Press Play’s home is the LA-based Dream Center, which is hardly your parent’s music… or church for that matter. This organic band is fresh, hip, cutting-edge and overwhelmingly ground-breaking with its mission and “ahead of the trend” sound. If you weren’t paying close attention to Press Play’s up-tempo songs with beats, licks and raps, you might overlook the deep lyrics about faith, appreciation, love and acceptance. But the band’s passion and breathtaking performance definitely doesn’t let that happen.
With a striking image and youthful energy, Press Play will literally take its music and message out of The Dream Center and across the country, from New York to L.A, throughout this summer, fall, winter and into 2011. The 100-city tour will kick off on July 29th with Dream Center founder, Matthew Barnett. The band is scheduled to play in major arenas and churches across the country, to audiences of 2,000 – 16,000. “There’s a lot of space in-between the two coasts and we want to play as many cities as humanly possible,” Press Play’s founder and lead singer Dave Hanley says.
The band’s current single, “NY2LA,” from its sophomore album, releasing August 24, is already breaking all over radio. “NY2LA” is a big, fresh and catchy song with a unique melody and inspiring lyrics encouraging revolutionary change across the country, for all who hear it. In the vein of the well-known “Macarena,” the single, “NY2LA,” is already gaining traction across the country, with fan’s nationwide submitting video renditions of the signature “NY2LA” dance moves, which the band has also included in the song’s music video.
In addition to the band’s lead singer, musical director, founder and producer Dave Hanley, Press Play consists of co-lead singer Sada K, Chad Denney on drums, Jon Alexander on bass guitar, Joel Bodker on keyboards & vocals and Tyler Logan on guitar. A portion of all funds raised from Press Play are donated to The Dream Center charities.
“We want to give people a hand up, not a hand out,” Dave says. Gina Hanley, who is married to Dave and also sings back-up with the group. The couple met when they were 8-years-old, married when they 18-years-old and have been serving God ever since. The Hanleys have been in leadership at the L.A.-based Dream Center for over 13 years, helping first-hand on a daily basis, with the hundreds of outreach programs that the Dream Center offers and have been at Matthew Barnett’s side from almost Day One, in the creation and development of the L.A. Dream Center.
While NY2LA is Press Play’s sophomore release, the band has been recording music for more than 10 years, with 9 CD’s under its belt, recorded throughout many years at The Dream Center’s church services.
In 2008, Universal Records A&R Executive Rhoda Lawrence saw Press Play on YouTube and signed them immediately. Press Play saw this new partnership with Universal Records as an amazing opportunity to help raise funding for The Dream Center.
Upon the band’s debut release through its new partnership with Universal Records, Press Play enjoyed a ride to the top when its record, Life Is Beautiful shot to #2 on Billboard’s Christian chart and went to #45 on the Billboard Top 200 mainstream chart. Press Play was suddenly in the national spotlight performing on NBC’s TODAY Show, meeting with ABC, appearing on FOX News and with features in national newspapers, magazines and on numerous national TV outlets.
Founded 15 years ago by a then 20-year-old Matthew Barnett, The Los Angeles Dream Center seems to have taken a cue from the famous “Field of Dreams” movie -- “If you build it they will come.”
The numbers and statistics surrounding The Dream Center are mind-boggling and even when touring the place in person, its hard to believable that the work actually carries at such a magnitude on a daily basis. Situated on 9 acres (the former Queen of Angels Hospital), The Los Angeles Dream Center is like a church on steroids. Matthew Barnett actually calls it the “church that never sleeps,” open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Not only are they literally “open,” 24/7 but they are doing the things that a church exists to do, not just talking about it.
Aside from the fact that the actual Sunday morning & Thursday evening services are attended by plenty of well-known Hollywood-type personalities (including Patricia Heaton, Sinbad, Kathie Lee Gifford, E! News host Jason Kennedy, Tyler Williams, Elijah Kelley and others), their presence is nearly paled in comparison to the Monday – Saturday work going on long after the “church” services have ended. The Dream Center has over 200 programs including homeless outreach, drug & alcohol recovery homes, teen programs, GED training, gang recovery, adopt-a-block and an endless list of others. Quite simply, The Dream Center’s main goal is to “get people off of the street, give them something to eat to begin, train them and get them back to being a productive part of society.”
Today, 180 Dream Centers dot the map across the country, with additional centers opening on a regular basis. In addition to all that they are currently doing across the nation, Matthew Barnett has an even new vision to raise money for the Dream Center’s latest endeavor of creating “Emancipation Homes.”
“Emancipation Homes” is a transitional housing program for 18-year-olds who “age out” of the foster care system and suddenly find themselves having to quickly learn how to make money in order to live. The Dream Center has found that many of these 18-year-olds are ill equipped to function in society and turn to the streets, drugs, gangs and prostitution for their survival. Through Matthew Barnett and Press Play’s musical ambition, the “Emancipation Homes” will work to give new adults skills and training needed to obtain and hold a job as well as prepare them for their GED, if necessary. The Dream Center’s research has shown that there is a high statistical percentage of people who land in prison after ageing-out of the foster care system after being left with few options and with nowhere to go.
It is incredible to imagine that all those years ago, music producer Rodney Jerkins’ donation of some speakers, microphones and a sound board would have propelled a little known band called Press Play to take its message and its music out of the church to change and inspire lives around the world.