Joshua & Keren

Joshua & Keren


Contemporary Christian recording artists Joshua & Keren have released their debut project "With You". Swilley, the son of renowned preacher and pastor Bishop Duane Swilley, and his talented wife Keren provide Christian music with a wonderful 14-track project for the worshiper of God.


Husband and wife teams in Christian music are far from rarities. Artists like Watermark (Nathan & Christy Nockels) and Out of the Grey (Scott & Christine Dente’) have provided Christian music with some of today’s most powerful songs. But now another gifted husband and wife team, Joshua & Keren Swilley, have just been added to that list. Joshua Swilley, son of renowned preacher, pastor and author, Bishop Duane Swilley and his wife, Keren serve as Worship Arts Pastors at Hope Church in Cooper City, FL, and have entered the Christian music industry with an impressive independent debut entitled With You.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, young Joshua Swilley came on the scene at a time when his dad was already a youth pastor. At the time, Pastor Duane Swilley’s youth ministry was arguably the largest youth ministry in the country. The younger Swilley became active in church from the start and was a vital part of the youth choir and the drama ministry. He sang in children’s church and later in his elementary school’s boys’ choir. He also sung at youth programs and before his father ministered. Later, as his father’s ministry grew, the family took to the road and eventually moved to Buffalo, New York and ultimately ended up in Miami. In 1995, God called his father to start Hope Church in Cooper City, Florida, in the suburbs of Miami.

Although he grew up in a Christian home, it wasn’t until he was in his teens that God truly took hold of him. He says, “The first burning call came to me at the age of 17. At the time, there weren’t a lot of positive outlets for the kids in Miami and I saw many kids losing their way and losing their lives. For me, that’s when I felt the calling of ministry.”

Joshua found his calling in youth ministry and started a Christian nightclub called “The Revolution”. Before he knew it, he was deeply involved in youth ministry at his church, but eventually, music ministry came back into focus. It wasn’t until 2002, when the previous church worship leader left that he became part of the church’s music ministry. Currently, he’s the Pastor of Worship Arts at Hope Church with his wife, Keren Swilley.

A native of Miami, Florida, with a heritage from Guatemala and Puerto Rico, Keren Swilley also comes from a strong Christian background. “From as far as I remember, I’ve always been in church,” says Keren. “Whether it was children’s church or the kids’ choir, I was always involved and I’ve always loved to sing”. At the age of 12, she got really serious about music and started entering music competitions, placing quite well in a few of them. During the same time, she gained an interest in youth ministry and with divine intervention, ended up at Hope Church. She began immersing herself in the youth and music ministries there, a decision that led her right into the path of Joshua Swilley. She began assisting Joshua with administrative duties and ultimately, the couple started dating eventually marrying in 2004. She was ordained shortly after as a Pastor of Worship Arts, working alongside her husband.

In speaking of her relationship with God, Keren says, “I have always felt that I had a special connection with God. It was always so important to me. When I was a teenager, there were times when I wanted to have fun, but it was my relationship with him that reminded me of my destiny and helped keep me in check. For me, it’s been an incredible journey to see God birth this album and to see him move.”

With You, a labor love that took the couple a year to complete, was a step of faith. But for them, the mandate from God to “bridge the gap” helped the duo to persevere. “We’ve seen people who are disillusioned with Christianity or with God,” says Keren, “but we want to communicate through our lives and through our music, what a real relationship with God is really like.”

It’s that premise that makes songs like “I Fell In Love With You”, a catchy pop-flavored tune, so touching. Although some feel the song can be interpreted in a couple of ways, Joshua wrote the song with the Lord in mind. “I wrote the song during a rough place in my life and I was writing about my relationship with the Lord,” comments the artist. “But when it was finished, there seemed to be almost a duality about it. It’s simply a song about love.”

Another thoughtful track, “In This Place”, was birthed out of personal time with the Lord. Many songs on With You make the ideal musical backdrop for worshipful moments. “My Soul Seeks”, one of the first songs the duo wrote together, is another potent track of devotion.

“Release” was inspired by a number of prophecies the couple received. “We knew that God had placed a gift inside us and we were growing a little impatient,” recounts Keren. “The song was really a plea to God saying, ‘We’re ready to do what you’ve called us to do’”. “Rain” and “Saturate Us”, two poignant tunes, beckon God to drench the listener with Himself. “Santo” highlights Keren


With You, 2008