About Artist

“As long as I can remember, hip hop has always been a part of my life.” Thus begins the story of A.T.A.M. Born Joshua Stricklin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of a choir director and percussionist, he was destined to eventually pursue a career in music. At a young age he became exposed to a wide variety of musical styles. “ My dad would listen to everything from Gospel to Hip Hop to Jazz,” he says of his father, the Pastor of Life Restoration Ministries, where he currently serves as Youth Pastor. Despite being exposed to nearly every style of music as a child, there was one particular genre of music that particularly caught his ear. “When I first heard hip hop, I immediately knew that it was something big. Something about it made it different from the rest. Something about it spoke to me like no other form of music could. This was my music.” Introduced to hip hop through the sounds of DC Talk, D Boy and Michael Peace, he grew up reciting his favorite verses and emulating his favorite rappers in the mirror, but it wasn’t until the late 90’s when he actually began to take it seriously. It was also around this time when his life took a turn for the worst. Not long after his parent’s divorce, he began to face rejection from peers at school, struggling daily with depression, insecurity and eventually thoughts of suicide. “I remember days where I would come home from school and all I could think about was how I should end my life. I was looking to people and things for the love I thought I didn’t have.” Being raised in the church, he began to act out, wondering what life was like on “the other side of the fence.” Falling deeply into the pits of pornography and promiscuity, he began to grow bitter with the God he grew up being taught to love and became disenchanted with the church.

Feeling there was no one to confide in, he turned to rap and poetry as a way to cope with and express his hurts and pain. “Music was a form of therapy for me.” It was at this point that he realized that he had a way with words. After still finding nothing to satisfy the longing inside, feeling trapped and at a dead end, in desperation he cried out to God, asking Him to end his life. It was then, in the midst of the darkness that the light of hope began to shine. “In my search for love, for identity, for a sense of belonging and acceptance, it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom, where all I could do was look up that I found it- and it was right there all along. Everything that I had been searching for, I found in the very thing that I was running away from.” With a renewed sense of hope and a newfound sense of purpose, following in the footsteps of such pioneering artist as the Cross Movement and Japhia Life, A.T.A.M. set out to use his music to speak life instead of death, to build instead of destroy. “My goal is to use my music to extend to others the hope that I found in Christ.”

With his first single “Crazy Over You” already receiving national airplay, and its recent inclusion in Gospel Truth Magazine, A.T.A.M. is poised to take the world by storm. His forthcoming self-produced, musically diverse debut, ‘The Worldwide EP,’ slated to release this spring, is a collection of songs with various collaborations from musicians and local vocalists and choirs. Influenced by every genre of music, from Classical to alternative, and inspired by everyone from Kirk Franklin to Jay-Z to U2, the album’s sound, though distinctively hip hop, is an impressive fusion of genres including rock, jazz, gospel and soul, and is full of live instrumentation, catchy hooks and stellar production. “My aim with the Worldwide EP is to hit everyone where they’re at. To have a little something for everybody.”

Countering the materialism, degradation and negativity so pervasive in the majority of mainstream hip hop, A.T.A.M. seeks to use the artform to speak life to a dying world and to quench the thirsts of those yearning for something more. Through his initiative, aptly titled ‘The Worldwide Project,’ A.T.A.M. (whose name is an acronym for All Things to All Men) is on a mission to spread awareness of the fact that Christ-centered hip hop does exist and to help the church develop the proper theological perspective of it and to realize and understand the need for it. “We’re using hip hop to share a message our culture is in desperate need of, in a language that the culture understands. Through this timely medium, we’re expressing a timeless message- the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” With his goal and support from the body of Christ, A.T.A.M. is ready to spread the word of God not just throughout Milwaukee, but Worldwide.

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Website: www.myspace.com/atamicmusic
Website: www.purevolume.com/atam

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