Bryce Avary’s life reads something like a Hollywood script … up to a point. Talented teen records album at age 16, performing all instruments and vocals himself. At 19 he signs to the very hip, indie label, The Militia Group (Copeland, Lovedrug), gets lots of college radio airplay and gathers a cult following.
Ultimately, he is pursued by a major label—Island Records (Fall Out Boy, Hoobastank, Mariah Carey)—and decides to sign with them. And forget all those record label horror stories you may have heard. Avary delivers his album, Do You Feel, and Island releases it without any changes or tinkering. Pretty heady stuff for the 24-year-old who’s been recording and performing under the name of The Rocket Summer since 1999.
But where the story parts from the script is the motivation behind Avary’s life and music. After years of recording, he says he found himself “really losing sight of what’s important,” and while he never went the way of the prodigal, he began to ask himself, “What would Jesus really do?” And the result of this new-found focus is his new CD which Avary calls “a very spiritual record.”
While Avary is quick to point out that he understands the importance of the Christian market, he feels he has been called to release his music to the general market, bypassing most traditional Christian venues. Playing alongside non-Christians in clubs forces him to get out of his comfort zone and have the opportunity to try and share at least “one-billionth of Christ’s love” with his audience.
With Do You Feel, The Rocket Summer has recorded a high energy pop/rock CD filled with hope and a call to action. Rather than merely living a life marked by verbal platitudes, Avary says he is “really desirous of doing something.” Yet, he admits it’s all too easy to find excuses and just do nothing. Songs like “Break it Out” and the title cut ask us to not just talk about our faith but to live it out every day in the way we treat others. For Avary this translates to his involvement with To Write Love On Her Arms (twloha.com), a ministry aimed at bringing hope to teens whose broken lives seem hopeless. He is also passionate about the Invisible Children campaign (invisiblechildren.com).
Much of Avary’s philosophy can be summed up by one song on the album that is sure to ruffle a few feathers: “A Song Is Not a Business Plan.” The Rocket Summer is about creating art that is honest, real and glorifying to God, rather than compromising for the sake of getting a radio hit or making money—something Avary sees happening all around him. On paper it sounds simple: create the best art you can while living in the world as salt and light, and something grand is bound to happen. Easier said than done, but Bryce Avary is one artist who truly desires to walk the talk.
© 2007 CCM Magazine. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Click here to try a free issue.