Michael Gungor (born September 14, 1980) is an American singer-songwriter. He leads the musical collective Gungor, which has received multiple Grammy nominations. The group's music has been compared to the music of Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, and Arcade Fire. Aside from his work with the band, he has written and produced music for several other artists. He has also written a book titled The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators.
Michael Gungor grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He is the son of pastor and author Ed Gungor. He began writing and playing music at a young age and went on to study jazz guitar at both Western Michigan University and the University of North Texas while also touring and working as a multi-instrumentalist musician. He met his wife Lisa at Oral Roberts University during their freshman year, and she, also a musician, later became his music partner and serves as the other primary vocalist and songwriter for Gungor. They live in Denver, Colorado with their two daughters, Amelie and Lucie.
As early as 2002, Gungor began producing albums with his church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The albums garnered the attention of Integrity music, who signed Gungor for a solo album. In 2003, Gungor released "Bigger Than My Imagination" under Integrity Media. The album included the single "Friend of God", a Dove Award Nominated song that Gungor wrote with Gospel artist Israel Houghton. The album also enjoyed some radio play.
In 2005, Michael toured with Teen Mania's Acquire the Fire traveling youth rally event. That same year, Michael and Lisa released a live album titled, Battle Cry: Worship from the Frontlines, which as also released with Integrity Media. Gungor would later retire most of the songs on this album, Tweeting a link to his blog that can no longer be located. The blog stated that Gungor no longer preferred to associate military imagery with Christian belief.
The Michael Gungor Band:
In 2006, Michael parted ways with Integrity Music, seeking more creative control over his music. He then formed the Michael Gungor Band, consisting of himself on guitar and vocals, his wife Lisa on vocals, his brother David Gungor on bass, John Arndt on piano, Josh Eatmon on drums and former Desperation Band member Michael Rossback as a guitarist and producer.
Gungor rented a house down the road from his church in Grand Rapids and turned it into a recording studio. It was there that Gungor and Rossback Produced their 2007 release, All I Need is Here. This was Gungor's first independent project, and departed greatly from the predictable CCM box of his two releases with Integrity.
In 2008, the Michael Gungor Band signed with Brash Records. The label re-released their album in 2008 as "Ancient Skies", omitting 2 songs and adding the upbeat rock opener "Say So" as well as a song sang by Lisa "You Are The Light".
After touring with his sophomore release, Michael renamed the group from "The Michael Gungor Band" to simply "Gungor" (styled as güngör). This reflected another change, both in the direction of Michael's music and in the evolving number of band members. The first album release under the name Gungor was Beautiful Things in 2010. This album was yet another departure from Gungor's old style, involving Indie-folk instrumentation reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and ambient soundscapes. The album also featured a short gospel-blues jam featuring Israel Houghton titled "Heaven". In 2011, the album and its title track, "Beautiful Things", were nominated for the Grammy categories Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album and Best Gospel Song, respectively.
In 2011, Gungor released Ghosts Upon the Earth. Gungor followed up with a live album, A Creation Liturgy in 2012. The band's third studio album, I Am Mountain, was released on September 24, 2013. On October 24, 2013 the band began its 60-city headline tour across the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
In 2014, Gungor and his wife began collaborating with other artists and releasing music as "The Liturgists", which he calls "an experimental art collective".
Michael and Lisa reside in Denver, Colorado. They have two children, Amelie and Lucette. Their younger daughter Lucette, born in May 2014, was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome.
Personal belief and theology:
Though Gungor's music is filled with Christian themes and language and is spiritual in nature, the band has attempted to distance itself from being labeled simply a "Christian" band due to the problematic way the term is often used. Michael refers to Gungor as a collective because at any given time the group is composed of 3-10 members. He and his wife believe that their music transcends one genre. Gungor write songs that are a mix of Indie Rock, Post Rock, Prog, Soft Rock and more. If asked, Michael describes his song style as "alternative, folk, textured and experimental." They performed at SXSW 2014.
Michael Gungor and his wife, Lisa, moved to Denver and in 2007 founded a progressive label-less, non-denominational church community called Bloom.
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