conference spotlight By caroline lusk hit the road On July 28, singers, players, worshippers and leaders will convene at the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., for a one-of-a-kind training and competitive event that is a veritable crash course in the Christian music industry. IMMERSE, presented by the Gospel Music Association (GMA) is the kind of conference that can and does change lives, impact the industry and take giant leaps forward for the kingdom. GMA’s Justin Fratt, events and sponsorships manager, shares with CCM what it is that puts IMMERSE into a league of its own. CCM: What exactly is IMMERSE? Justin Fratt: IMMERSE is a training and competition event for indie artists, songwriters, worship leaders and future music business professionals. CCM: Who should attend? JF: If you love making music—whether on the stage or behind the scenes—you’ve gotta be at IMMERSE! CCM: What sets this conference apart from others? JF: IMMERSE is the only training and competition event that connects attendees to the best resources in Christian music. Our judges and teachers represent all the major Christian record labels and publishing companies, and they all enjoy connecting with and encouraging IMMERSE attendees. CCM: The competition—is this just “American Idol” for the Christian world, or are you looking for more than killer vocal chops? JF: Our goal for the IMMERSE competition is to uncover up-and-coming artists and songwriters. We’re not just looking for talent; but for individuals who have a heart for sharing the Gospel. CCM: How does IMMERSE represent what GMA is all about? JF: GMA is all about exposing, promoting and celebrating the Gospel through music and part of the way we accomplish this is to invest in the next generation of music. By educating, discovering and inspiring the up-and- coming artists, songwriters, worship leaders and future industry leaders we hope IMMERSE will help to ensure the long-term growth and success of Christian music. IMMERSE a Worship experience nAshville, tn CCM 17