Matt Maher and his band (Kemi Ndolo, Kenny Butler, and Coltan Gatlin) performed this past Friday night at the University of Dallas Ministry Conference. The crowd was alive and full of energy as Maher opened with Your Grace Is Enough followed by Alive Again, which is his recent hit single on the Contemporary Christian music charts. Maher, who earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies at Arizona State University, plays with rhythm, meter and chord structure to create unique melodies with a fresh sound. He uses a variety of music styles ranging from klezmer (traditional Jewish dance music) to R&B and Gospel, creating an eclectic and well- balanced repertoire. He couples his musical talent with beautiful lyrics to deliver a message of love and hope subtlety interlaced with Catholic teachings and theology. During the course of the concert, Maher shared his witness of how Christ has touched his life while challenging the audience to reflect and engage Christ in their own lives through ballads such as Lay It Down, Letting Go and Garden. The Holy Spirit was present and moving in the atmosphere of love and surrender created by this talented musician and his equally talented band. To finish off the night, Matt played the keyboard before switching back to guitar for a moving and celebratory performance of CChrist Is Risen.
Matt Maher was born in Newfoundland, Canada where his parents fostered his love of music. He won a music scholarship as a jazz pianist to Arizona State University. At the age of 20, Matt had a conversion experience that eventually led him to work in music and youth ministry. He worked in Mesa, Arizona as a youth minister and a music minister where he was able to foster his talent in writing and leading worship music. In 2008, he recorded his first album, Empty and Beautiful with Essential Records. Alive Again was released in September of 2009 and peaked at #6 on Billboard Magazine’s Top Christian Albums that year. Both albums have won several awards including a GMA Dove award, a GMA Canada Covenant Award, Unity Awards and Best Catholic Album of the Year. Maher has written music with the likes of Chris Tomlin, Tom Booth, and Bethany Dillon as well as other prominent Christian artists. He has performed with greats such as Kelly Clarkson, Toby Mac, Third Day, and Michael W. Smith. Maher has traveled the world performing for a wide range of audiences including Pope Benedict XVI. He has played at world-wide youth events in Toronto, Rome, New York and Sydney. He is currently on tour with Tenth Avenue North and Addison Road. He resides in Tempe, Arizona with his new bride, Kristin.
I had an opportunity to speak with Matt following the concert, and I asked about his favorite performance event thus far. He described his experience at World Youth Day in Sydney where he performed with Hillsong during an event called Receive the Power Alive. There they lead 150,000 people, many who were non-Catholic in an ecumenical worship event complete with adoration. Ecumenism is one of his ministry goals so the experience of having so many non-Catholics there to worship ranks this performance as one of his most loved.
For more information about Matt Maher and his music, please visit www.mattmahermusic.com where he shares more of his testimony as well as insight to his creative process. Also on his site, you will find his blog, upcoming performances and events and his music. You can find both his albums, Empty and Beautiful and Alive Again on iTunes. If you ever have an opportunity to worship with Matt and his Band, you will find it to be an incredible encounter with our Lord – an experience you will not want to miss. At the end of the evening, I had the opportunity to have Matt sign my song book and he wrote “Be God’s”. Thank you Matt for doing just that. What a beautiful blessing you are to His Church.
Editor’s Note: I was at this concert too, and somehow Lori and I missed meeting one another! I thought you might enjoy this short video I took with my iPhone from the concert. Lisa
Copyright 2010 Lori Miller