Q&A with Chandler Moore“We are set to define ourselves by what others cannot define us by.”
Unorthodox, free spirit, rule breaker, one that breaks away from the herd. Maverick City Music is hard to define, but these are just some words that can describe this worship collective. Chandler Moore, a worship leader, songwriter, and instrumentalist, talks about being a part of Maverick and its impact on the world today.
P: Can you tell Peer briefly about your testimony?
Chandler: Yes. First, my dad is a pastor. I would say I was introduced to church before I was introduced to Jesus and that has its ups and downs. But I really went quietly until I really know the Lord and started having a relationship probably around like 12 or 13. I think the first time I got saved was 12, when I really finally understood what it was to meet and receive salvation, to have grace and mercy, and that Jesus love me, etc. That was the first time I got saved because I am pretty sure I got saved about five or six more times. Every time there was an altar call, and I wish I would be born and alive, I would be there and get saved again. So that was the first stage when I really started having a relationship.
Then from that, maybe around 16, I had my first real encounter with Jesus. When I was in the church by myself, that was in 2016, I was the music director at a small church in Charleston, South Carolina, and I was prepping for service. I was just playing the piano, and I had like a radical encounter with the Lord where I was just crying for probably like hours straight, just in all. I am just in His presence. That was 16 and since then, I have just really been interested in Scripture, started studying, started really practicing His presence, and learning how to honor it. That was how this journey got started.
P: OK, what is Maverick City Music, and what is the story behind the name?
C: Yeah. Maverick means basically unruly, no rules, really. One definition says dancing to the beat of your own drum. Another definition says having no bass, having no box. We are set to define ourselves by what others cannot define us by.
It just speaks to what we have become, and we become our own. What is the word? Our own thing. We like the fact that we cannot be defined. We are our own thing that cannot be defined, and we like it that way because it leaves the possibilities open to what the Lord can do with us. That is what Maverick is in the short thing.
How it came to be, honestly is by happenstance. We were recording some demo. Mavericks, the whole bunch of songwriters, we have a lot of songwriters and usually, when you write songs you shop the songs to different artists, Christian artists, or whoever. So, we recorded demos one time and we were like “Man, these songs are just great the way they are.” Like just with no production, just straight piano, little drums, just voices. So, we did that and that was literally what my first album is. It was an album just full of demos with voices and that is how Maverick came to be. Tony Brown (founder) just texted me one day like, “What do you think about the name Maverick?” I looked it up and I was like, “This is my life.” I am unorthodox. I am independent-minded. I do not like to be defined, that is who I am. So that is how Maverick came to be.
P: How does Maverick City Music encourage other artists, especially those young, diverse artists of the next generation?
C: One way we do this is we have camps often. Maybe like every other month. We have writing camps. I think our biggest one has been like 100 and something people, young kids, or it is now daily like about 40 people that we have just built a relationship with, who we did not know at the start of maybe last year this time. We just met. Actually, we met most of the young people that we use on a rotation in March of 2020.
Now, we have recreated and formed just such a bond with them. So, we invite them to come and write with us and just do stuff like that with us without any obligation. Usually in this industry, when you just open your doors, it is rare that people just open the doors without any strings attached. That is one way that we are really just pouring and investing into the new generation that is coming up after us. We are just really investing without any strings. We are just giving what we have.
We just give what is ours to the next generation freely without any obligation or anything attached to it. So that is what we encourage. There is always an open door for young writers, young singers. We are always on Instagram and social media looking out for who is the next, one who is just really good and give what we have to them. Through our platform, money, whatever opportunity, whatever it is. That is how we try to encourage the next generation.
P: How does Maverick push beyond the normalcy of Christian music?
C: I think the purpose behind it is to help people realize that this is not it. When you are on a journey with the Lord, one thing to always realize is that there is always more. There is always more to Him. So, I think why the Lord is using Mav to do is just open up the eyes of believers and non-believers, what the Lord is based on, what the Lord and his work can actually be in.
I mean, I just did release an album with Justin Bieber and some of our other people are really sure I was with other mainstream artists writing for them. So that is what we are about. We are about getting the gospel to where it would have been and where has it gone yet. That is one thing that we are really big about.
P: What inspires the songwriting process?
