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Origin Durban, South Africa
Genres Contemporary Christian music, contemporary worship music
Years active 1996–2009, 2014–present
Labels InPop, Survivor
Members John Ellis
Darryl Swart
Daniel Ornellas
Past members Scoop
Martin "Mort" Engel
Thinus "Tain" Odendaal

Tree63 is a contemporary Christian music band from Durban, South Africa.


The band was formed in 1996 and originally, it was unnamed. In 1997, the band had to come up with a name before performing at North Beach, Durban, and came up with "Tree". They added the "63" part of their name in 2000 due to a naming conflict with an American band.[1] 63 had been the name of their second album, which was named in reference to Psalm 63.[2]

'We were originally just "Tree", after the numerous references in the Bible to trees: the garden of Eden, the cross Jesus hung on etc. "63" was the title of our second record, and it came from Psalm 63. When we got to the States in 2000, we discovered a band in Boston called "Tree" already, and they were unwilling to give up their band name, so we had to either alter or change ours. The compromise was "Tree63".'

— John Ellis, Interview with Christian Music Daily


Their first album released in the United States, Tree63, won the GMA Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year in 2001.[3]

Tree63's recording of Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name" helped to spark the song's popularity. This recording was featured on the 2005 edition of WOW Hits and was nominated for two Dove Awards. On a 2 February 2007 broadcast of 20, The Countdown Magazine (special edition, Praise and Worship), guest Chris Tomlin described Tree63's rendition of "Blessed Be Your Name" as "...the definitive recording of one of the most all-encompassing songs in the entire world of Christian music." The song was then announced as the number 3 Praise and Worship song of all time.[4]

Tree63 parted ways in 2009, and John Ellis returned to South Africa, where he started his solo career. His debut solo album, Come Out Fighting, was released in June 2010.

Splashy Fen Music Festival announced that Tree63 would be part of their line-up in 2014.[5]

In November 2014, Tree63 released previously unreleased songs from 2006. They claimed that the tracks were considered candidates for their Sunday! album.[citation needed]

After reconvening in 2014 for a series of celebratory South African concerts, talk of a new album and resumed live work resurfaced and the band began work on their new album in Nashville in November 2014.



  • John Ellis — vocals, guitar, piano
  • Darryl Swart — drums
  • Daniel Ornellas — bass


  • Thinus "Tain" Odendaal — drums
  • Jon "Scoop" Randall — bass, backing vocals
  • Martin "Mort" Engel — bass



  • UNFINISHED DREAM – Songs from the Sunday Sessions [6]


In 2005, Tree63's version of Matt Redman's song, "Blessed Be Your Name", was nominated for a Dove Award for "Song of the Year" and won the "Worship Song of the Year" award at the 36th GMA Dove Awards.[7]


  1. ^ a b Christian Music Daily. Interview with John Ellis of Tree63, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  2. ^ Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 959–960. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  3. ^ "Dove Award Recipients for 2001 Archived 20 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine.". Published by the Gospel Music Association. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
  4. ^ 20 The Countdown Magazine
  5. ^ "Splashy Fen #25 The 'Must-Do' Event Of The Year". Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b " Tree63 discography". Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  7. ^ 2005 Dove Awards - 36th Annual Dove Awards on; Jones, Kim

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