After developing his musical gifts as a college student in the suburban Oregon scene alongside Paul Wright and Shawn McDonald, Ryan Stevenson went on to become a teacher and then an emergency medical technician, though he couldn’t ever shake musical ambitions. In the interim, he sent a slew of demos to BEC Recordings and eventually signed to release Yesterday, Today, Forever, an innovative modern worship album loaded with an electronic/ programmed pop sound that finally brings Stevenson’s artistry full circle. ccm: Why did you decide to pursue other careers rather than diving straight into music? StevenSon: At the time, Paul and I were playing in a band called Frunt Row Joe. We had worked very hard and were starting to get noticed around the Northwest. Just after one particular performance, Paul What’s NeW by andy argyrakis With… Ryan StevenSon was offered a solo deal with Gotee. I was engaged to be married and had a choice to make of continuing on in the band or taking a teaching position. Due to financial decisions and a family to imminently begin supporting, I decided to lay the music down in order to logistically survive. It was extremely difficult to give that piece of my life up as I felt entitled to part of that success. However, God was asking me to trust Him with my future. In hindsight, I see how the Lord had a lot of work to do in me, and a lot of character to develop. ccm: How has your work as an EMT inspired your artistry? StevenSon: I daily come face to face with the darkest aspects of humanity and see things that no other human being will ever see or experience. I’ve had people die in my hands. Because I am a sensitive and emotional person by nature. I take those experiences and mold them into songs and lyrics that speak of hope, healing, pain and joy. ccm: What type of mark do you hope to leave on the modern worship scene? StevenSon: My prayer is that God would use this little worship project to break down walls of fear and routine, breaking new ground for the kingdom. I pray that the heart behind the music resonates with hearts that are looking for a love encounter with Jesus Christ. Kathy tRoccoli Throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, Kathy Troccoli ruled the contemporary Christian charts with an unmistakable voice that was just as soulful as it was smooth and silky. By the 2000s, she was recording primarily on her own, often speaking at women’s conferences and hosting KT & Friends cruises. This year marks her 14th sail, spanning October 15 to October 22 including stops in Barcelona and Rome. Of course, music’s still a main priority, as evidenced by her newest album Heartsongs, which features a jazzy spin (akin to Norah Jones) on inspirational covers from Al Green, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and many more. 12 CCM