Ian Thielman and Brandon Yohe, the musical artists behind Kansas City’s local group, Faith Made Music, began rapping as teenagers to help process their troubled childhoods. At the time, rap was their form of therapy. They never imagined what God held in store for their music in the future.
Troubled pasts showing God’s redemptive work
Ian and Brandon grew up together in Ottawa, Kansas. Their lives had many parallel lines; they were raised by single mothers, experienced instability in the home, and had early exposure to substance abuse. As teenagers, and adults, Ian and Brandon struggled with addiction and legal troubles. They were in and out of juvenile detention, youth treatment programs, and boot camps for various crimes and probation violations. As they dealt with their turbulent life circumstances, they shared their mutual love for rap.
“We were both heavily into music, which included us starting to write raps,” Ian told Faith Horizons. “It was an outlet. It was therapy for us. We thought we were just trying to be cool, but God had a purpose for it.” The purpose for their music would not be fully realized until years later.
Ian got married in early adulthood and began attending church, but he still struggled with his old life patterns while starting his family. In time, God grabbed hold of him, and he committed his life to Christ. As Ian was maturing in his faith, he gravitated back towards rap music, seeing it as a powerful tool for sharing God’s work in his life.
Brandon was also on a journey to God. He hit rock bottom in his 30s after many attempts at sobriety and a serious addiction to pain medications. He was once again facing legal troubles, looking at serving significant prison time. What happened next, he describes as God’s intervention in his life.
“I get a call from my lawyer and he says, ‘I don’t know what’s going on with the county attorney, but they agreed to let you go to treatment,’” Brandon recalls. He immediately entered a treatment program instead of prison, and this led to him recommitting his life to Christ.
Faith Made Music is formed
The inception for Faith Made Music began with Ian. He started making music in 2016, with the vision of using rap to offer honest and raw dialog about God’s redemptive work. In 2020, he moved to the Kansas City area and discovered Brandon had also recently relocated there. The two reunited and picked up where they left off with their music from childhood—this time with faith at the center.
Ian and Brandon describe rap as the perfect music genre for getting their testimonies and experiences out there for people to hear. “Music is powerful by itself,” Ian told Faith Horizons, “but with rap, you can do so much with it.”
“Rap is a freedom of expression,” Brandon shared. “You can tell people what you’re going through and not feel ashamed. When you start using Jesus in your raps, it’s gonna go in areas that worship music ain’t gonna make it.”
Since reuniting, Faith Made Music has produced 15 tracks, and they are still creating more. “God’s been doing something in our hearts to get us ready when we have that first opportunity to be able to go and minister to people through our music and story,” Ian shared. They are expectant and excited to see what God does next.
Read more about the mission and listen to Faith Made Music at faithmademusic.com
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