Catchy, Clean Tunes for Teens—Now Only a Click Away

Contributed By Carolyn Call, LDS.org Church News staff writer

  • 16 February 2016

Use the songs from Press Forward, the 2016 Mutual theme album, along with other music from youth.lds.org, for an uplifting teaching or listening experience.

Article Highlights

  • Listen to "Press Forward," the 2016 Mutual theme album, for music inspired by faith-building experiences.
  • Music helps learners relate the gospel to their everyday lives.
  • Download and play music from youth.lds.org to enhance lessons and activities for youth.

“The message of my song is that God loves us. He’s such a big part of our lives; He’s listening to us—He wants to help us. And He is always there.” —Tanner Linford, youth performer on the 2016 Mutual theme album, Press Forward

With no indications from the judges and the song drawing to a close, Tanner Linford’s lifelong dream of singing on The Voice was seemingly slipping away.

But as the young singer held the final notes, country music singer Blake Shelton hit the buzzer and chose Tanner to be part of his team. This was Tanner’s second attempt to make the cut on the well-known singing competition.

There were hard times during his three months on The Voice. “I [sometimes] felt alone. … I began to doubt myself or question my ability to sing, and during those times I turned to the Lord a lot,” he said.

Tanner’s mother gave him a scripture that helped him find strength and comfort. It was Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

“That scripture really helped me at that time in my life,” he said, “and it helped me to realize that my Heavenly Father really was there for me.”

Tanner eventually went on to perform in two additional rounds of the competition, ending as one of the top 32 performers of the season. “If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying,” he said.

Tanner’s story of trial and faith is just one many shared by youth who perform the songs of the 2016 Mutual theme album, Press Forward. The 12-track music album is now available for download on youth.lds.org, along with accompanying sheet music, lyrics, and karaoke tracks. Press Forward can also be streamed on Spotify or Apple Music.

The songs of Press Forward are infused with these youth performers’ testimonies and experiences of pressing forward. For Tanner, who sings “He Is There,” it’s a chance to send an uplifting message to youth worldwide.

“The message of my song is that God loves us,” Tanner explained. “He’s such a big part of our lives; He’s listening to us—He wants to help us. And He is always there. He can help us move forward from those hard times if we just turn to Him.”

As youth listen to the album, they will be able to relate to the lyrics that address topics such as fitting in, gaining a testimony, and building self-esteem.

These songs make great additions to a Mutual activity, family home evening, and any sort of pick-me-up music playlist. Along with the 2016 Mutual theme album, music for youth from previous years also can be downloaded from lds.org/youth/music.

Not all of the songs on Press Forward are appropriate for sacred settings such as sacrament meeting. Before planning or performing any song, it’s best to first consult with local priesthood leaders.

Youth performers on the Press Forward album bear their testimonies through music.