Monday, July 27, 2009
Go Fish entirely about family fun
ARNOLDS PARK-Jamie Statema knew he had something special from the very beginning.
While he initially struggled between his musical aspirations and youth ministry, Statema found his calling at a concert over a decade ago when a Canadian band called The Nylons visited St. Paul, MN, where the Rock Valley native was residing.
It was the first time he had seen an a capella group perform with a pop production flair, and Statema was hooked to the sound, deciding he wanted to incorporate some of the same elements into Christian music.
In 1993, he formed Go Fish, originally a mainstream band that has transformed its sound over the years to become one of the most sought after family-oriented Christian groups in the nation.
The switch wasn’t immediately met with praise, though.
Originally signed to Nashville-based InPop Records and comprised of different band mates, Go Fish went through a reconfiguration when two members moved on to other ambitions and Jason Folmann and Andy Selness joined Statema in 1998.
Four years later, the trio began to take notice of the large amount of families with young children coming to their concerts.
“We thought it’d be fun to do a CD for kids, so we approached our record label with our idea and they thought it was the dumbest idea to do after we had built up our careers,” Statema said.
Go Fish was convinced it wouldn’t need to change its music, per say, just gear an album toward the younger generation.
“The label didn’t want any part of it, and said we’d be out of our record deal if we did it, so we decided to get out and did ‘Splash’ six years ago,” Statema said. “It went bonkers immediately, and it was very evident it was music kids and parents could enjoy together, so we pretty much quit doing everything else and now focus solely on families with young kids. It’s been amazing.”
While many of the band’s songs are fun and goofy, Statema finds songwriting inspiration from his three-year-old son combined with God’s word.
“Our mission to follow Christ and be fishers of men has always been the same, so not only do we have fun, but we teach kids about the gospel and the Bible to get inspiration for our songs,” Statema said. “Studying the Bible and seeing first-hand on a daily basis what a great book God has given us is a great inspiration in itself. I think a lot of people that maybe doubt it or don’t understand it have probably never studied it. The more I study it, I am just amazed from beginning to end how seamlessly it’s rolled together.”
Families in Northwest Iowa can gather to hear Go Fish open the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference at 7:15 p.m. Friday, July 31.
Statema guarantees everyone in attendance will have a great time.
“We’re going to put on a great show. Whether you know our music or you’re 5 or 55, we are entertainers and you are going to have a great time,” he said. “I love doing our concerts and seeing kids and grandparents enjoying it together. It’s a rare thing to find these days."
This article appeared in the July 25, 2009 edition of DISCOVER! Magazine.