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The Advocate



Group 1 Crew Interview
by Tracy Darlington

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"
Fearless to us doesn't mean that we don't feel fear but simply that in the face of fear we won't turn back but keep pressing forward in faith." --Manwell Reyes


There was a time when hip hop and Christian music seemed to be mutually exclusive, but in a few short years, Group 1 Crew (Blanca and Manwell) has broadened the parameters of faith-based music with songs that percolate with energy and resonate with the truth of God’s grace.

Manwell sat down and chatted with us about their new album Fearless.

How did you know God was calling you to pursue music as a career?

There was a love for music that didn't go away no matter what I tried. It was something I was doing passionately and didn't even care about payment or praise, just loved the thrill of it all.

What do you know now that you wished you'd known when you first started in music?

How big social media was going to be.

How did you come to know the Lord?

I was invited to church camp at the exact time that a friend was shot and another friend was thrown in jail. I realized that my life was heading in the same direction as my friends if I didn't change something. That's where I found God.

Talk about how God spoke to you about giving your talent to Him:

For me it was more of an obvious transition. When I started following God, my life became surrounded with the things of God so it was those things that naturally flowed out of me.

Can you explain the title of your new album Fearless?

Fearless to us doesn't mean that we don't feel fear but simply that in the face of fear we won't turn back but keep pressing forward in faith. We know life can be extremely difficult and scary at times but our attitude towards that is one of resolve and belief in the things God has said about our future. This album expresses all of those emotions.

What was the hardest part in the recording process?

There really isn't a hard part in the recording process. It's the most freeing and creative process and honestly one of our favorites.

What's surprised you most in the making of Fearless?

The response was the biggest surprise. We were happy to receive more praise than anything else.

Is there a theme behind the album?

We want to encourage people to see beyond their circumstance and see that God has purpose beyond our fear and doubt. God truly can do anything!

FearlessThe song “He Said” is a duet with Chris August. What was it like working with him?

Chris is a good friend so anytime we get to work with our friends it's always a blessing. It also helps that they're ridiculously talented like Chris. We're big fans of his.

For those who haven't heard your album yet, how does Fearless differ from your other CDs?

Our style always changes from record to record. On this one there's more singing in an attempt to expand our reach and gain new fans. It still has classic Group 1 Crew sounds and great party anthems as well as deep emotional songs that connect with real life on many different levels.

What type of music would you like to record someday, but haven't yet?

I'd love to record big band music like Frank Sinatra!

What's the biggest obstacle in your life God's helped you overcome?

Myself. Believing that I'm worth something more than what I thought of myself. Believing that God could use me.

What's your favorite Bible verse and why?

Phil 1:6. It gave me assurance that God wasn't done with me. Even though
I wasn't perfect, God would never give up on me, and this verse promised me that.

Anything else you'd like to share with TitleTrakk.com readers?

To keep believing in who God made you to be. Don't be afraid to be you. There's beauty in being original.

You’re in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?

Oatmeal

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?

I love romantic comedies more than anything and I'm addicted to shopping - lol

Three things always found in your refrigerator:

Almond milk, eggs, apple juice


Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.