With nearly 20 albums under their belt, 5 Dove Awards, an AMA nomination, and a Billboard Music Award win, it’s hard to imagine the early days of Hillsong UNITED.
Born out of Hillsong youth in 1998, UNITED were a motley young crew of singers, musicians, and youth leaders passionate to lead young people in praise, calling attention to the heart of God for the world.
On the launch of their new album WONDER, singer Jonathan ‘JD’ Douglass recalled how young the UNITED team were when they first started on the journey in the 1990s.
“We all started pretty much as teenagers, and to see what God has been doing in our lives personally, and what we’ve been able to be part of building His church through what we do as UNITED when we travel, has been incredible,” he said.
Now UNITED are a global musical force, writing tunes for the church, yet drawing in the secular masses.
Playing arenas that usually host the likes of U2, Coldplay, Taylor Swift and Adele, UNITED’s music is drawing a crowd unprecedented for an ‘act’ likes theirs, raising the eyebrows of industry execs who don’t understand their success.
Alongside those who don’t understand though, are the curious.
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In the last two years, UNITED have appeared on Channel 7’s The Morning Show, as well as The Today Show in the States, and their story has been shared on the big screen in Let Hope Rise – a film initiated by a non-religious Hollywood producer, who saw the band play The Hollywood Bowl.
Despite the increasing influence though, UNITED remain true to the vision of the ‘backyard band who made it big’, believing their music’s purpose is to draw others to Christ.
Hope Breakfast’s Laura Bennett caught up with Matt, Taya, and JD at a launch party for their new album WONDER at Hillsong’s new Epicentre.
Songwriter Matt Crocker told Laura, “In everything we do God wants us to bring joy to people’s lives, and ultimately He can do that better than anyone. [On WONDER] we just wanted to write a really happy, fun, joyful album that’s going to uplift people in whatever they’re going though.”
The album is released today.