Songs for the Soul

Talented Lee’s Summit Teenager Produces Worship CD

By the age of 17, Samuel Noel had written 300 songs out of experiences he had with God. A few of his friends had, too. Between the three of them, they had composed more than 800.

Last summer he realized it was not okay for all those songs to be collecting dust.

“I decided I was going to make a CD and include as many people as I could,” he says. “Our pastor built a really nice studio at our church campus for us and told us to ‘go for it.’”

Noel and his friends attend World Revival church in Lee’s Summit, a faith community that cultivates a passion for musical expression in their worship. As a result, talent abounds, and ultimately 43 local artists contributed to the project, as well as some pros: KC Christian Music Blues Artist of the Year Dan Gray, well-known local gospel singer Satara Brown, and Ryan Keeler, a professional from Nashville.

“The people who helped on this are incredible,” says Noel. “When you unite, you can accomplish anything. We truly united through this.”

Noel started arranging in June, putting in about 100 hours while also working three jobs to pay for the production. Recording started in July and took three months, then one month for editing and production. Noel writes conceptually, capturing a musical theme with chords. “Really great musicians then play the concept rather than exact notes,” he explains. “It leaves room for musicians to respond to the Spirit of God. We sit down and jam together, get the feel of where we want the music to go.”

What drew the group together was a shared perspective of music as a vehicle to experience the presence of God, and a desire to share that with others. “The human heart is the key to reach that destination,” Noel explains. And, they believe music helps access the heart. “At the end of every service at church, our pastor leaves us to make a decision. Either apply the message or not. That conflict within us has to have a resolution.” They hope their songs help others with that process.

Producing such a project is remarkable for any person, not to mention a 17-year-old student. Part of his gift is the result of years of practice.

“I’ve been playing music since I was 11 years old,” Noel says. He started on piano with Dustin Smith who not only gave him a solid foundation of the basics, but also held Noel to a high standard of songwriting. “One time I wrote a song in 15 minutes and played it for him in my lesson. Dustin asked how long it too me to write it. He said he could tell I didn’t fight it out, didn’t encounter God in the writing. His being straight with me forced me to persevere and push myself. Which ultimately prepared me to be able to lead a corporate body through a song by wrestling with God myself first.”

And, part of Noel’s exceptional abilities are a result of that wrestling, which Noel struggles to find the words to describe. “I can’t explain it… I grab a song, play the chords, sing the chorus, find the tempo, and worship. When I’m alone in my basement, it’s time to talk to God, to be with God. Christian music is to express your experience with God, not just your musicality.”

The project inspired others in the World Revival community to create, and there are five albums in the works right now. “Now people see they can do it, too,” says Noel, who is getting to be part of arranging and producing some of them.

“I love my church… the sense of community and family we have there. We experience God every single service.”

The graphic design, artwork and case were designed and packaged locally. “Mighty King” is available on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon and Apple Music. For more information about the project, contact Harmony of Heaven LLC at 816.799.1329 or 816.916.5053.