10 Questions with ... Citizen Way
October 22, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- Josh Calhoun
- Ben Calhoun
- David Blascoe
- Ben Blascoe
- Debut album currently in studio
1. Give me a brief history....birthplace, childhood, schools, jobs, current hometown
BEN - I grew up on a steady diet of Christian music, Adventures in Odyssey and McGee and Me. My parents serve in church ministry where I learned how to sing and play guitar. I mowed lawns and shoveled snow around our hometown of Milton, WI to earn money until I left for Judson University, Elgin, IL, where I graduated with a degree in Music Education. I met my first girlfriend and wife Alison my senior year at Judson. We have two girls, Ava and Savannah. We live and serve in ministry on campus at Judson. When I'm not on the road I serve as a teacher in the Worship Arts/Music Business and Entrepreneurship program at Judson. I built and run Darkroom Studios, the recording studio on campus, where I produce records for artists.
JOSH - I was born in La Mesa, California and grew up in Milton, Wisconsin. I am the youngest of three and Ben, our lead singer, is my older brother. I started playing music when I was a kid from piano to saxophone. Some of my favorite memories are with my best friends jamming. We even started a band and played any gig, any where for no money and we loved it! Outside of music I've worked an array of jobs, from cleaning toilets, to waiting tables, to mowing and trimming grass. All taught me different, but valuable life skills. Though ultimately music has always been my passion. I went to college at Judson University in Elgin, IL and graduated with a degree in Secondary Art Education. There I also met the love of my life, Kaia, and we both reside in Elgin with our two adorable dogs.
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
BEN - My kids wake up with the sun and bang on our door until we feed them. My wife and I chat over a cup of coffee and toast. We tweet and fb the funny things our kids say. Our girls love all things pink and princess so we sing to our favorite movies (currently Mary Poppins). I head to the studio or take Ava to school. Work on some new songs. Home for lunch with Alison. More song writing, artist development, Judson soccer games (I'm a team chaplain). Pick up Ava from school when I can. Dinner and walk around campus with the girls. The girls bedtime routine usually involves a lot of drama and it wears us out. We finally lure them to sleep with a book and some songs on my guitar. Alison and I watch a cooking show on Hulu. Zzzzzzzz.
JOSH - A normal day at home is wonderful! Both my wife and I are self-employed - she is a photographer and I spend the work days writing songs, teaching music lessons, and leading worship. So in the mornings we get to get up together, share a coffee and share devotional time together before going to our home offices to work. In the evenings we have a variety of commitments we attend to, one of which is a weekly date night. We also have a couples and pizza evenings, small group, and every day errands.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now (from another artist or band). Why do you like it so much?
BEN - I am a HUGE AudioAdrenaline fan. They are enormously influential on me and I am soooooo excited for their new lineup. From their album LIFT, "Summertime" is my current favorite. It rocks like only they can. I love how Mark, the former lead singer, says the phrase "lots and lots of cash" at the end of the second verse; also the ritardando on the last chord-it's just perfect.
JOSH - Currently Andrew Peterson's song Hosea off of his Resurrection Letters Volume 2 is cycling through my head. His imagery of the story of Hosea and Gomer is raw and honest yet captivatingly redemptive.
4. How do you juggle life on the road with wanting to be home? How much do you travel, what are the challenges?
BEN - The biggest challenge is staying current with home life. Simply time spent with each other is valuable so when I'm home I commit to only what's necessary outside of home. Alison and I text pics of whatever we're doing during travel days to keep our communication fun and current. Facetime with the girls on my iphone is awesome. Overall, it's a balance.
JOSH - Right now as our career is picking up we aren't gone for more than 5 - 6 days at a time. Nevertheless, when I'm home I want to spend my time with my wife and creating music, it's a blessing that music is also the reason I'm on the road. As for challenges, it was an adjustment at the beginning of our marriage but with one or two phone calls a day my wife and I still get to enjoy and share our lives together even when we are apart.
