When Zack Gaddis and Jared Stevenson start creating a new song, they don’t begin with a melody or a lyric. They start with bowed heads and a prayer.

“We have many ideas, but they come from God,” said Gaddis, a junior at McPherson College from Oklahoma City, Okla. “We’ve taken it into action and people love it. I think that’s being an entrepreneur.”

Those at McPherson College think so, too.

Gaddis and Stevenson, a junior from Broken Arrow, Okla., received a Horizon Fund micro-grant from McPherson College in October 2010. The fund helps McPherson College students who have a big idea take their first steps. The two used the grant to copyright their music for G1 Entertainment – their fledgling non-profit Christian music label. Their first sample album, “College Boy”, is now available at their website, www.g1stent.com  and includes the tracks: 

[wpaudio url=”http://blogs.mcpherson.edu/entrepreneurship/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/We_Can_Do_It_b.mp3″ text=”We Can Do It” dl=”0″]   [wpaudio url=”http://blogs.mcpherson.edu/entrepreneurship/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Dance_b.mp3″ text=”Dance” dl=”0″]

Gaddis said they wanted to offer music that was not just enjoyable, but also had essence and meaning. He said they wanted to be like Moses – standing before thousands as a witness to God.

“We want to go as big as we can get,” Gaddis said. “Not for the fame or the fortune, just to be on that stage telling others about God. I think that’s what God wants us to do. Even if we just reach one, our goal is accomplished.”

They’ve now started down that road, with a verbal commitment to sign with I AM Records out of Oklahoma City and plans to produce a full CD album.  Gaddis has appeared in music videos with the label’s headliner artist K-Praize. The video can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=heCxL43ulf0 and was recently featured on the front page of Christian Hip Hop site www.dasouth.com.

Gaddis and Stevenson first met as teammates on the McPherson College men’s basketball team. They discovered that each had a passion for music and began producing songs about a year ago. Stevenson creates the beats and mixes the tracks and Gaddis provides the vocals and lyrics – starting with improvised freestyling on an idea.

Creating music is a spiritual experience, Stevenson said.

“I never feel closer to God than when I’m doing music,” he said. “I never feel happier than when I’m doing music.”

Gaddis said that the Horizon Fund grant; the peaceful environment at McPherson College; and the support and encouragement of students, staff and faculty have made their artistry possible.

“I think if I wasn’t here at McPherson College,” Gaddis said. “I’m not sure that I’d be making music now.”