With the release of her debut album Taken
, Raylene Scarrott
has made an impressive entrance upon the Canadian Contemporary Christian Music scene. A refreshingly diverse collection of songs, it features breezy pop, Latin influences and a soul-stirring duet. This Calgary-based singer was the first Canadian independent Christian artist to make the Top 20 in Christian retail sales in Canada. As well, she finished off the year 2004 as the #2 best-selling independent. After a steady stream of top-selling ministry-driven artists from Canada, Raylene proves that the talent pool is only growing in the country that brought the world such artists as Carolyn Arends, Steve Bell, Starfield, Downhere, and many more.
Raylene's joy for music was evident even before her first birthday. Her parents recall Raylene pulling herself up in front of the stereo and bouncing to the music even before she could walk. They also remember her swinging on the swing set belting out the song "Everybody Ought to Go to Sunday School" and discovering that she could be heard from the grocery store a block and a half away. Raylene made the transition from swing set to sanctuary at the age of five with her first live performance.
Music continued to play an important part in Raylene's upbringing throughout her high school years and beyond. In high school, she sang in worship teams/ensembles in chapel and Sunday services, as well as in the Prairie High School touring choir, "His Singers". Since then, Raylene's ministry has continued through her roles as a worship leader and member of the choir at Centre Street Church in Calgary, Alberta. She has had the good fortune to perform at the 2002 & 2003 Vibe Awards, the 2004 Covenant Awards, 100 Huntley Street and at Breakforth in Edmonton, Alberta.
, definitely one of Canada's best 2004 offerings to the Christian contemporary market, features a host of well-known talent. Jody McBrayer
sings a duet with Raylene on I Surrender All
, which also features backup by Paul Brandt
. Michael Ripoll
plays flamenco guitar for a number of the songs on the album. Backup vocals are provided by Vicki Hampton
and Lisa Cochran
, who have sung backup for Wynonna and Faith Hill, respectively. "Taken"' while standing toe-to-toe with major-label releases, was produced independently, recorded in Nashville with Steve Rosen
(who also produced Paul Brandt), and released across Canada through CMC Distribution to Christian radio and retailers.
Since its release, three radio singles have received an overwhelming response from the growing Canadian Christian radio sector. Raylene is no stranger to awards. In 2001, she picked up the much-heralded GMA Academy on Campus Spotlight Award, as well as taking home the 2004 Covenant Award (the top Christian Canadian Award) for Best Pop/Contemporary Recording for her album "Taken". In 2005, she was nominated for a Juno Award (equivalent to the Grammy's in the US) for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year and a Covenant Award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
With a solid recording, strong work ethic, and Centre Street Church (one of Canada's most influential churches) providing a home base and support for her ministry, Raylene is poised to take on the challenges of the Christian music ministry life. In the Fall of 2004, still as an independent, she headlined a 3-month cross-Canada tour, proving her stage performance to match the level of production on the record.
Raylene knows that God has called her to use her voice for Him and enjoys sharing her faith with others through song. "I'll take every chance I get to use my voice and the words of a song to encourage, touch or challenge someone, as well as sing praises to my Lord." The desire of her heart, as Jabez once prayed, is that God's hand would continue to be upon her and that He would expand her territory in the Christian music industry.