Back in September, Union Alumni Tyler Morrison and Azriel Peckham each released their own albums on iTunes, Spotify and Dropbox. While both can be found on stage singing for vespers, church and chapels, neither of them graduated with musical performance degrees.
Both Union ‘15 alumni, Morrison graduated with a bachelor's in religious education and Peckham with a bachelors in nursing.
They laughed at the fact that their passions differ from what they went to school for, but also reassured they love the jobs they have now. Morrison can be seen around campus almost daily because he works for Enrollment as coordinator/recruiter.
“I love it. It’s a really great job. It’s not like a life career, but I get to do a lot of the things that will apply to my life,” he told me with his trademark smile, “and it’s fun!”
Meanwhile, Peckham can be found across the street at Paper Kite, a little, eclectic shop—that sells kid’s clothing, cute greeting cards, and more—sandwiched between The Mill and Goldenrod.
While she enjoys her job there, she told me, “I’m mostly working on my music," adding that, “the benefit in working for local people is that they understand."
Morrison agreed, but insisted that Peckham has embraced the musician life more thoroughly.
“She’s really living the artist life. And I haven’t dived into it as much. It doesn’t pay so you have to do all sorts of little things that allow you to do it,” he told me, grinning.
The flexibility of both their jobs allowed them to work on their albums without extra strain, a bonus they both seemed grateful for.
When asked about their music and its importance, both were quick and clear to respond. Their passion for music, while not officially their careers, is thoroughly eviden. A mix of originals and covers of popular Christian songs, both albums seek to help the listener feel closer to God.
“My album is called ‘Clean Heart’,” Peckham answered with a smile, “in my relationship with Jesus, I’m always asking for a clean heart. Not for a new start, but to build up the relationship.”
Morrison joined in, adding, “‘Surrender’ has this consistent theme that states when we give control of our lives back to God, we find the most joy, the most fulfillment, the most peace and positive feelings. Everything flourishes when we give up our self control.”
Both cited other Christian artists as inspiration, particularly some that have visited Union. Bebo Norman, Sara Groves and Andrew Peterson joined together to give a concert several years ago at College View Church, a format that both admired.
“We’ve always done music together,” explained Morrison. “We both share the same passion for worship and music. Our styles are different, but when it comes to worship, we’re in the same boat. As it has happened, we’ve both been able to do our own thing, but we still have a joint YouTube account. We want to do joint worships, but then working as individuals we can do our own thing.”
Morrison further elaborated how a joint tour would be fantastic, where both could work and sing together but also have separate sets to explore their own music. Getting their music out to the world, that would and always has been the dream.
“When I came to college I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always wanted to do music but I didn’t know how. As I got closer and closer to the end of school, I realized I really wanted to do music,” Peckham explained.
She majored in nursing partially because of the pressures to finish and shared how difficult it can be for people to accept the idea of music as career, citing that it isn’t as stable or successful.
“People who love you want you to succeed; they want you to be able to live, and be comfortable,” she said, “It hurts when people say, well what about something practical. And I know it comes from a place of love, when people are trying to give you direction, but you have to pray about it a lot.”
Both she and Morrison repeatedly emphasized about the faith this new adventure took, mentioning that while it was something they both wanted to do, they didn’t expect it to happen as easily as it did.
“God has said when you obey him and serve him, he won’t let you down. It’s all about surrender, it’s been ringing in my head constantly,” Morrison said with a knowing grin.
They both are excited about the future, not knowing where this new journey will lead them, but seemingly sure that it will be where God wants. While both are content with where they are now, they commented how they are grateful their jobs allowed them the flexibility to work on their music.
“The benefit of working for local people is that they understand," Peckham said.
Despite the obstacles, both are excited to see where they’ll be heading next. Peckham summed it up best.
“It was a long time coming,” she said, “but I’m glad to be here.”
Graci Escobar is a junior studying English.