It was on a missions trip to Italy in 2009, that I met Manuel Luz. Manuel, and his wife Debbie, along with their four children live in El Dorado Hills, California. Manuel is the Pastor of Worship and Creative Arts at his church called Oak Hills in Folsom, California. Through the ministry of Bob Kilpatrick, I with Oikeo Music, Manuel, and several other musicians, worship leaders, and technicians converged together in Rome, Italy to teach, lead, and support the ministry of worship in the churches there.
Manuel has been a Pastor of Worship and Arts for over 20 years, and most of those years at Oak Hills Church. He is an accomplished jazz musician, composer, singer, songwriter, author, aerospace engineer, husband, and father of four. You can read more of his bio here which tells the story of how he, an engineer turned rock star, became a pastor of worship and the arts. With a discography of contributing to over 50 albums in his career, I was thrilled when Manuel offered to produce my album “Red Sky“.
Manuel took my words and lyrics and together with a group of talented musicians from the Sacramento area: Kent Peterson, Steven Randal, David Holcomb, Elissa Benguerel, and Michaela Nassello, created the soundtracks that communicate each song for the album. Guitar, cello, bass, drums, strings and keyboards come together to create the settings. Some songs are fast-paced and full of energy, others are contemplative and peaceful. Manuel worked with me to create both the feel and energy for each song to give it its own “voice”. Once the soundtracks were completed, I flew down to Sacramento to record in his studio. Three days later the recording portion was complete and the mixing and editing began.
I love to discover what another person “hears” when they listen to what I have written. By adding their own ideas to what I have created, the songs become so much more. That is the joy of collaborating, and that was my experience in working with Manuel in creating this album.
Beyond the music collaboration, Manuel is a dear friend that I appreciate and admire. Those who know him and have worked with him in ministry concur that he has a gift of encouragement and invests his life in the art, and spiritual development of others. He brings experience, expertise, sensitivity, and a heart to serve to every artistic endeavor he participates in. I am honored to call him a friend.
As I mentioned earlier, Manuel is also an author, and his book Imagine That: Discovering Your Unique Role as a Christian Artist, Manuel Luz expresses how the relationship between God and the artist, and the artist to his art, finds it’s greatest fulfillment–in community. Our collective stories “written” in our art tell the Greater Story of our fall and God’s Redemption. I recommend his book to all artists–from painters to organizers. You will come away with a better understanding of how your art and desire to create is not just a hobby or occupation but is an expression of the character of our Creator God.
Manuel also has a blog that I subscribe to called “Adventures in Faith & Art” where he records his journey in faith through the arts.
Visit his website: www.manuelluz.com