After 11 months of planning, I’ve finally launched my newest project, Providence Records!
Providence Records is Ireland’s newest record label, and the first and only record label exclusively supporting artists who promote Christian values. I’ve copied a blog post from providencerecords.org to explain what it’s all about. If you like the sound of it, be sure to sign up to the mailing list and follow on Facebook and Instagram!
“Let’s get God back on the radio and into our music venues!”
Providence Records is Ireland’s first and only record label to exclusively back music artists with the Christian message.
The best way to introduce the concept behind Providence Records is to introduce myself, so hey, I’m Roger Berkeley!
I’m a music artist, a Business & Law student at UCD, and passionate about my Christian faith and bringing it into the public square. I have been involved in the Catholic youth organisation, Youth 2000, since 2012. Ecumenism is a powerful concept to me so I love going to Taizé every summer to refresh and recharge my spiritual life. It also teaches me more and more about how Christians in different countries live, pray, and most importantly, how we can all work together as Christians to spread the Gospel.
Last April, I was a bit lost. I was working hard on my music and pre-production had started with Andrew Ascough for the pro-life music video of my debut single, Every Time. We got an increased number of gigs but everyone made money except me. I was even paying for the rehearsals I had with the band, so I was actually losing money! Also, I had spent two years wanting to drop out of college. Overall, I was searching for a way of using my gifts and talents to express my faith in the best way possible.
I had been looking into the idea of setting up Catholic Underground in Dublin, but the idea didn’t grab me. Several people suggested I focus on worship music, that didn’t enthuse me either. I have always enjoyed the freedom of variety in my music, rather than limiting myself to Christian Contemporary Music. The rest of the music industry seems to sideline it, decreasing the impact such great evangelisation can have on non-Christians.
Over time, I heard a call to bridge the gap between Christianity and the music industry. Excited but unsure, I decided to gauge interest with some friends. They all loved the idea and signed up to the mailing list for more information. I kept discerning. Every Time became a test for the market.
Testing the waters with Every Time
In June, we shot the video for Every Time. It was a crazy time. We planned everything in minute detail for three months beforehand, but everything fell apart and we had to start over with three weeks to go! We encountered so many challenges and obstacles, but at every barrier, something better came along. The only word I could think of throughout the whole thing was “providence”. I knew God was telling me that so long as I was working for him, everything would be okay – he would provide. My favourite Bible passage has always been Matthew 6:25-34. Putting the two together, calling the record label ‘Providence’ was a no-brainer in the end!
That summer, I had trips to Taizé, the Youth 2000 Summer Festival in Roscrea, and Krakow for World Youth Day, where I was able to discern closely where God was calling me. I came home and started looking earnestly for pro-life groups to support the video, which resulted in a sponsorship deal with Women Hurt, a group that offers support to those affected by abortion regret.
We launched it at the annual Pro-Life Campaign conference in October to over 800 people. Within three weeks, it had more than 5,000 YouTube hits and press coverage in three continents! On Christmas Eve, New Catholic Generation (the Catholic equivalent of Buzzfeed) included a shout-out for the video in the Christmas episode of Catholic Social Media News.
We had a launch party in Tivoli Backstage at the end of October. Towards the end, of the night, I thanked God for all he had done for me. We started playing Matt Maher’s Lord I Need You. The audience got to their feet and joined in at the top of their voices. It was the most emotional experience I’ve ever had onstage. I had to stop playing halfway through, but thankfully the band and the crowd kept going. We then picked up the tempo with a rock version of Brenton Brown’s Hallelujah (Your Love Is Amazing) and Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door before closing the night with Every Time. I came away feeling like God had given me everything I needed to start praising his name in the public sphere. The Every Time test passed with flying colours so it was time to kickstart Providence Records!
So what does Providence Records do?
There are a lot of things in store for Providence Records.We could go international someday, providing employment for lots of people and becoming a powerhouse in evangelising the Christian message through the arts. For now, we’re starting off with regional showcases, a blog, and artist development:
Providence Records’ regional showcases are an opportunity to hear the best Christian artists in their local music scene! We’re targeting Dublin, Galway, Cork, and Belfast, so we aim to find talent in every corner of Ireland.
Artists will have the opportunity to play for Christian fans, sell their music and merch, and get paid fairly. This is also an opportunity for potential signed artists to initiate the process. Apply now to play at the next showcase near you!
The first showcase will be held on the 4 March in Dublin in Tivoli Backstage, headlined by Cormac Buckley, with support from myself, and the opening act being brothers from the Catholic National Seminary, Anthony & Pio Hartnett.
What better way of promoting the Christian message through music than becoming a platform for the Christian message, music, and the combination of the two?
The Providence Records weekly blog will keep you in touch with everything to do with the gospel in music, and other related topics. Keep an eye out for the Song Of The Month, where we review our favourite new songs and look at the Christian message within. This month’s track is Sparrows by Jason Gray.
Providence Records will work with its signed artists to maximise their career in music while simultaneously spreading the Gospel.
We will tailor for each signed act, which may include recording and releasing new music; live production training; marketing and business development; merchandising; and publishing and licensing.
If you want to get involved in any way, from volunteering to help with promotion or to work for Providence Records, send me a message via the Contact page, and I’ll be in touch!
Have a great week!
If you want to find out more about Providence Records, sign up to the mailing list to be the first to hear of any news!
Tickets for the launch are available on Ticketor.