The Gospel Music Association has announced the annual Music in the Rockies talent competition and training session will be moved from Estes Park, Colorado to Nashville under the new name Immerse. From July 29-August 2, 2009, Christian artists, songwriters, worship leaders and music business hopefuls can visit Belmont University for a full-fledged artist boot camp, loaded with expert feedback and industry advice.

Several artists have confirmed their participation, including Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant, Aaron Shust, Martha Munizzi and Travis Cottrell, along with American Idol alumni Melinda Doolittle and Phil Stacey. Behind-the-scenes personnel include Mitchell Solarek (manager/Natalie Grant), Laurie Anderson (manager/TobyMac), Brad O’Donnell (A&R/EMI CMG), Chris Blaney (booking agent/Third Coast Artists Agency), Leigh Holt (VP/Word Records), and David Nasser (author/speaker) with additional announcements coming as the conference nears.

“Immerse is more than a professional development event where you learn the tools and skills needed to make it in the music business and to develop important relationships within the industry, though that will happen,” said John W. Styll, president and CEO of GMA, in a statement. “Those who come to Immerse may come to Nashville hoping to become the next big thing, and some might.But, all will leave knowing that God has called them to great purpose for their music.” For registration information, click here.

The Fray meet Transformers

Several of today’s best-selling artists will heat up the soundtrack to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (hitting stores June 23). The Fray leads the faith-based pack with “Never Say Never,” from its self-titled sophomore CD from earlier this year. Mainstream megastars on the album include Linkin Park, Green Day, Nickelback, The All-American Rejects, and even classic rock legends Cheap Trick.

Ayiesha’s movie nod

R&B/soul siren Ayiesha Woods also hits the movies this summer as her hit “Happy” pops up in My Life in Ruins (releasing June 5). The romantic comedy about a tour guide in Greece who finds romance along the way stars Nia Vardalos,Richard Dreyfuss, andAlexis Georgoulis. Woods’ soundtrack slot comes on the heels of a 2009 Grammy nomination for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album” and a Dove nomination in the “New Artist of the Year” category.

Hawk readies next record

Pop/punkers Hawk Nelson have been working on their fourth studio album, confirming an October 6 street date on its MySpace page. Live Life Loud features a slew of prominent co-writers, including TobyMac, Thousand Foot Krutch/FM Static frontman Trevor McNevan, and Bart Millard (of the much softer MercyMe fame). Later this summer, the title track and another new cut, “Meaning of Life,” will hit digital retail and also be available on download cards at the band’s merch table on tour.?

Hillsong behind Eminem on iTunes

No surprise that Eminem’s new CD Relapse would top the iTunes charts, but Hillsong United was right behind “The Real Slim Shady” for its latest live effort Across the Earth: Tear Down the Walls, which beat out secular radio regulars like Green Day and Lady Gaga. To support the project, the group is plotting a rare American tour this summer; some of the dates are already sold out.?

Philmont launches webisode series

Taking the idea of a video blog one step further, Philmont is teaming up with youth ministry Steelroots to produce a series of webisodes. Just like a reality show on a regular network, the internet saga will trace the triumphs and trials of life on the road. On the 13th of every month for the next year, expect a new storyline to unfurl here with titles like “Who the Heck Is Philmont?” and “Our First Taste of Tour.”

Lanae’ tackles television and radio

Newcomer Lanae’ Hale is on the road in support of her debut disc Back & Forth, sharing tunes and her testimony about being delivered from cutting and depression. The singer/songwriter’s appearances have included Moody Radio’s Midday Connection, Daystar’s television program Celebration, plus secular shows like Good Day in Dallas and WGN America’s Midday News in Chicago.

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