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The Afters: 'A Beautiful Love' for the MTV Generation

By Jennifer E. Jones
CBNmusic Producer – Nashville, TN - Cinderella herself couldn’t have gotten a better break.

Once upon a time, four guys from a little known town in Texas served coffee at Starbucks and dreamt of a better life. A few years later, they’re winning Dove awards and watching their video play on MTV. Now that’s the definition of a surreal life.

As good as it's been for The Afters in ’05, Josh, Brad, Marc, and Matt are humble as they talk to CBNmusic at GMA Music Week. The southern gentlemen look back on an amazing year and discuss how their single, "Beautiful Love," ended up on MTV’s hit reality show 8th & Ocean.

“MTVu played it a lot last year. We won an award from them,” lead singer Josh Havens explains. “MTV came to us and said they were making a new show and wanted ‘Beautiful Love’ to be the theme song.”

It sounded like an offer too good to be true, and at first, the guys were admittedly skeptical.

“We weren’t sure if we wanted to be involved in something like that,” Josh continues.

The decision took much prayer, and after screening a portion of the show, The Afters realized this opportunity could mean much more than just going mainstream.

“If we just stand back and only stay in our Christian culture, then the world is gonna keep on going without the influence of Christ,” Josh says. “We hoped to tap into the MTV generation – to be able to have a voice there and allow those kids, who would be hearing other messages, to hear The Afters and the gospel message. It’s a great platform.”

Lending their music to a show that showcases the vain and at times self-indulgent lives of young models may be suspect to some. However, The Afters see it differently.

“Not everybody’s going to be happy with it, and we understand that,” Josh says. “We hope people understand that our intentions are pure, and we really see God using it in a great way.”

If there is opposition, it hasn't caused a stir. The Afters say they haven’t received much flak for being a staple on MTV. If anything, the masses are encouraging.

“We get thousands of emails and maybe a handful are [negative],” Josh says. “We always respond to each [negative] one personally and explain to them why we’re doing this. We want to be a light in the world. Every single time, the person has emailed back and said, ‘I’m sorry. Thank you for taking the time. I see that you guys really are sincere.’”

What helps them stay sincere is that, from the start, they made an album that is true to their style and their beliefs.

“When we made the record, there wasn’t even a hint or an inclination that any of this was going to happen,” Matt says. “We just made the kind of album that God put on our hearts to make, and we wrote songs that matter to us. We weren’t trying to fit a niche. We were trying to express our faith through music.”

The result of their efforts is, what Josh calls, "an unintentional theme of hope and redemption." If fans could take away one thing from listening to The Afters, it would be: "there are no lost causes."

It's that kind of subtle introduction to Christ's love that has allowed the band to play in venues that traditional CCM artists can't go.

"We're not a band that is going to do an altar call. That's not our ministry," Josh says. "We hope that people will be touched by the music and that God will use it to do something deep inside."

The Afters are taking their message of hope on the road this spring. Catch them on tour with Sanctus Real and newcomers Mainstay.

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