Los Angeles based worship group, Mosaic MSC, released their latest album titled HUMAN, with sonic influences ranging from gospel to contemporary Christian music and lyrical content that expresses how individuals feel and experience God, according to the group’s director, Mariah McManus.
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However, the approach to this latest project from Mosaic was different than any previous record. McManus told American Songwriter that the group sought to strip back all the ideas they had previously written about in order to rewrite, rethink and refresh the concepts they delivered through their music.
“In this phase of our writing journey, with this album, it was ‘how do we communicate what we’ve been through, what we believe, what we know in this really simple, basic way,” McManus said. “For us, it was really challenging.”
Group member, Andres Figueroa, explained that the theme of the album was to make the concepts of truth they know and love into forms that anyone could understand and connect to.
“When we started writing the first thing that Mariah told us was to make it human, and so that was the theme throughout,” Figueroa said. “That was a big driving part of the whole album, and why we called it HUMAN.”
McManus noted that although the songs were written before the global, COVID-19 pandemic hit, it quickly became clear that God knew they would be needed. That reality, of stepping into faithfulness with the artistic craft of songwriting, even when the future is unknown, is part of what it looks like to have a genuine relationship with God, McManus emphasized.
“You are able to speak into moments that you don’t even know,” McManus said. “That’s the goal. You’re writing songs for people you don’t know, you’re writing songs for situations you don’t know…you can’t know everyone’s detailed situation or life, but that’s the trust you have to have, that the words you’re saying are speaking to someone.”
One song, “Everlasting Light,” denotes that “even the darkest days are temporary.” McManus and Figueroa said that reminder, and others like it in the record, are needed right now for people who are hurting and in turmoil.
Sonically, HUMAN, broadcasts the impact of a diverse community on a creative project. Although the project is cohesive, Figueroa said it is extremely varied, just like their congregation at Mosaic Church.
Some tracks have a more gospel feel, while others feature instruments such as bongos, more latin influences, ballad feels, or stripped back emotions utilizing just piano and vocals.
Figueroa explained Mosaic Church seeks to build a humanity that reflects Jesus, and the heart of Jesus. Calling this the “new humanity,” Figueroa noted Jesus’s humanity includes everybody.
“That’s something that we really strive for in this record, and really put on display,” Figueroa said.
By utilizing the collaboration of many different musical bents or styles, McManus said the group was able to harness the nuances of multiple writers, vocal styles, and instrumentation leanings.
While in previous records there may have been one predominant style or sound, Figueroa and McManus both noted the freedom they sought to employ in the writing, recording and production process, to allow each track to be a natural flow of whatever was coming through the musicians and into the project.
“It was much more, just whatever works, and it’s the result of us trusting each other,” Figueroa said. “Sonically, it’ll be something that people can sing along to and connect to, but musically the influences are so wide and far ranging.”
“The place we got to with writing was let’s just see where it takes us,” McManus continued. “This time, we said let’s just see where the song leads and what it needs and how it feels most authentic and most raw. The song led us to itself. It took shape and found its way on its own, and it’s really crazy how every song is so extremely different, but I think that’s why it works.”
And the hope with the record, according to McManus, is for the songs to find their way into the hands of people who have not had encounters with Jesus yet—to pull them in, and cause them to lean into what Jesus might show them.
“There’s a unique opportunity because people really want something new and something fun and something that will inspire them, and so we hope that people find their way to this and can find that hope and can find that inspiration to keep going and to create beautiful things,” McManus said. “I hope that this gets into the hands of people who wouldn’t usually find themselves listening to something like this, or engaging with something like this.”