Like his brother, Russell stars in Canyon Worship

Madison Russell had three songs on Canyon Worship during her first two years at GCU. (Photo by Elizabeth Tinajero)

Sixth in a series featuring the 10 student artists who wrote the songs for Canyon Worship 2021, slated for release in September. Today: Madison Russell.

By Rick Vacek
CUU Information Office

Some people might have expected that Harrison russell, a star of Canyon Worship albums before graduating in 2019, to enter the Worship Arts program and pick up where it left off.

Russell’s sister was not among them.

“I was actually quite intimidated when I first got here,” said Madison Russel, now a junior at Grand Canyon University. “Moving across the country and starting from scratch and not knowing anyone – my brother had already graduated – that was pretty scary.

“This season of life, my first semester of freshman, I had to depend on the Lord in a way that I had never really had before because I didn’t know anyone. Being an introvert can be really scary.

These days, his songwriting talent is frightening. A year after making the album in first year, she is the only student artist to have two songs on Canyon Worship 2021. In other words, she is now a star.

It’s not like she spent years and years preparing for this moment. Although she estimates that she starts one or two songs a week and finishes about one a month, she has only been writing music for three or four years. Looks like she’s been doing it for a lot longer.

“I always wanted to, but I was just scared I guess and didn’t really feel like I had something to say or if I tried to write it wouldn’t be good.” , she said. “I think that’s an important lesson – don’t be afraid to try something. More than anything, I think I was just afraid to fail – too afraid. You can apply this to any part of your life.

A great example of his success is “All I Want”. Dr Randall Downs, Coordinator of Worship Arts, finds her irresistible.

“It’s such a catchy song,” he said. “Ever since she sang it at the Songwriters Showcase, it’s been ringing in my head.”

Russell wrote it last year at the start of the pandemic when the lockdowns began. She was upset that she had to leave campus early and return home to North Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I was really sad and I wasn’t ready for the end of my freshman year,” she said. “I really felt the Lord say to me, ‘Draw near to Me and seek Me and if you seek My presence, I will give you the joy that you seek and I will restore your heart.’ It served me while I was writing it.

But there is nothing sad about it.

“It’s more of an upbeat song with fun, jazzy chords,” she said. “I would say it’s probably more festive. The message behind the song is to want the Lord above all else and to be desperate for his presence and to want him involved in all aspects of your life.

She certainly makes everyone upbeat, whether she’s singing or hanging out.

“Madison’s smile will light up a room. You can’t help but smile back ”, Recording Studio Manager Eric Johnson mentionned. “At first glance, Madison is calm, humble, and a good listener – the kind of person you would like to call ‘friend’. I think that’s why I’m always pleasantly surprised when I hear him sing.

“When you hear Madison sing, it immediately becomes evident that God has given her a gift – a gift that is undoubtedly a blessing to all who hear it. His songwriting tells a story, and the story points to God and his works. Madison is definitely an artist to watch. Her songs and her voice will captivate and bless.

Russell wrote his other song on the album, “Still Good,” last fall after returning to campus for his sophomore year.

“I just felt inspired to write about the goodness of God no matter what,” she said. “This year has been sad for many different reasons, and there have been many times that I personally have been tempted to sit down and mourn and be in this sadness for all the things that are happening. were produced.

“But the Lord directed me to the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel. Just before being thrown into the fiery furnace, they said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “We know that our God is strong enough to deliver us from the furnace, but even if he does not, we refuse to worship you and we know our God is good. .

“We love to sing about the victory and the triumph and all the times that God has come through, but there are stories in the Bible of times when God called people to endure or to climb the mountain instead of just straying from it. path for them. I wanted to write a song that focuses only on this aspect of worshiping God and praising God, regardless of your current situation.

It’s easy to see that Russell has spent a lot of time dwelling on the events of the past year and a half – and growing from them. “The Lord has shaped me in so many ways,” she said. “I’m so glad I had this experience of having to rely on Him.”

She even found the strength to be less introverted.

“I had to adapt. It’s not my natural tendency to go up and introduce myself or talk to new people, but it’s definitely something I’ve had to practice on over the past year or so.

His writing, on the other hand, comes naturally. As for his brother.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


Related content for Canyon Worship 2021:

GCU today: The music of Canyon Worship has grown

GCU today: From the chapel to the cult of the canyon, his ministry heals

GCU today: Marchegger feels at home on a spiritual journey

GCU today: The song Blue’s Canyon Worship is part of its nature

GCU today: His Canyon Worship Wait Ends With “Pending”


Related content from previous Canyon Worship albums:

GCU today: Canyon Worship Finds God Amidst Struggles of 2020

GCU today: Prepare for a better-than-ever Canyon cult

GCU today: They’re all in the same boat on Canyon Worship

GCU today: Students, Genders Come Together in Canyon Worship

GCU today: “Amazing” Canyon Worship album released

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