With a passion for engaging with others through powerful and gospel-centered worship music, songwriter Eric Defend joined vocalist Ben Bylsma in 2019 to create music that magnifies God's glory and draws others into His presence. The result is their new EP, Awaken Me, which combines cinematic and orchestral styles with a contemporary worship format to create songs that are deeply emotive and impactful.
Currently volunteering as worship leaders at their home church in Urbana, IL, the duo shares more than 15 years of worship leading between them. With the recent success of their songs "Awaken Me" and "In Your Ways" as finalists in the Great American Song Contest, they now hope to bring their music beyond the walls of their church to encourage and inspire listeners around the world.
Bob Marovich, founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gospel Music, writes of their title track "Awaken Me":
"Featuring a liquidy electronic backdrop fronted by a persistent piano riff, the title track is a melodic prayer of thanksgiving for being rescued from a metaphoric sleep and given the glory of a righteous life. Despite the musical understatement, a throbbing tension keeps the listener engaged."
Eric Defend further explains this message:
"The storms in our lives can make us vulnerable, uncertain, and afraid; yet often God is able to use these times of chaos and uncertainty to awaken us to His calling. Our EP ‘Awaken Me’ is about being awakened from the false promises of the world to experience the good and true promises of God."