The “land down under” has helped introduce some major players in the world of Christian music (think Newsboys, Rebecca St. James and Darlene Zschech). Now another accomplished praise & worship act is poised to make an impact on American soil.
Planetshakers started as the worship team for the Planetshakers conference — now a 20,000-person event. Russell Evans, the visionary and director of Planetshakers, and his wife, Sam, along with Henry Seely and Mike Guglielmucci, who grew up together as teenagers in the Evans’ youth ministry, are the principle songwriters for Planetshakers. The group moved to Melbourne last year to start a Planetshakers church and have recorded two CDs. The latest, "(My King) Live Praise and Worship," hit stores in August.
CCM: What’s a Planetshakers conference like?
Seely: It’s a four-day event that we run in five different states of Australia (and soon in the United States!). We have two sessions of praise/worship/speaking during the day and a huge concert-style night rally with the band and a guest speaker. We also run specialized workshops in the afternoons on various types of ministry (high school ministry, worship etc). One of our mandates is to “empower a generation to win a generation,” so we don’t just have an entertainment-based program — we run the whole event to change students/young adults’ lives, which, in turn, will change our cities and, ultimately, our nation.
CCM: Do you target the same audience as Hillsong (church and label home for Zschech)?
Seely: We love the Hillsong team — they are great friends of ours and have done great things for Australian praise & worship. While I think there may be some overlap in the target audience, I would say Planetshakers targets a younger audience overall than Hillsong.
CCM: Is there any difference between an Australian audience and an American audience?
Seely: We’ve had some great audiences in America — people who really worship and give it their all. But I think Australian young people have this kind of “rawness” to them. They’re not afraid of what their friends think or how they look but just explode with passion for God. That’s what we’re really wanting to see happen in American young people — no fears, no limitations, no intimidation — just flat-out passion for God.
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