"Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible."
Every now and again there are artists who come around that transcend a specific genre of music. It is those special artists who define the culture. They are not afraid to be unboxed and they welcome the process of creating a sound that is uniquely their own. These are the trailblazers. These are the sound makers who disrupt the society in which we live and cause listeners to think more deeply about what is going on in the world around them. They are catalysts for change.
There is a band coming out of the Washington DC Metropolitan area, who is getting ready to shake up the music industry in a profound and exciting way. Allow me to introduce to you in an exclusive interview, One More Block.
I had the distinct privilege to sit down with One More Block's band leader and drummer, Thomas Morris and its lead singer and one of its writers, Amanda Olsavsky Hu. We discussed a plethora of topics, but our focus was on the music they’re creating, the mission vision of the band and the creative approach they are taking to minister to the masses. One More Block Band was birthed out of a God-inspired dream given to Morris and a desire to stretch himself as a professional musician: stepping out on faith and trusting the Lord for the things he could not yet see. It was in his obedience that God began to provide the avenues and the people to bring this vision to life. As he obeyed, the Lord was faithful to supply.
In his own words Morris stated, “One More Block is a testimony of being close to where you want to be, but a lot of times people give up because they don’t really know how close they are. And the Lord is simply saying, “Just one more block.” Take one more step.” A lot of people quit right before they get [to where God is trying to take them] there.” For Hu, the name of the band was also significant. She shared that she had “given up on music” years prior and found herself discouraged because of people and lack of aligning visions. These things caused her to go through a “spiritual depression.” Hu mentioned that for her, music is interconnected with her faith walk. She found herself in a season where she no longer had the desire to do any music. It wasn’t until Morris reached out to her and explained the vision of this new project he was putting into the works that she dusted of off a dream that had become dormant. She said that, “it was like the Lord saying, “Amanda, I have one more block. Let’s do this again.”” For Hu, there has been “a revitalization musically and spiritually because the opportunity to be a part of One More Block.”
This group consists of eleven (11) members which include singers and an arranger along with a host of instrumentalists ranging from drums to a fiddle. Morris said, “It’s a big team, but everyone is working together.” When asked to describe the band’s sound, Morris and Hu chuckled to themselves because the sound is as eclectic as the band itself. Hu stated that the band is “still trying to figure it out. It really is a hybrid. Because we have so many different experiences, and the background music is so diverse as a collective, we are defining our own space.” They are part alternative, part rock, part country, part blue grass, with some Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) sprinkled into the mix. One More Block is redefining music with an undefined sound.
The band’s first single, “He Lives in Me” had been stirring around in Morris’ spirit for approximately two years before he released the idea to anyone else. Hu divulged that he sent a rough cut of the track to her in a voice memo and then another member of the band transposed what Morris originally had and sent it back to her to write the lyrics to. Her vocal background is in Southern Gospel and Bluegrass. She shared that in the process of creating the story around the track, she “had this memory of her great grandmother on her death bed singing hymns.” She went on to say, “the first line [of “He Lives in Me”] is “The old hymns say “My Savior’s alive!” Literally, each section is based on a hymn that I remember singing growing up.”
The creative process for the members of One More Block Band stems from faith, their individual experiences and is backed by the Word of God. Hu said when writing, “I didn’t want to just write things on a page and throw it out there. I wanted to believe what I was writing. I didn’t want it to just rhyme. I wanted it to be truth.” This is their winning combination.
The endeavor has not been an easy lift for them to carry, but Morris has been reminded that “to do this takes faith.” He said, “I don’t have it all, but the Lord is providing. The problem is that a lot of times the Lord will give you a vision, but all you see is what you don’t have… He sees what He’s going to do. Once you understand that, you can get more things done.”
It’s admirable that as their most recent song is continuing to gain traction across various platforms, they are already working on sharing others with their growing audience on a full-length album prayerfully in the Spring. One song that they seem to be excited about releasing is entitled “More.” Morris explained that “We are at a place where there is a lot of turmoil going on. There is a lot of senseless killing and crime. In this time there is a lot of fear. Everyone is operating in fear and in defense, which is understandable, but no one is asking for more of the Lord. I want this song to help people understand that we need to ask for more of Him. We need Him more than ever!”
We will definitely be on the lookout for that!
This moment for One More Block Band is described as “big.” For Morris it’s because he’s been able to see “how relationships come together.” Friendships that have spanned over a number of years are coming back around for such a time as this. Hu said this moment serves as a reminder that “God is not defined by timelines.”
The overarching theme of our interview was that if arriving to a place is our sole purpose for moving in a direction, we can miss all of the beautiful things that God desires to show us on the way to the destination.
One More Block is, "ready to be known to the world" and they are learning to enjoy the journey along the way.
Be sure to follow One More Block on the following Social Media platforms:
And Don't forget to purchase their song, "He Lives In Me" available everywhere music is sold!