|Origin||Manchester, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Contemporary Christian, hip hop, CEDM|
|Labels||Kingsway, Fierce!, LIGHT|
LZ7 are a Christian hip hop and dance group from Manchester. The band was formed in 2005 by Lindz West, a member of dance band The Tribe, who had split up the previous year. LZ7 worked for many years as a part of the Christian charity The Message Trust, working with tens of thousands of teenagers each year in schools across Greater Manchester, Maidenhead and Reading. In 2012 LZ7 moved on from being part of the Message Trust and moved under the banner of independent charitable organisation "Light".
The band released their debut album, Ruckus, in 2005. They performed live at music festivals, such as Live Audacious and Grapevine, and also featured on the 2007 Hope Revolution tour. In 2008, LZ7 released a new mini-album named Gasoline.
In 2012, LZ7 collaborated with worship leader Matt Redman, to release the single "27 Million", to raise awareness of modern-day slavery, the single hit at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart in February of that year. A music video was released alongside, which was filmed at the Passion Conference in Atlanta.
From 2013 the band re-formed their lineup and released their third studio album, Aftershow.
2004–2007: Formation and Ruckus
Lindz West, LZ7's frontman, had been a member of Manchester-based dance band The Tribe for three years from 2001. The Tribe's main focus was working with young people in high schools across Greater Manchester as part of youth charity The Message Trust, but they had also received acclaim as recording artists, winning three GMA Dove Awards.
After The Tribe disbanded in 2004, West originally intended to work with thebandwithnoname, but instead chose to create his own band, and formed LZ7 the following year, also under the banner of The Message Trust. LZ7 performed in school assemblies during 2005, and, alongside this work, played outdoor events over the summer, including Live Audacious, Grapevine and Merseyfest. Their debut album, Ruckus, was launched on 11 December 2005 at Space Christmas at the Manchester Apollo, before being officially released through Survivor Records on New Year's Eve.
LZ7's track "Cross I Carry", taken from Ruckus, featured West rapping and vocals from pop group BlushUK.
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In 2006, LZ7 contributed to two Christian youth resources with members of BlushUK and Andy Hawthorne, founder of The Message Trust. These were a DVD named Deep and an album called Start Something. Deep won a Gold Award at the Christian Broadcast Council Annual Media Awards in 2006 for Best Factual DVD. LZ7 continued to perform through 2007, playing alongside thebandwithnoname and tbc at eight dates of the 2007 Hope Revolution tour and working with the Luis Palau Evangelical Association, leading a group of Arab Christians in Cairo with a performance of their track "Cross I Carry".
2008–2011: Gasoline and Light
During 2008, LZ7 released Gasoline, a new EP that featured an early version of "This Little Light". The band continued to work in schools across Greater Manchester and perform at festivals in the UK and around the world, such as at Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne. In early 2010, Lindz West featured on "Somebody Please", a single released by contemporary Christian artists to benefit victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. LZ7's personnel changed in summer 2010 to its current line-up, ahead of their summer tour, which included dates at The Big Church Day Out, The Ultimate Event and Creation Fest.
In October, LZ7 had their first chart hit, when their single "This Little Light" made No. 26 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 4 on the UK Indie Chart. The song was originally featured on the Gasoline mini-album, but was remixed for single release and for inclusion on their 2010 album, Light. The song was the theme song for both the UK government's Shine Week 2009 and The Message Trust's own Shine Your Light campaign in 2010.
From the release of their new album and single, LZ7 went on 'The Light Tour', which saw them perform across the UK and further afield.[vague] The tour took them to festivals and local venues. Many of the gigs were end-of-week shows topping off evangelistic schools weeks. The lineup for this tour, were the members who featured on the album, West continuing as lead singer, drummer Rob Evans, Singer-dancer Nana Ntiamoah and Nic Scholey, formerly with BlushUK.
2012–2013: Twenty Seven Million and new lineup
Since the release of Light in 2010, LZ7 have gone on to release a single, "27 Million", with worship leader Matt Redman. The aim, to raise awareness of modern-day slavery and to support the A21 Campaign, an organisation that work to fight human trafficking. Released on 27 February the single hit at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart on 4 March. The band toured internationally with Redman, to raise awareness through worship/gig nights.
Since then, the band have been on-tour internationally, with dates in New Zealand and the EO Youthday in the Netherlands, along with other places.
LZ7 changed their touring lineup with a rolling lineup, with different members joining from show to show. 2012–13 saw a variety of faces at the front of the band: Adam Brown aka 'Ad-Apt' as Rapper and DJ, Jorge Mhondera as second vocalist and Joel Atkins playing drums for a period of time. The band has also saw support from 'Hobbit - The Human Soundscape' (Jack Hobbs), who has beat boxed for the band on tour and also for sessions in schools. The band often played with session musicians, such as Willie Weeks, Jake Issac & Ben Smith. LZ7 continued with schools weeks, as a main part of what they do, in not just UK schools, but much of Europe and even Australasia. These include workshops, lessons, gigs, most of which are followed by an end of week gig. From May 2013, American Ryan Sullivan, aka Remidee, joined and began fronting the band, alongside Lindz.
In May 2013, the band announced the upcoming release of their fourth album, to be called Aftershow. The title track, "#Aftershow", was released as a single, on 2 June. The album's second single, "Give out the Love", was released on 1 September. The full album was released in October 2013, containing 15 tracks of varying musical styles, from dubstep to dance. The tracks included collaborations with other artists such as Matt Redman on "Overcome by Love", Guvna B on "Whoever Said", Solomon Olds and Family Force 5 on "Next Level" and Jake Isaac on "Brave Face".
Since the release of "Aftershow" the band have continued touring with a rolling lineup, with core members Lindz West, Ryan Sullivan and Jorge Mhondera were also joined in other shows by singer Lucy West & session musicians; guitarist Willie Weeks, drummers Ben Smith & Andy Hutts .[better source needed]
In January 2015, LZ7 announced that they were working on their new album, with the working title #LZ7Album5. The album has been primarily produced with Solomon Olds of formerly of Family Force Five and Phenomenon, alongside other producers including Cassell the BeatMaker.
LZ7 continue to tour, with Lindz West at the front of the band alongside Saint Louis (Louis Read), with Jorge Mhondera as male vocalist, alongside new female vocalist Lily Jo. The band continue to play with session musicians at different shows, including Ben Smith, Andy Hutts, Jonny Pike, Willie Weeks and Jack Hobbs (Hobbit).
The music video for the first single, "So Good", premiered the on the 17 November 2015.
The second single from the album, "Home" was released on 18 March 2016 and the music video premiered on youredm.com on 11 April 2016.
The full album of 13 tracks, was released on the 27th May 2016, including featured artists: Soul Glow Activatur, Lauren Olds, Martin Smith, Ad-Apt and a remix of "Home" by Geekboy.
|This Little Light - EP||
|Year||Title||Chart peak positions||Album|
|2010||"This Little Light"||26||4||Light|
|2012||"Twenty Seven Million" (with Matt Redman)||12||—||Non-album single|
|2013||"Aftershow Festival Edition"||–||—||Non-album single|
|2013||"Give Out The love"||–||—||#Aftershow|
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