Over the last ten years, The Grammy Museum at L.A. Live has worked towards fulfilling its mission to educate the public about the history and cultural significance of American music and inspire the next generation to explore and create new forms of music. The Museum accomplishes this through innovative programming, cutting-edge interactive and dynamic exhibitions – and has hosted hundreds of Q&A and performance sessions in the intimate Clive Davis Theatre with artists of all genres, including gospel.
Until the night of October 8, however, when the popular L.A. based worship ensemble Mosaic MSC was in the house, The Grammy Museum had never gone to church. Artistic Director Scott Goldman conducted an insightful, often humorous interview with two of its members, Mariah McManus and Carlos Pimintel before the full ensemble of five singers and four musicians created a wildly thumping, high octane musical worship experience that had everyone in the crowd up dancing, shouting and singing praises to the Lord with their heavenly hosts. As one friend who saw my post on Facebook Live said, “Jesus is in the house!” It seemed that everyone in the audience was either a fan or regular Mosaic attendee, because literally everyone waved their hands in the air and sang along to every word.
True to its compelling name and mission for its home city of Los Angeles and the world, Mosaic is more than a thriving, multi-cultural community of faith. It’s a powerful expression of the power of love and a hopeful beacon of light in dark, troubling times. It’s a realm where a broken and fragmented humanity can find joy and solace while transforming into a work of collective beauty in the artful hands of God as his divine light shines through. One of the core Mosaic experiences, and a huge part of its community and global outreach, is Mosaic MSC – which they emphatically call “the sound of our church, a voice for our city, an expression of faith, hope and love to the world, sharing the message of Jesus through music.”
In March, this collective of some of Los Angeles’ most talented and culturally diverse singers and musicians scored their biggest Billboard hit to date with the soulful hypnotic single “Tremble,” from their 2016 live album Glory & Wonder. The track, an unabashed expression of Jesus’ power to bring new life and peace to all, spent 33 weeks total on the Hot Christian Songs chart and peaked at #19. Its lyric video has amassed an astounding 2.5 million views (and counting!) on YouTube. Glory & Wonder itself reached #16 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart.
Building on the excitement and global momentum over “Tremble,” Mosaic MSC recently released the EP Heaven, its first-ever full-length studio recording after two live albums, including their 2015 MSC (Live in LA). Penned collectively by the ensemble and featuring their most uplifting and inspiring tracks ever, the album alternates between male and female lead vocals sung by some of the most prominent members of the worship team. Helping bring the group’s mystical, atmospheric, electronica-driven pop/rock energy to life on Heaven is the project’s producer Chad Copelin, a 2017 Grammy nominee whose resume includes Christina Perri, Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne.
Mosaic MSC was at the Museum to celebrate Heaven (in more ways than one!), which has also charted in Billboard. Artistic Director Goldman seemed to be having fun trying to draw a distinction between Christian and secular music, while McManus and Pimentel spoke eloquently about the fascinating history of Mosaic and its thriving community dominated by younger worshipers and creatives (reflecting a creative God, of course). Pimentel said that Mosaic MSC’s role is to use music to connect people in an effort to tell a bigger story; their worship is not just in songs but in their day to day conversations. McManus added, “The language of Mosaic is designed to help people understand the heart of Jesus. What else can a thousand people connect so deeply with right away?”
The spirit-filled five song worship session is probably a fraction of what the full church experience is like, but Mosaic MSC made the most of its limited time, mixing “Tremble” with booming, infectious romps through the Heaven songs “Never Let Me Down,” “Maker of the Heavens,” “Eyes on You” and the uniquely titled “15,” a throbbing EDM-driven burst of excitement. A blend of electronic and organic music, Mosaic MSC’s songs are gentler, more introspective moments, but there’s always a sense that they’re building rhythmically towards an unabashed Jesus Jam and a desire to share the Gospel in a positive, loving, irresistible way.
When Goldman entered the green room after the show to say hello to the band, crew and other personnel on hand, he seemed genuinely touched by their spirit and kindness and thanked them sincerely for bringing to the Grammy Museum one of its most unique and transcendent evenings in recent memory.