“True peace comes from Jesus and from being content with what you have right now. I’m a big believer in setting goals and striving for bigger things but you’ve got to enjoy—and be present in—the moment you’re in now.”—Manafest In a world where conformity is king and sticking with the status quo is often a well-honed survival instinct, four-time Dove Award nominee Manafest has always found contentment in doing his own thing. And refusing to be anyone but himself has clearly served him—and his artistry well. Even on the heels of his wildly popular, bestselling album Fighter, Manafest (real name: Chris Greenwood) refused to settle into a familiar, if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality when making the follow-up, The Moment. If anything, the Canadian born and California-based artist and author was even more compelled to dig deeper both lyrically and creatively. The result is easily Manafest’s most innovative and personal project yet. Centering around the importance is being present in all of life’s moments, whether big or small, Manafest also shook things up sonically by teaming up with three producers, Thousand Foot Krutch’s Joel Bruyere (10 tracks), frequent collaborator Adam Messinger (“Edge of My Life” and Joshua O’Haire (“Light”). Giving listeners a transparent look behind the curtain of his thoughts, beliefs and outlook on life, The Moment also showcases Manafest’s unique abilities as a rapper, rhymer and vocalist. With the album’s first single “Edge of My Life,” Manafest’s passionate approach to song craft is immediately evident. A declarative, hopeful ode to surviving and thriving in life’s most challenging seasons, Manafest definitely sings with the conviction of someone who’s been there. One of those special moments that every artist hopes for—and aspires to— when making an album, the track’s memorable, melodic structure is definitely easy on the ears as well.
For the album’s title track, Manafest successfully merges style and substance and issues a stirring clarion call against compromise and selling out for money, while “My Way” and “Cage” are inspiring personal pleas for being independent and pursuing your specific passions despite what the masses may think. “A lot of people will try and force you into a box, but it’s crucial to find your own path,” Manafest shares. “I’ve learned you’ve got to lean on your dreams, and that dream has to be so big that you’re not willing to back down on it. With my music, I know I only have three to four minutes to say something, and with some songs, I just want people to rock out. With others, I want people to be inspired to go change the world.” As someone who has always used his platform to share what God has done in his life, Manafest always wants to meet listeners where they are. On “Diamonds,” which he co-wrote with Thousand Foot Krutch’s frontman Trevor McNevan, he tackles the timely issue of addiction. “When we were working on the beat, I couldn’t stop thinking about someone struggling with addiction and turning to drugs,” Manafest remembers. “I remember reading Brian ‘Head’ Welch’s book, Save Me From Myself, and how he took a picture of what he didn’t want to have power over him. After giving up drugs, he found some while cleaning his house. Before he flushed them down the toilet, he took a picture of them, a reminder of ‘Hey, you don’t have power over me.’ That imagery was on my mind as I was writing ‘Diamonds.’” Providing contrast to the album’s more serious moments, “Paradise” and “Thrill of it All” are joyful ruminations from the other side of struggle.
Whether celebrating the sacrifices that he and his wife made to pursue God’s calling in “Paradise” or happily reflecting on the magical moments found in everyday realities in “Thrill of It All,” Manafest offers a full picture of God’s grace in the ordinary and extraordinary. And as a first-time father to a daughter, London, he says her arrival has made everything in life so much bigger and more awesome. “All of the songs were written before she was born, but knowing I was going to have a kid made me reach deeper. It made me realize that the decisions I was making weren’t just affecting me anymore,” Manafest reflects. “All my songs are part of my legacy that I’m going to be leaving behind, and I want to make sure I don’t take that lightly.”