New pop/worship artist Manny Benton has just released his debut single, 'I Look To You'. LTTM caught up with Manny to find out more about him, his thoughts on making music, and his plans for the rest of the year.
Tell us a little bit about this new single of yours 'I Look To You'?
"I Look To You" is a song that points people directly to Christ and the hope that's found in Him. It's based off Hebrews chapters 11-13 that has this build-up from describing what faith is to how we should fix our eyes on Christ who is the author and finishers of this faith.
The foundation of the song came from Hebrews 13:14 that says, "here we have no enduring city, but we seek the city that is to come." It was a timely reminder for me, around the devastating time of the 2016 Dallas police shootings, that there will be troubles on this earth. However, we as Christians have a responsibility to point people to this hope that's found in Christ. It's the only absolute we have!
If we're honest, I think often times we as humans can get so caught up in the troubles of this world that we focus more on the problems than the only solution -- Jesus. As the song says: He is the way, the truth and the life. "I Look To You" really just gives Biblical truths about who Christ is and why we should look to Him.
Might we see more music in the shape of an album in the future?
Absolutely! My goal is to get started on an EP before the year ends. I have several songs that I'm really excited to let the world hear.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Matt Maher! I really love the way he writes. His knowledge of the Bible is evident and he just knows how to construct a song. His lyrical content has great depth, yet simple enough for congregations to grasp. I like how he uses old hymns as inspiration for some of his music. He's an artist I've studied a lot.
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
Considering I'm more experienced as a live musician than studio, I would say playing live. I actually embrace the nervousness that comes prior to singing in front of people because I feel like it makes room for God to move. That's what it's all about anyway -- me decreasing as He increases. I love to see how God can work through a worship set and just completely take over.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
It's definitely pop/worship. I would describe my sound as being pure. I like to write songs from scripture. Having grown up singing hymns in church, I believe in strong lyrical content and timeless melodies.
How would you define success in your career?
It may sound cliche, but I would say that success for me is seeing lives impacted and drawn closer to Jesus through my music.
What is your favorite album of all time?
As a guy who enjoys leading worship from the piano, Michael W. Smith's "Worship" album is an all-time favorite of mine. The presence of God is felt all over that record. It was pure worship. I liked the usage of the choir. The violin solos were awesome! I also learned a lot from Michael W. Smith on how to not get in the way of a song -- knowing when to speak and when to just let the spirit move. When I first started leading worship around the age of 17, that was an album I studied.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
Well I would definitely need to play something uplifting if that were to happen! I think recently a song that's been giving me pure joy is "Bulletproof" by Citizen Way. That song will get you dancing on your worst of days! Really dig the '70s funk sound on that track.
What does the next year hold for Manny Benton?
My goal is to release an EP and start touring. It's been a long journey to finally arrive at this point of releasing a single. I've learned to take things one step at a time. I'm really just enjoying the process and can't wait to release more music!