News Column

Culpeper Christian hip/hop country musical duo to perform at Six Flags

July 9, 2013


July 09--A Culpeper gospel hip-hop musician is praying for local support during his performance at Six Flags this Saturday in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Shannon Presley will perform his new song "I Pray" with fellow musician Blake Esse, a local country crooner who performed on USA Network's "Nashville Star" in 2008.

The musical duo -- who met at work at Continental in Culpeper -- will perform a 20-minute set around 4:50 p.m. during the Glory in the Park day long gospel concert in Gotham Arena, which runs from 1 to 7 p.m.

"This is a big stage so we are both excited about it," said Presley, who turns 40 next Wednesday. "To perform at Six Flags is a big deal. I'm a little nervous but I'm very excited to share my gift."

Tickets purchased three days in advance cost $39.99; special online tickets are $44.99 each and same day at the park cost $59.99, which includes the concert series featuring eight gospel artists, the Hurricane Harbor water park, thrilling roller coasters, family rides, kids rides, food and games.

Presley compares his song "I Pray" to country superstar Tim McGraw and successful rapper Nelly's country/rap collaboration "Over and Over" released in 2004.

"Blake and I are pursuing our dream of recording artists," said Presley, who penned the song "I Pray." "This will be our first performance bringing our styles together. We are co-workers and good friends pursuing our dreams so I can't imagine sharing this stage with anyone else but Blake."

Presley explained that an independent record label representative invited him to perform at the popular adventure park and played the song for the vice president, who also enjoyed the spiritual sound.

Presley describes the song as having a great message and very catchy tune.

"A lot of family and friends immediately after hearing the song placed it as their ring tone," said Presley.

Presley says "I Pray" will be available on iTunes in the near future.

An active Navy Reservist who spent four years as a U.S. Navy engineer, Esse, 26, said he was living in Norfolk when he auditioned for "Nashville Star."

"It was crazy cool," said Esse of the extraordinary experience of being one of the military finalists.

Esse added that while the two musicians have been writing and recording songs together for about six months, he's looking forward to their first live performance on stage together.

"It's going to be awesome," said Esse. "I think this collaboration is a great idea."

For those planning to visit the Six Flags on Saturday, Presley provided this promo code: SELI2013.

Presley and Esse also have plans to perform at Yowell Meadow Park on Aug. 10.


(c)2013 the Culpeper Star-Exponent (Culpeper, Va.)

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