While many artists crafting music in the faith-based realm aim to deliver songs to a multi-generational audience, SEU Worship purposefully focuses their songwriting in the direction of 16- to 26-year-olds.
Their latest project, Mixtape 1B Clouds Are Clearing (all digital smartURL), brings the group even closer to their goal of breaking lyrical boundaries and exploring production elements not typically found within the contemporary christian worship music space.
Dan Rivera and Kenzie Walker, two of SEU Worship’s core artists, told American Songwriter the comfortability they have with writing and producing music specifically aimed at a younger age demographic actually increases the level of freedom they feel in the creation process.
“The Mixtape stretched a muscle that is basically us experimenting with what worship music could sound like in a way that maybe other larger more prevalent artists aren’t able to,” Rivera explains. “We just like to experiment and take risks and kinda go for it and try it and at least we made some friends along the way.”
SEU Worship, based out of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, utilizes an approach to songwriting Rivera calls “prophetic pop.” In their songwriting process, the group seeks to approach concepts of the faith in potentially untouched ways, being bold enough to lay everything on the table from the very start of a song.
As an emerging artist in the youth worship space, Walker notes it is exciting to partner with students who are also songwriters and artists on their own, encouraging them to write from a guttural level of honesty and rawness in their faith experience.
“I consider SEU worship a pioneer in that space,” Walker said. “God is on the move with the church and is really pushing us past what we always did.”
Riviera notes the group seeks to “partner with the creativity of the Spirit of God but stay faithful to the word of God simultaneously,” and gives young people the language of faith through music that would land on their Friday night playlist.
Collaborating with other artists revolving within the pop-worship space such as Hillsong Young & Free, Rivera and Walker emphasize how open the space is for multiple groups crafting songs in such a pointed demographic while also harnessing different sounds and attitudes with both the lyrical and sonic content.
“The world is getting so big and there’s so many people listening to music that are looking for stuff that speaks to them and encourages them,” Rivera says. “Now is the time for us to kinda get past the ‘oh but they’re doing this,’ and to ‘oh, well what do I want to do?’.”
While there may be other artists in a similar vein as SEU Worship, Rivera notes that because the shere consumption of music is so large, the room and need for music creation coming from different artists in a similar niche is significant.
“If you love it and you’re inspired to do it, probably God’s going to use it in a mighty way. Go for it anyway,” Rivera continues.
As collaborations between artists within and outside the direct SEU Worship community continues to grow, Rivera says the group hopes to inspire and encourage the next generation of songwriters, empowering them to confidently explore the opportunity to create music.
“You can do this thing, you can write songs and worship God through it,” Rivera says.