C: What inspires it differs by person, but mostly it is really the life, man. We have lives that we live, that we want to talk about. We have testimonies that we have experienced, that we want people to hear, their stories that we want to tell. A lot of songs, Maverick songs are legit stories. I mean, we have songs like Promises: “God of Abraham, God of Covenant, your faithful promises, time and time again, you have proven to do just what you said.” That is somebody’s story. Yes. It was like Refiner. “I want to be tried by fire, purified.” That is my story, that is something I live through.
P: In this world today and this year in 2021, what excites you about being a part of Maverick City Music?
C: One thing for sure is that the Lord has just put us in a very cool position to influence and lead people who lead the world. We are doing some really cool things with some people who are just very influential in culture, in the world. I am just looking forward to how the message of Jesus and how God is going to use that to get glory. That is probably the main thing that excites me. Just really seeing what happens like every day it is something like man, what is going to happen? What is going to happen tomorrow? It was just an excitement that institutes anticipation of not knowing what the Lord is doing but knowing He is working. It is just really cool.
P: What excites you about being a worship artist in 2021?
C: I think one main thing is that worship artist is not as limited as it used to be. When you hear worship artist, you just think, “Oh, this guy usually works for the church.” But now that culture in the world is starting to open up to like, “Hey, these are actually people who can lead worship very well. But also, who just love Jesus. But also, who are regular people.” I like that and I am grateful that I get to play a role in that. I am undoubtedly unashamed to be a worship artist, and when I am doing a song with Justin Bieber, l can say that I just love that I am able to break through certain things that other people before me have paved the way for. Now, the time is time for where it is so hard to be able to crossover. Just not be worshippers. We can be authors. We can be business owners. We can be mainstream artists. That is what I am excited about.
P: What advice can you give to young Christians interested in pursuing music?
C: Two things: one thing would be, be yourself. I know it is cliche, everybody hears that and says that, but it is one of the truest things in this journey. You have to remain yourself. You cannot be changed or phased by comparison of who other people are or claim other people’s field. You have to remain. The truth is there is an audience for your authenticity. Your authenticity has an audience. So, if you are not being authentically yourself you are forsaking the audience that the Lord has called you to or put in front of you. A lot of us are behind a lot of people who do not reach or do not fulfill their full potential because they are trying to be someone else, and they are not tapping into the audience that the Lord has placed inside of themselves. That is number one.
Number two is to keep the main thing the main thing. Remember why you started, remember the reason why you want to do it in the first place. Because not every day is flowers and roses and beautiful blue skies. There are some days that you are unsure. There are some days that you want to hide, and you do not want to do it anymore. There are some days that you are like “Man, I wish I can just go work from 9 to 5.” I would just say, remember the reason why you started and keep the main thing the main thing and allow the Lord to keep your heart in the right place.
P: Is there anything exciting that you have in the works?
C: I am going to be very honest with you—I do not know. I mean, I am about to get married. That is probably all the things I am planning for the next.
P: That is really big. Congratulations!
C: Thank you. Yes, this is pretty big. Outside of that, I mean music-wise, things just kind of pop off randomly. I am planning on releasing another solo album soon. But you know, I have been working with some mainstream artists and Maverick has a lot of songs coming out soon. In Elevation, we have a regular Elevation, the single drop. That is fully coming out. Wait, it probably will be out.
P: What is your favorite Bible verse?
C: That changes probably every week. But today, this week it will be John 7:8 where the setting is Jesus is in Galilee with His brothers. It is the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and it is in Judea. Jesus and his brothers are in Galilee and His brothers are like, “Hey, it is time to go to the festival in Judea. Let us go. People want miracles. You can do miracles.” There is this man, and they were like “You should go.” Jesus in John 7:8 says, “You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”
But then you will see a couple of verses later that Jesus went anyway, and I think what it showed me when I was reading it is one, there was a side of Jesus in His humanity that did not want to be seen. He wanted to stay out of the spotlight because He knew what would come with it. But He went anyway because He just followed this hour of the Lord and it was His time. He knew His assignment wasn’t ready.
That is my favorite Bible verse because there are moments in my journey, in my career where I am just like I want to get away. I do not want to do this anymore. I want to just be a normal person, raise my family, just chill, but I have to remember that the Lord has called me to this. I found assurance in that Bible verse. I am like, man, Jesus felt the same way. There were moments where He just did not want to be seen and He was cautious about when His time was not and when His time was. That is my favorite Bible verse.