Maverick City Music’s Brandon Lake: ‘Kingdom of God Is About … Family and Working Together’
By Movieguide® Contributor
Musician Brandon Lake is opening up about his latest chart-topping song, “Gratitude.”
According to Billboard, “Gratitude” has spent four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart and is in the Top 10 of the Christian Airplay chart.
“Gratitude” was initially released in 2020, but it wasn’t until now that the single caught on with listeners after it was featured in THE CHOSEN and THE VOICE.
“It wasn’t even one of my favorites when we first began recording it,” Lake confessed. “The production just wasn’t moving me at first. I re-recorded it probably four or five times and then just said, ‘Let’s take all the production away. Just put me in front of a microphone with an acoustic and I’m going to sing it as organically as I can.’ The version you hear is basically a one-take of me singing it, and then we put [production] around to support that.”
Lake also talked about his love of collaboration with other artists.
“I think that’s what the Kingdom of God is about,” he explained. “It’s family and working together. And also, collaboration has made me better in so many ways. I can tell I’ve had different influences from vocalists and songwriters I’ve spent time with.”
Lake continued, “Collaboration also changes culture — you look at any top [chart] and it feels like the world is starting to understand on a deeper level what collaboration gives. People love their favorite artists getting together and creating something they couldn’t have created on their own.”
One of Lake’s greatest collaborations is his partnership with music collective Maverick City Music.
“Our heartbeat is that everyone’s welcome and has a seat at the table,” he said of the group. “We’re not just inviting gospel writers and not just inviting CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] writers. We’ve had people literally in every area of the industry participate.”
Lake concluded, “I watched this community renew my mind, and it became family and it was transforming. I’m proud to be a part of something that is helping facilitate that for hopefully a lot more people, millions of other people.”
Movieguide® previously reported on the collaborative relationship within Maverick City Music:
The worship band known as Maverick City Music has made waves in the Christian music scene over the past few years with popular tracks like “Jireh” and “Promise.”
Their popular anthems are led by members Alton Eugene, Naomi Raine, Chandler Moore, Dante Bowe, Brandon Lake, Aaron Moses, and Harold Brown, but little is known about their background.
However, co-founders Jonathan Jay, CEO of Tribl Records, and Tony Brown recently shared their inspiration behind the music group.
The duo formed the group in 2018 after years of songwriting camps that brought together people from across the country to write hundreds of praise songs.
Since its conception, Maverick City Music has found itself atop Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums and Christian Albums and collaborated with Justin Bieber and other award-winning artists.
However, Jay revealed that it all started in a living room with close friends making music.
“It started years and years ago. Tony and I started Maverick City together. But before that, we were part of the worship collective called House Fires. We wrote some songs called ‘Good Good Father’ and ‘Build My Life’ — songs that made their way, really, around the world, but that started in our living rooms, in our homes, with friends,” he told CP. “So really, there was a response to that. It was like this moment where we go, ‘Wow, we’re writing the songs. They’re not just touching us and not just touching our Church community, they’re touching the world. There’s something that God’s doing.’”
Jay and Brown noted that they began to ask how they could get more people involved with something that could impact the world.
“Our knee-jerk response to that was to bring people that we have been meeting along the way to write with us and hang out and spend time with us. So we opened up our lives, if you will, to so many people in Atlanta. We live in Atlanta; we’re from Atlanta,” Jay said. “We’d have these writing camps that we would just host because we were songwriters, first and foremost, and we invite these people to Atlanta. We would have amazing meals, write songs, and we kept just doing this over and over again.”
Soon, Jay and Brown found that music in this setting was different from House Fires, and Maverick City Music was born.
“Finally, there were a few moments where we go, ‘These songs are special. They don’t feel like ‘House Fires,’ they don’t feel like maybe some of the other things that we were part of, they feel like their own distinctive thing,’” Jay said. “So really, birthed out of just wanting to connect, wanting to write songs and hang out with people while eating really amazing meals. It’s kind of this community that has grown to this amazing expression.”
Jay said that their music grew in popularity as people sought out hope and community during the pandemic.
“The messages and the encouragement that we would get from people like, ‘Hey, I haven’t been to church in a long time, or I just needed this today, but I listened to a video or heard the song and it has gotten me through,’” Jay noted. “I think for us, hearing that, experiencing that, seeing that was really just a reminder that God was doing something, even in the midst of a year where everyone says, ‘You’re shutting down.’ We really felt like we took off in a sense.”
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