Maverick City Music is a group that represents America in all of its shapes and forms. Formed in 2018, the contemporary worship music collective sings about the triumphs and failures of the American people. So, in honor of Juneteenth, the group is releasing a new record titled Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition, that gives voice to the struggles and successes of Black Americans.
American Songwriter recently sat down with Maverick members Naomi Raine, Aaron Moses, and Dante Bowe to learn more about the genesis of Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition.
“Maverick City Music has always been a group of people that are going to speak out against injustice and nonsense that’s going on and just stand firm,” Raine explained. “And I think, Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition is just another way to say, ‘Hey, this is who we are, this is what we do. And this is what we believe.’ These are the songs that we have to represent that.”
To illustrate the group’s steadfast commitment to justice, the record boasts 11 tracks on Side A and eight tracks on Side B. This duality exists to encompass a range of sounds and experiences. Side A was produced live with gospel overtones and the flip side was produced with a more explicit R&B/pop feel. The record also features many heavy-hitting guest artists including Ciara, Rapsody, Tamar Braxton, Jonathan McReynolds, Israel Houghton, and Jekalyn Carr.
“I think ultimately, we didn’t start writing just for this album—these songs about freedom or deliverance,” Bowe said. “It’s kind of the way we write because of where we come from. And so we didn’t have to conjure up any songs in and of itself for this project. Because I feel like all of our songs… come from our grandparents and our great grandparents. It’s like the same substance there. This project does everything for me.”
“Me too,” Raine chimed in. “It felt like we were able to get out the songs that aren’t just worship songs. And it was important to me that we get to encourage people in this nation that might be discouraged, and it’s not even just about black and white. It’s about people that feel like there’s no hope, like this stuff won’t change or nothing will be different. And it’s like no, we get to offer hope.”
The trio discussed further how this particular collection of songs arose. Specifically, the beginnings of this album lie in Maverick City Music’s previous album Jubilee, which was released earlier this year. Jubilee was created amid the rising social justice movements of last summer.
“And from there, we wanted to release a Juneteenth edition,” Raine adds. “So because there were more songs that had been written during that time, there were more things that were coming up. We were actually getting to speak from a more sober place. Not in the middle of a lot of tragedy. And so we got songs like ‘Breathe’ and decided to do a writing camp just focused on like, ‘Hey, what do we have to say about this?’”
What Maverick City Music ended up saying on Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition is soul-stirring. Each track plays to its members’ strengths and delivers a heartening message. It’s also obvious that each message was built on a solid foundation of songwriting and collaboration. “We’re a very passionate group of people,” Bowe said. “And we love what we talk about—our faith and our overcoming and our going through. I feel like from the first albums to now, we just get more comfortable with each other in the room. It’s almost as if we’re testifying to each other.”
Sonically, Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition doesn’t hold anything back either. “This is how I’ve been explaining it to everybody,” Moses began. “It’s real soul, it’s real black. And I love it. I just gotta say it like that. It’s history, and it sounds ancestral.”
Raine and Bowe agreed upon Moses’ description of the record and added that the album just felt right, explaining that they didn’t have to strain or strive for inspiration, but rather the harmonies just flowed. The music flowed because the group had a deep emotional connection to their message.
“You know how people say the revolution will not be televised? I feel like sometimes we have to publicize what we’re doing,” Raine stated. “I think music is and has always been something that fuels culture and also presents what’s actually happening. So I would hope that people will listen to the album and feel like they don’t need to be silent, that they can be public about the freedom that our country espouses.”
She continued, “And it says that we should walk—not just spiritually as Christians—but even naturally as citizens of this nation. Publicize it, televise it, be loud, don’t be silent. I’m praying that people will get that message when they hear it because we can’t just say Jesus came to set people free and let it be just spiritual. It wasn’t just that, it was bigger than that.”
Listen to Jubilee: Juneteenth Edition below and watch out for Maverick City Music’s upcoming Spanish record.