(Photo: CMA Media Promotions)
Capital Kings, a Christian electronic-pop music duo made up of Cole Walowac and Jonathan White, released their first full-length album just over a week ago but they're already sharing the stage with some of Christian music's biggest artists for the Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular.
"Winter Jam is packed with just unbelievable talent, unbelievable spirit, literally throughout the entire show. Nobody's gonna want to sit down. It's ridiculous. It's an awesome time," White told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
Walowac and White both grew up in the same northern Virginia town and played in a church worship band together. Desiring to take their talents to the next level, however, the pair of 22-year-olds began making beats on their laptops and started writing music when they were just out of high school.
At some point TobyMac, the Christian music sensation who is also from the same area near Washington D.C., heard their music and took Capital Kings under his wing. The duo eventually signed to the record label he co-founded – Gotee Records – and they are now the first performance of the night at the same Winter Jam shows headlined by their eight-time Grammy nominated mentor.
But TobyMac isn't the only well-known Christian artist on the tour. NewSong – the group that started Winter Jam in 1995 – Matthew West, RED and others also contribute to a show which encompasses an array of musical styles, though all of the artists share a common faith.
"We get to see these guys behind the scenes and they're just filled with Him, man, they're filled with God," said White. "And why they're there, it's so apparent. Everybody on the tour is absolutely incredible, so it's a great opportunity."
The Winter Jam website describes youth ministry as the "foundation" of the event, and as such its organizers seek to offer encouragement to youth leaders who attend. Approximately half an hour before each show, these leaders are invited to attend a reception where they can meet with some of the concert's artists, learn about youth ministry resources and take time to pray altogether.
While each event features talented musical artists, they are more than just concerts. Each night an evangelistic message is presented by Nick Hall, the founder of PULSE, a Minneapolis-based ministry that "exists to awaken culture to the reality of Jesus."
"It is a concert, but at the same time it's almost like this rallying of the troops," said White. "We're all in this together, we're not alone, and we all gotta do this for the same purpose and same goal, with humility and our God in mind. And I think everyone's getting that. Everyone leaves refreshed from the concert."
From the high energy music of Capital Kings to the pyrotechnics set off during performances by RED, White says Winter Jam can also help to show young people how much joy and fun there can be in being a Christian.
"There are times where they'll be like, 'This is a Christian concert?' And I think that's great, you know what I mean? I think that's great – they need to understand that being a Christian is the cool thing and being a Christian is the happiest thing in the world. It may not be the popular thing with everyone around you, but at the end of the day we are cool because we got Christ," he said.
The self-titled debut album by Capital Kings was released on Jan. 8, and the duo performs their radio single, "You'll Never Be Alone," in addition to several other songs at each Winter Jam event.
The East Coast leg of the Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular kicked off on Jan. 4 in Charleston, W.Va., and will continue through a total of 44 cities before its conclusion in San Antonio, Texas, on Mar. 30. A West Coast leg of the tour is to be announced later this spring.