual conference, we produce Leadership Talks, workshops and networking events throughout the year. The FUTURE NOW Mentoring Program is now in its second year.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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