I recently discovered the music of bilingual artist Evan Craft. Earlier this year, I heard his hit song "Be Alright," but I honestly had no clue who he was. Then, I had the opportunity to see him in concert. When he walked out on stage, the crowd went nuts.
The iconic contemporary artist Crowder was also playing at the event. I thought everyone came to see him perform. Nope, much of the audience came to see Evan Craft. And for a good reason, too; he's an outstanding artist, and by the end of the concert, I was a fan. Whether you speak English or Spanish (or both), Evan has a way of connecting with his fans in a real and relatable way.
Evan's music has impacted my life, and it's impacted the lives of so many others. I recently had the opportunity to talk with him about his latest album Holy Ground, his hit song "Be Alright," and what it's been like for him to create bilingual music.
So, you're a white guy singing Spanish songs. What inspired you to become bilingual?
I grew up in Los Angeles, California, around a lot of Latinos. My dad runs a homeless shelter, and he would always have a translator help him understand Spanish. I thought, wouldn't it be great if I could speak Spanish without a translator? So, I took Spanish classes in high school. I was young enough that I learned the language pretty easily.
Really, I wanted to love my neighbor as myself. I knew that if I wanted to bring the Gospel to other people, I needed to be able to speak their language. That just made sense to me. So, I'm glad that I was a nerd in high school, reading the popular book Chronicles of Narnia in Spanish and carrying around a dictionary (this feels like a lifetime ago). It's incredible when you can speak someone's language, make them feel at home, and communicate with them on their level.
Your music has exploded over the past few years, especially after the release of "Be Alright." Tell us about that, and the impact you've seen the song have.
The song's success really surprised me. I wrote "Be Alright" in Spanish, and in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, I rewrote it in English, based on what's been going on in my brother's life. He lost his job due to COVID and he was frustrated. I wrote the second verse—which popular lead singer Danny Gokey sings on—about my brother.
It's been wonderful to be able to bring comfort through "Be Alright." I've heard testimonies of people who are going through challenges. They said that once they listened to the song, they found comfort in it. The goal of most artists and songwriters is to connect with people in a real way. Just as Spanish is a language, music is a language as well. I really believe that the Holy Spirit is working through this song.
You just released a new worship album called Holy Ground. What's the inspiration behind that project?
I grew up as a worship leader, working on many worship projects and events in Latin America. But I always struggled writing worship songs because I write complicated melodies. Worship music felt a little bit limiting to me. But I think I have a really good balance in these new songs on Holy Ground.
I wrote one of my favorite songs "Healer" with Christian artists Christine D'Clario, Josh Silverberg, and Ryan Ellis. When we wrote the song, we talked about how God can heal the body, soul, and mind. We wanted to remind people of the miraculous power of Jesus.
"Fix My Eyes" is another song on the album. I sang it with worship pastor and recording artist Ke'Erron, one of my best friends. I got married a month ago, so my life has been a whirlwind. It's been amazing. But in the middle of everything, I realized that I wasn't really praying, and I wasn't really reading my Bible. I was very much caught up with everything.
One day while I was driving home, I said to God, "Fix my heart and fix my eyes on You. Remind me of who You are and what you've done." A song came out of that moment. This album is powerful, and it reminds us that where we are is holy ground because the Holy Spirit is there.
On Holy Ground, you collaborated with artists, such as Pat Barrett, Christine D'Clario, and Miel San Marcos. What was it like working with them on this project?
Pat Barrett is probably one of the kindest people I've ever met. So working with him was a breeze and a joy. Christine D'Clario did amazing work. We've been friends for years. They're all people I've looked up to for a long time, and I've worked with them over the past few years. It was like getting to work with your friends, and I think that's where we find synergy. We work well together, and the music shows the joy that we have.
I've collaborated with artists on every album I've released. I took a class from a Grammy Award-winning producer, and he said, "Be the weakest link in the room." Surrounding myself with people who are talented and gifted has been part of my strategy. And it's also been an amazing gift from the Lord.
To accompany the new album, you've also been releasing new live videos. What was it like filming those?
It was crazy. We filmed about 17 videos in one day—we made the whole album in English and Spanish. We did about two takes for each video, so it was exhausting. We started at 10 a.m. and finished at 6 p.m. I didn't think my voice would hold up for that long. But it was amazing. And we got to have people there singing with us. I'm very grateful for that experience.
This year at the 52nd Annual Dove Awards, you won Spanish Album of the Year. You also presented an award. What was that experience like for you?
It was a huge honor, and I'm grateful for it. I was nominated among some amazing artists, and I'm very humbled to have won. I had some amazing moments. I presented the Inspirational Movie of the Year award. I met contemporary singer Francesca Battistelli and hung out with other great artists and people that I've looked up to for years. If you can make the trip out, come to the Dove Awards next year. You'll have a great time.
You'll be going on the Hasta Poder Ver Tour with Christine D'Clario this November. What will those nights be like?
We're touring for a few nights in November, and we have another set of tour dates in March. We're heading to Texas, around the northeast, and Florida. We're really excited. I'll be opening up for Christine, and I'll also be singing "Healer" with her. We believe it will be a powerful experience. Whether you speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, or any other language, we want you to come out. You're all invited. It's going to be an amazing time.
What's next for you? Any plans for 2022?
Right now, we're editing a documentary that I shot with some friends in South America. It's about a bike ride where we ended up raising money to help two Venezuelan Paralympic athletes. It's a beautiful story that we want to share. I'm also trying to write a book while we continue to release new music. We have a new single ready to release this winter, so we're going non-stop. I have a lot on my plate, but I'm very grateful for it.
Finally, how can we be praying for you?
Pray that I'll be able to be a good husband. Being married reveals a lot about yourself, so I'm learning how to be a good husband and be less selfish. Pray that God would inspire us for the dreams and visions that He has for us. We want to live our lives in line with that.
Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is NRT's news editor, and one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author, loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.
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