5. What's the biggest "God moment" that you've ever experienced, personal or professional? Details, please.
BEN - In 7th grade my youth pastor challenged me to trade the time I was spending on "dating" (if you can even call it that in 7th grade) for one year of daily Bible reading. It improved my life so drastically that I continued that lifestyle until I met my wife the first day of my senior year at Judson. Alison totally swept me off my feet that I couldn't imagine life without her. My parents told me that if I didn't marry her they were gonna kick me out of the family and adopt her. We met and married in 361 days. We often look back and see how He orchestrated it all. It's pretty cool.
JOSH - Around this same time last year, I started noticing changes in my voice. It became raspier by the day and I could no longer hold onto notes. It got so bad that I nearly lost my voice completely for three months. After much consultation, my doctor found some polyps in my larnyx that needed to be removed to restore my voice. It was a risky surgery because my voice could be forever changed. I was terrified that I may not be able to sing; the thing in life that brings me the most joy. Despite my fear during this difficult time, I was encouraged by a particular passage in the Bible. Zephaniah 3:17 says: "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." I knew that even if I could no longer sing, God would still rejoice over me. By the grace of God, my voice was recovered. Every day God answers prayers and reveals His works and I have been making it a practice to notice. This has been a wonderful and beautiful challenge.
6. What's the last book you read? Give me a paragraph or two about how it impacted you.
BEN - I'm currently reading THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA & THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO. I appreciate their examples the creative nature of redemption.
JOSH - The last book I read was A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Miller's honest writing and eye-opening life experiences were and are a helpful reminder to not just dream but to do. We don't have to sit in the stands while the days pass us by, we can get up and get in on the action.
7. Tell me about how you became a believer. What caused you to want to serve God in full time ministry?
BEN - My father is a pastor and my mom a talented musician. They both have powerful testimonies of redemption. I believed them when they talked about Jesus because I could see the proof of how it was continuing to shape their lives. There imperfections made them all the more reliant on the grace of God. I was 9 when I asked them to help me pray and receive Christ and my Lord and Savior. Growing up in ministry laid the groundwork for me following the call to serve The Lord with my life. CITIZEN WAY is one of the fruits of that decision.
JOSH - Growing up in the Church, and with our dad being a pastor, the Gospel was never foreign to me. I don't remember the moment, day, or year I chose Christ as my Lord and Savior, but God has always been at the forefront and I have always known the general plans He's had for me, to love Him and His people. It was in high school that music became the avenue for which I would commonly share the Gospel and continues to be so today.
8. What's the current scoop on your latest project? How's it coming along? How about the current radio single?
BEN - "Should've Been Me" is our current single on radio. I was deeply impacted by a young man at a camp who, when asked what he learned that week, said "it should've been me". He brilliantly explained the simplicity of how Jesus made a way to have a personal relationship with God. It immediately inspired the song and I sang it for everyone soon after.
JOSH - We don't have all of the tracks chosen for our next full length but we know that "How Sweet the Sound" will be included. It is a song I wrote out of the "God moment" I had surrounding the diagnosis and surgery on my vocal cords. This song became a gift and a reminder that God will never leave me and that He is right beside me singing.
9. Favorite cereal, favorite comfort food, favorite ice cream flavor?
BEN - organic hot oatmeal. organic Mexican. organic dark chocolate.
JOSH - My comfort food is pizza, almost any kind, but I really don't enjoy olives. My favorite cereal is Honey Bunches of Oats. My favorite ice cream is any kind with chocolate.
10. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.....Deities are excused from this question J
BEN - My grandfather during WWII. My dad as a college student. My wife a a teenager.
JOSH - I would love to hear from my grandpa. He was so quiet that I never got a chance to hear his story until after he died and there are so many gaps in that story that I wish he could fill for me. I look forward to chatting and fishing with him those many days in heaven.
1. Favorite Bible verse....life verse. Why?
JOSH - My current favorite verse is Psalm 119:37, "Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways." It reminds me to keep my heart focused on storing up my treasure only in heaven.
2. Funniest or most embarrassing moment?
BEN - Freshman year at Judson. I thought I was auditioning for a talent show so I sang one of my deepest most heartfelt songs. The judges awkwardly thanked me as I left the stage positive I had just secured my spot in the show. Weeks later I learned I had auditioned for a play.