Interviews|June 16, 2021 03:06 EDT
BREATHEcast Exclusive: Maverick City Music Tells Stories behind Upcoming Album 'Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition'
Maverick City Music took home Top Gospel Album at the Billboard Music Award for their April 2020 release of Maverick City Vol. 3 Part 1. The Billboard No.1 worship group earned double-nods in their winning category and was also a contender for Top Gospel Artist. May 30th, the collective performed at the K-Love Fan Awards, where they lead the pack with four nominations, including Group of the Year, Artist of the Year, Breakout Single of the Year and Worship Song of the Year.
Maverick City Music recently made headlines with their newest release Old Church Basement, a collab album with Elevation Worship, which broke streaming records at both Apple Music and Spotify. Old Church Basement was released April 30 and is a powerful collection that aims to bring listeners back to a pure place of worship and features vocals from Chandler Moore, Brandon Lake, Naomi Raine, Chris Brown, Dante Bowe, Tiffany Hudson, Joe L Barnes, and Amanda Lindsey Cook.
In this exclusive interview with BREATHEcast, Mavericky City's Dante Bowe, Naomi Raine, and Aaron Moses sat down and chatted about the stories behind upcoming album "Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition." Dante, Naomi, and Aaron poured out their heart to BREATHEcast about their passion for God and His people, encouragements for young worship leaders, and the hopeful expectations for "Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition."
BREATHEcast: Congratulations on your coming release of "Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition." The Bible says in Leviticus 25 to consecrate this year of Jubilee, and have the trumpet sounded everywhere. How do you foresee this album to bring about the impact and answers needed by the current suffering souls who are longing for God?
Dante: We always went to our albums hoping that someone would be changed and the impact would supersede our expectations. It's always been like that. Our first album, we did not know whether it may or may not be a thing. But we gave our yes, just expecting crazy testimonies and a further reach. We were doing something we've never done before on this project. We are hoping people have testimonies of freedom.
Naomi: I love the scripture you read from Leviticus. This album and the "Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition" are like trumpets blasting out. It is one of our mandates and jobs to be a prophetic voice for this time. Not only for the church but for the world. I'm hoping when people hear the album, they feel how you feel when you hear a trumpet blast. Like "OH!" It's inspiring, it's triumphant.
BC: "Old Church Basement" was especially a movement that re-introduce the contemporary Christian worship to diverse generations. This includes your live performance and recording set up, which features the choir, band, worship leaders centered in a circle. How has this innovative setup fostered authentic worship to the Lord for all generations?
Aaron: We've done that from our first record. For "Old Church Basement" we had a bigger budget with Elevation Worship. We tried to make it look like a living room. Rather than looking at the people and singing to the people, we are singing to each other. Like angels [worshipping] in heaven.
Dante: It is like In Revelations when they sang to one another "Holy, holy." They were talking about God but to each other, "Look how amazing He is!" From "Old Church Basement," you see we don't keep our eyes closed. [It is like saying] "Do you see what we see? Do you hear what we hear?" That's like family in a circle speaking about God. People love Maverick City's passion and authenticity.
Naomi: I was thinking about the moments that we did look at each other in the room. How beautiful it was. There are some moments of eye contact, even "voice contact." In the song "Wait on You," I remember the synchronization between Dante and Chandler, and everyone was just supporting vocally. It happens when we lock eyes and lock voices. This stuff is not planned. I feel that the moment was stronger in the rehearsal.
Aaron: It's not just for the camera. Every time we talk about this song, we have to talk about the rehearsal. People got to see the amazing moment of "Wait on You" on YouTube, but I wish people could see the rehearsal. Dante sang the spontaneous improvisation, prophesying to ourselves.
Naomi: Yeah, instead of complaining, why not start praising? Even in the Upper Room collab, it was real worship. We were not pretending, we were actually worshipping God. I love the authenticity and rawness of it. What I love about a Mavericky City recording is that you can hear people's hands and clothing rub together. That's the secret sauce underneath: real people in a room worshipping God. When you listen you feel you are part of the room. You hear the realness and that is beautiful.
Dante: We love to sing about God. In those circles, in everyone's eyes and hearts, you can see the zeal. It's inspiring in the moment.
BC: It's true, that setup eliminates this performance factor, where people sing and show a faÃ§ade of worshipping. But in this circle, it is truly imitating that heavenly worship in Revelations [chapter 4].
Naomi: Can I say this on that too? These people we work with are some of the best singers who are strong artistically. Because everyone is so strong, we get to show up and give God our best. We do not come in and not do well. We give 100 percent of the talent. That's the offering we give to the Lord. We don't need to compete. We are doing this together. I'm energized by seeing my friends being great and offering that to the Lord. It's not for [the public]. It's the sacrifice we give. To be able to sing "Jireh" and "I shall not want" [amidst the hardships that Maverick members have gone through], the person had to be there. It's a sacrifice that's being given. When we are together we can recognize that sacrifice. You don't know the hours Aaron put into this. It's their offering to the Lord.
Dante: We did not even produce [in the beginning]. We just started producing songs. Songs that gave us notoriety, we did not produce them. Sonically if you listen to a Mav record, I feel like I'm listening to what's going on in heaven, because there is so much in the background. So many voices and nationalities, and hearts. I think the industry and the world is wondering what this is. This is heavenly expression. It looks like we want to get hyped. But when camera is off, we are backstage speaking of the Lord and weeping. In the writing sessions, we have real encounters trying to write real songs. We are not just pulling out scriptures trying to write a big church song. We are talking about stuff we have actually been through. Sonically you are getting a peek of how it will sound like in heaven, how loud and harmonic it will be.
BC: In every industry, there are labels, categories, and ranks. How would you encourage aspiring worship leaders who look up to Maverick City Music, who are also rising to fame?
Dante: Take the pressure off yourself. We enjoy what we do. We also feel very honored and humble when we were offered an award, when we go number one. I thought I would feel a certain way but it actually felt humbling. I will tell them, you don't have to try to be humble. Being in His presence and getting daily revelations from the Lord, you are not going to take that stuff as seriously as a normal person would. It's just going to be natural. Being an aspiring worship leader in 2021, it's easy to compare since everything is so televised. Each individual artist in Maverick City, we go about it differently. We can sing the same song with 3 different people and it will all sound different. But in the room it's the same spirit. It's okay to admire what we are doing, but really, seek the Lord about who you are and your voice, getting comfortable with your voice and how the Lord gave it to you.
Aaron: Know who you are, as there are so many of us worship leaders. And know the "why." The "why" matters a lot. Why you are doing it.
Dante: Come into His presence and you will come into the "why" and "who you are." When I did sound like others, I also had those moments, wondering if "I'm doing this right." But God just says "Son, I love it when you just worship me."
Maverick City Music will release "Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition" on Fri., June 18th via Tribl Records. The album was recorded in Atlanta in May, and it is a continuation of the Maverick City movement happening across multiple genres. Tune in to Breathecast to receive upcoming info!