Music Monday: Michael Bennett - In Your Presence EP

Music Monday:  Michael Bennett - In Your Presence EP 

Release Date:  March 16, 2017 

I’m always impressed about the way God brings certain names across my path; especially in regards to worship music.  I have so appreciated the connections made through this blog and the humble servants that God has led me to.  These are people doing kingdom work; all the while using their gifts and talents to create and bring forth something new…something of eternal value.   

Michael Bennett is a name I’m grateful to have recently met.  He’s a worship artist who at the burgeoning age of 20 just released his newest EP this past March, titled In Your Presence.  Bennett’s passion for worship leads him to write songs that have influence on the church worldwide.  “My hope is that God would use these songs to touch the global body of Christ….to focus us on the essentials of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  My dream would be to have churches sing these songs one day and that God would use them to touch hearts and minister to all who hear.”  I’m amazed that a 20 year old would have this kind of heart and this kind of drive to see God transform lives through music.   

"To My King (Hallelujah)" opens up the 4 song EP and makes me immediately think of artists like Chris Tomlin or Matt RedmanBennett admits Tomlin is a great influence and lyrics and melodies on this album reflect some of that.  To My King is actually a very chill and soothing start to the project and sets the tone for worship and praise.  Lyrically the chorus is very catchable and singable (Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah to my King).  It’s a song that would be a great opener for a Sunday worship set.   

Track two "Enough" offers a strong pulsating rhythm and sonically could sit right beside anything by Hillsong Young & Free or Planetshakers.  It’s the most uptempo track of the album full of loops and synths which makes it feel very modern and in-step with where much of worship is headed.  Being the album was produced by Michael’s brother, Brendan Bennett, I’m confident the two of them had some intentionality in making these songs accessible to those 20 and under.  And I’m loving the lyrics, especially this bridge line: 

You awake my heart to life 
Breaking forth Your light 
Your love satisfies my soul 
All I need is You and You alone 

The vamping pad loop that starts out "Psalm 63 (In Your Presence)" is one of my favorite sounds on the whole album.  It reminds me of something you’d hear by One Republic…a personal favorite of mine!  Furthermore, I can hear similarities between Bennett’s voice and Ryan Tedder as Bennett’s commanding vocals sit perfectly over the mix.  Raw and honest, Psalm 63 cries out a prayer set to song.  It has that ability to point people towards transforming power: 

I have searched all day in Your temple 
To see Your glory Oh my God and Your power 
Because Your love is better than life 
With You we’re satisfied  

Closing things out, "Here I Am" brings things down one last time, dynamically-speaking.  It’s verses are reflective and personal and it could be a song churches use primarily during an altar call or as a time of response.  Even still, it builds steadily throughout and by the bridge it is more upbeat and exclamatory…Michael hits that octave leap in the final chorus and man, I’m right there worshipping with him! 

Here I am, standing before You 
Unashamed I’m made new 
Here I am, standing before You 
Amen, here I am  
 

When asked about the writing process for In Your Presence, Bennett states, “The songs on this EP were all written out of a season where God was really showing me more of who He was and who I am now in Him.  His presence changes everything in our day to day lives and because of the life and eternal life Jesus has invited us into, He is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.”  With every listen to this project, I have to agree that the presence of the Lord does change everything.  It’s His very presence that artists like Michael Bennett are helping people encounter by writing and leading songs completely focused on Jesus.   

If you are interested in booking Michael for an event to lead worship or would simply like to connect with him, you can visit his website at www.michaelbennettmusic.com or look him up on-line via various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram).   

This last quote reflects Michael’s heart behind his music and is what I leave you with:  “The goal of this ministry has always been and always will continue to be JESUS.  Without Him, nothing has purpose or meaning, and my hope is that every single individual who hears these songs would have an encounter with the true and living God in His powerful presence.  May it always be about Him and His presence.”  

Amen

Until the next #musicmonday, God bless!

Derek Charles Johnson is a Christ-follower, worship leader, and songwriter residing in Spring Hill, Tennessee. He can be reached at info@derekcharlesjohnson.com

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