by Davin Seay for the Music Channel at crosswalk.com

(continued from part one)

Pointing to what he calls a spirit of "collaboration and not control," Tuttle uses the often-controversial methods of modern music publishing as a prime example of how things can be improved. "Companies like VMG only publish music written within Vineyard congregation," he points out. "Maranatha won't release recording of songs that they don't own. We don't want to limit anybody by their affiliation, which means that we can offer a whole range of options. Under Sovereign, a writer can own his own material. He can co-publish. Or, we can simply administrate. We can tailor the approach on an individual basis that takes into account particular needs and goals. That gives us a tremendous edge in working with young artists who are just beginning to understand how the business of music really works."

But, as much as Sovereign has adopted a flexible approach to the nuts and bolts of creating careers, the company's defining visions is never far from view. "We are, first and last, a worship label," Tuttle insists. "But, for us, that's an asset, not a limitation. We are trying to change the attitude that says that people who do worship music shouldn't have a high degree of recognition. Why can't they be known entities to a large audience? It takes nothing away from what they're doing and, for someone seeking out the best in worship, we want to be able to direct them to the talent that is making that music."

Part of that direction is to create as broad a base as possible for the wide and varied expressions of contemporary worship that exist across the spectrum of God's people. "Just as there are regional and ethnic cultures in a society," remarks Tuttle, "so there are sub-cultures within the church itself. We have an incredible cross-section of denominations and independent churches, as well as many models of historic and traditional worship. While we certainly can't expect to reach all of them, our goal is to relate to each group through the content of the music; the truth of God's word that is reflected in the songs we sing and the music we write."

To reach that enormous demographic, Sovereign has marshaled a full array of marketing and merchandising tools. "We're focusing on a grassroots approach," Tuttle explains. "We want to direct our efforts to a truly worldwide community through direct mail, the Internet, special events and, eventually, mainline distribution. Our experience is that, when you have great worship, people will go to extraordinary lengths to get a hold it and be a part of the blessing. Sovereign wants to be a source to spread that blessing."

There is perhaps no better way to capture the spirit of Sovereign than to hear Kate Miner - Worship ==Live From The Strip==, a project that, in both concept and execution, makes a bold statement about the revolutionary approach at the heart of this young company. "Christians always talk about taking the light into the darkness," says Tuttle. "Well, we decided to stop talking about it, and try it for ourselves. We took Kate Miner, who really embodies the passion and relevance that is worship at its best, and put her right in the heart of Hollywood, at the Roxy nightclub on Sunset Strip. It was a big risk, in terms and time and money and exposure, but I founded this company on taking risks."

The results, by any measure, are spectacular. "We had church, right there on the Strip," Tuttle enthuses. "The presence of the Lord was in that club and you can hear it all over the album. It was a tremendous way to launch a label."

With the live {{Kate Miner}} album just released, Tuttle wants to put the full resources of the company behind it and, while slow to discuss upcoming projects for Sovereign, he does drop a few tantalizing clues. "We working with various artist to put out an album under the title Dashboard Saint," he explains. "We're also involved with an artist name Carla White and her husband Tim, who are right at the cutting edge of alternative praise. And we're just at the planning stages of putting together a dramatic presentation of the Book Of Revelations. I guess the best thing I can say is, stay tuned."

For Carl Tuttle and Sovereign Records, staying tuned to the new currents of worship beginning to flow through today's church is a musical mandate of historic potential.

to return to part one - click here