A7: Inspirational Urban Soul Music
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CBN.com THEY’RE NOT JUST ABOUT MUSIC
A7 is not just a musical group of five brothers and one godbrother, with an eclectic type of music they call “inspirational urban soul” (a mix of jazz, Motown R&B, classical, blues, rock, hip-hop, gospel and other ethnic sounds). It is a group composed of pastors, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, a lawyer, a social worker, and a mathematician. The group uses all their gifts and talents, concurrently if the areas that they minister to need it. For example, the group will sometimes minister in smaller groups or solo (depending on the need) and do music, outreach in their areas of specialization, or both.
All the brothers have twenty college degrees between them, and value the importance of faith, family, and education. If you ask them specifically important points to them they would be:
1) A strong case against abortion: their mother was told she shouldn’t have more than two children, because her rare blood type would cause birth defects in her children. She didn’t listen and went on to have eight children (five boys and three girls).
2) The group consists of five brothers and a godbrother (Antonio) and they are very much a family.
3) The importance of education: they have 20 college degrees between the six of them.
4) They promote celibacy (Antonio is the only one who is married).
In between their various ministries and schedules, the Harris brothers got together, and made a debut album, A7. Mainly written and composed by the group, the album showcases all their musical training and experiences with what they have learned and developed spiritually.
In 2007, A7 was able to make special appearances and short tours around their regular jobs, developing a strong following. Their music was well-received throughout 2007, even earning them a nomination for Best Song, for Don't Walk Away at the Gospel Choice Awards. When they recently switched record labels, their debut album was re-released in Sept. 2007, with a few bonus tracks; an a capella version of Mary Don't Weep, God Bless America and Father Stay. Their desire is to "whisper peace to the distressed, hope to the despondent and joy to the disheartened,” bringing to light the Lord's good promises and the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Alexander, the lead singer and driving force of A7, wrote their hit song, Don’t Walk Away. He wrote the song in college during a rough time in his life. Alexander thought it would be better to quit school, but he stuck it out and now has a Bachelor of Arts in human services and psychology; Master in social work; and Master in theology.
THE STORY BEHIND A7
The Harris family is a tight-knit group. Pastor James and Carolyn Harris have been ministers and educators and instilled the importance of faith, family, and education to their children. The Harris children learned to do what is pleasing to God and to trust in Him and had wonderful examples of how to do that by watching their parents. Pastor Harris would love when the five boys (Alonzo, Arcelious, Alexander, Andronicus, and Antipas – Antonio is a godbrother) and three girls (Naomi, Miriam, and Mia) would worship together at church.
After a while, the girls didn’t want to sing anymore. It was then that the boys wanted to form a gospel boy group. This was about the time the boy bands, [like the Backstreet Boys] were popular. “A” is the first letter in all six group members’ names. When they were younger, they called themselves the “A-Boys.” As they matured, their sound matured. They decided to modify the group’s name to reflect their growth as people and musicians. There are six brothers and “7” is the acknowledgement of the presence of God. Also, in the scriptures, the number “7” signifies completion or maturity.
Individually as well as collectively, the Harris brothers learned to develop and use all their gifts, talents and interests, through the leadings and power of the Holy Spirit, as they have grown in their relationship with the Lord. Along with ministering to people through A7, they also reach out to communities in need with their non-profit organization, In Touch with Community, Inc. (ITWC Inc.).
MEET THE MEMBERS OF A7
Antipas - Pianist, songwriter, and co-producer. As a child prodigy, he began playing the piano by ear as a toddler (two-years-old). Also, Antipas has served as associate pastor at A House of the Living God in Manchester, Georgia for more than 10 years. He has served the Covenant Congregational Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts as youth pastor, Cornerstone Christian Center in Milford, Connecticut as youth director, Christ Chapel New Testament Church in New Haven, Connecticut as associate pastor, and Abundant Life Church of God in Tyrone, Georgia as music pastor. His sincere love for God leads this dynamic young man to his ministry as a profound teacher, evangelist, mentor, and pastoral care-giver. He offers pastoral care to adults and high school and college students. Antipas presents academic lectures, delivers motivational and inspirational speeches, has ministered and conducted ministry trips in Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada and Germany. Currently, Antipas serves as Assistant Professor of Practical Ministry (Urban Ministry) at Regent University School of Divinity. He holds a Doctorate in Practical Theology (Church and Society) from Boston University School of Theology, a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University Divinity School, a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology (Emory University), and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Music Technologies and Religion from LaGrange College. He has won several awards and accolades as a young scholar and has studied at Harvard University, Boston College and the Gordon Conwell School of Theology. Antipas’ interests include theology, science, philosophy, travelling, skating, fishing, sunset walks on the beach and ethnic foods. Antipas’ motto is “Do all you can for God and others while you can and through Christ who is able to strengthen all.”
Arcelious - Drummer, singer, songwriter and lyricist, and also designs clothes. Currently, besides playing music with his brothers, he is a graduate from LaGrange College. He also produces and helps to develop other "aspiring artists." He is currently studying music technology at NYU. He is also an arranger/producer.
Alonzo - Keyboardist, organist, pianist, lyricist and composer for both popular and classic musical compositions. His talents showed themselves early when he was a young child. His educational credits are impressive. Graduated from LaGrange College with a degree in Creative Music Technology. Earned a Masters of Music with a concentration in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass. He currently teaches at Berklee College of Music.
Alexander - Lead singer with two Master degrees. He is a classically trained singer who has toured with the LaGrange College Tour choir. He was a winner of the NATS award for his abilities in singing classical music. Also having a heart for the ministry, Alexander graduated from LaGrange College with a B.A. in Human Services and Psychology. He then earned his Masters of Social Work at Boston University, and went on to earn his Masters of Theology. He uses all his gifts to minister the word of God through music and reaching out to those in need. He has served as a youth pastor and singing evangelist in his churches. His greatest joy: "Reaching out to the community and seeing to the welfare of those in need."
Andronicus - Group's electric guitarist and bassist, songwriter - also a pastor and a lawyer! He first earned a degree at LaGrange College completing a B.A. in English with a minor in Religion. Continuing on, he earned a Masters of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In 2005, He earned the Juris Doctorate at Mercer University School of Law. Being a gifted speaker, Andronicus spreads the gospel message through his preaching as a co-associate pastor at his home church and as a traveling evangelist. He is also a youth mentor, counselor and life coach.
Antonio - Tenor voice to the four part harmonies found in A7's vocals, an educator and a gifted youth minister with a flair for counseling youth. Antonio is a husband to Soraya and father to his children: Alexandria, Damarisse, Giovanna, Jayden and infant son Miguel. He earned his A.S. from Gordon College, his B.A. in Mathematics from LaGrange College and a Masters of Education from Columbus State University. He also earned an ED.S. from Columbus State University. Musical influences: The Jacksons, Al Green, The Temptations, Sam Cook, The Winans, Shirley Caesar and The Beatles.
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