Joakim Arenius -founded Praise Unit in 2004, driven by a
calling to serve God in a way that honors his role models in the
african american gospel music tradition and explores the potential in adding influences from where he grew up in central Sweden.
Tobias Grenholm -the musical director of the Praise Unit band and the master mind behind many of the sounds and beats in a Praise Unit production. Composer and producer based in Rockatown Studios.
The singers and musicians on BE THE PLAN are a mix of old Praise Unit members, and friends that Joakim and Tobias have learned to know during their musical journey of the past ten years.
-----> In alphabetical order:
Per Alexandersson -music pastor in Joakim’s church, Immanuel, in Örebro, Sweden. Sang with Total Praise in St Petersburg, Russia, when Joakim recorded the first vocals on ”A Mighty Fortress”.
Stella Arenius -Joakim’s daughter, age 14 at the time of the recording. She sings the outro of ”Enemies”, instructed by her father to resemble a little girl looking at a big scary world, a character that adds another layer to the BE THE PLAN-concept.
Thorine Arenius -Joakim’s wife since 23 years, who started her career as a flute player then switched over to helping people in the world’s poorest countries from the head quarters of Interact, Sweden.
Maria Avramova Hitova (Bulgaria) -plays the violin in the Spanish television orchestra. Lives in Madrid, married to gospel vocalist and director Juan Marcos Sanchez.
Eva Betoret (Spain) -Spanish artist who recently released her second CD ”Mi identidad”. Also lead singer in Gospel Gloria, directed by Sergio Martín Zamora, from Valencia.
Jeremiah Bonds (USA) -rapper from San Diego, California, who recently released ”Bagage claim”, a controversial hip hop album. Controversial for a hip hopper because the lyrics are encouraging and inspiring. Found his wife, Karruzza, in Russia.
Felicia Brandström -a Praise Unit member since 2007. Writes and records music of her own, and then calls herself FLY NiCOLE.
Daniel Bäckrud -original member of Praise Unit and also the artist behind the BE THE PLAN cover.
Wolf Codera (Germany) -well known for his album series where he interprets different genres on the saxophone.
Sissy Dinkle (USA) -singer and bass player, based in Nashville, Crossed paths with Joakim when he was teaching at Lancaster Bible College, PA, and at music camp in Spain.
Shilan Douglas (USA) -Brooklynite, soon to release her first EP as a solo artist. An EP which will include her collaboration with Praise Unit on ”Home”.
Lotta Erdtman -original member of Praise Unit who started singing gospel in Joybells around the same time as Joakim.
Thomas Erdtman -original member of Praise Unit who has sung all kinds of music together with Joakim and even made a name for himself as the goal keeper in Joakim’s floor hockey team.
Rebeca Farré (Spain) -one of the soloists of Coro Gospel de Madrid.
Staffan Findin -constantly on tour behind basically any swedish artist who needs a trombone player. Has been nr 1 one on Billboard many times as trombone player on a Max Martin production.
Hanjo Gäbler (Germany) -keyboard player with passion for the hammond organ. Released several gospel albums in his own name, and also tutorials for gospel piano. Composer and producer of film scores for German television.
Evelina Gard -artist, composer and producer with lots of projects in her resumé. Worked many years with ”The Master’s Voice” and has recorded many CD’s with other artists as well as in her own name.
JP García (Spain) -guitar player for Coro Gospel de Madrid.
Christos Gontevas -singer, composer and producer who works with many of Stockholm’s most hired songwriters.
Albin Grahn -plays the trumpet with well known swedish jazz musicians and soul artists. Right now doing "Hair" at the opera in Gothenburg.
Andreas Grenholm -a guitar playing cousin of Tobias. Contributed already on The Mission Field.
Jimi Guldstrand -solo singer and back up singer. Many years in By Grace, the choir who sang gospel at the royal wedding in 2015.
Christoffer Hiding -swedish artist well known among the soul fans. Recently released ”Yes, Higher”.
Johannes Häger (Finland) -Praise Unit singer who also did the mixing of The Mission Field. Used to be frontman in the Finnish band Paddington, now in the swedish band Bullock Hearts. Composes and records worship music together with wife, Lina. Composer and producer based in Loud Noise Studios.
Lina Häger -artist, worship leader and vocal coach who has been singing in Praise Unit for many years.
Maria Höglund -original member of Praise Unit. Vocal coach who tours with Sweden’s most famous ABBA tribute band.
Jonas Kahnberg -became Joybells guitar player as a teenager and introduced many tricks for successful gospel guitar playing during the 90’s.
Karruzza (Russia) -Russian artist and lead singer in Total Praise. Married to California rapper Jeremiah Bonds.
Kristian Kraftling -the Praise Unit keyboard player whose sense for great sounds and arrangements influenced many of the songs on The Mission Field and Christmas. Also the fourth ”member” of Dirty Loops, and working as musical director for artists like Loreen, Måns Zelmerlöw, Carola and others.
Blenda Shimba Kabondo -singer from Stockholm
Chris Lass (Germany) -artist, composer, producer & worship leader. Works together with many gospel choirs and records different theme based albums, using both the English and German language.
Johan Löfcrantz -full time drummer who mostly tours with jazz groups or does the drumming in TV-shows with live bands.
Jonah Nilsson -lead singer and keyboard player in the Swedish band Dirty Loops.
Gustav Orphée Noah -swedish artist, also know as just Orphée Noah.
Norwegian Gospel Voices (Norway) -dynamic gospel choir from Oslo who recently recorded the album ”This is the way”, produced by Joakim & Tobias. Directed by Kristin Minde.
Amos Obasohan (Nigeria) -artist from Nigeria who sings with Coro Gospel de Madrid and also pastor an international church with predominantly nigerian members in Alcala, Madrid, Spain.
Mark Samoylenkov (Russia) -plays the violin for the Saint Petersburg symphony orchestra and sings bass in Total Praise.
Pablo de los Santos (Spain) -guitar player from Salamanca.
Kristoffer Sjöberg -was still studying classical percussion when he joined Praise Unit for the recording of Whole. Knows both popular and classical genres as a percussionist and bass singer.
Daniel Stenbaek -one of Europe’s most skilled and authentic piano players in the style of american gospel music. Founder of By Grace, a constantly touring and recording gospel choir.
Filip Stenlund -the original guitar player of Praise Unit.
Vlada Tajsic (Switzerland) -artist and event manager who also has a career in New York and California where he worked with Take 6, Koinonia and others.
Jonas Thander -composer and producer at Rockatown Studios. Also playing the saxophone for Max Martin and many swedish artists.
Olivia Thörn -just released her second single, composed and produced by Tobias.
Total Praise (Russia) -Russia’s first gospel choir? Probably! Based in Saint Petersburg. A result of musical connection between Joybells and the Russian churches. Directed by Anastasiya Zemtsova.
Jakob Wiborg -long time Praise Unit member. Full time graphic designer, and the artist behind the cover of Praise Unit Christmas.
Juan Esteban Zapata -singer, composer and one of the soloists of Coro Gospel de Madrid.
Photo by Ivan Troyanovskij