By Bryan Gutierrez —
Christopher Greenwood fell more than four steps when he attempted a kick-flip off some stairs on a skateboard while trying to go pro in high school.
Permanently injured, his dreams crushed, Greenwood fell into depression.
“My world just fell apart. Everything I had ever wanted to be was just taken from me,” he says. “I was in a dark and discouraged place for a while.”
Since he wasn’t skating anymore, he hung out with musicians and he made rhymes just for fun to while away the time. He discovered he was good at it.
One thing led to another, and today he’s a Dove-award winning Christian rap-rocker using the stage name Manafest (as in manifesting the truth). His daily passion of skating was replaced with singing for the glory of God.
Manafest was born in Pickering, Ontario. His father committed suicide when he was five-years-old, leaving him with his mother and sister. He accepted Christ into his heart a few years later at a Bible camp.
He started skating at age 14 and skated every day of his life. After high school, he took off a year from skating and tried to pick up sponsors. Then the fateful accident happened.
Life was doom and doom and gloom. But his buddies helped lift his spirits. Because they played music, he started tinkering. He wasn’t any good — at first.
“I really sucked at it for a while — at rapping. I had to work at it,” he says. “But God just gave me a dream and a passion for this music. I saw a picture of performing in front of a lot of people and sharing my heart on things.
“God did a lot of big things in my life and set me free from a lot of junk,” he says. “I was embarrassed about my past. I wasn’t proud about it. That was a turning point when I was starting to do music.”
Since 2003, he’s produced nine studio albums. He has won multiple awards for the GMA Canada Covenant Awards and GMA Dove Awards. He was on the BEC Recordings label for 10 years but went solo in 2015. His found a passion greater than four wheels on the sidewalk.
“I’m a Christian before I’m anything else,” Manafest says. “My faith impacts everything I do. God created me, and I believe I was created to create. My faith in Jesus has always been the foundation that I turn to when things are going great or things are going wrong and I need encouragement and confidence.
“The principles (of Christianity) are so amazing when you apply them to your life,” he says. “They really help you to stay focused on a right path. You can make bad decisions. The reason why bad things happen to good people is because good people make bad decisions. Having faith has helped me to create boundaries for my life and say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to go there and sacrifice and mess up a certain area of my life.’”
In 2003, Manafest married Melanie Cardoza, a part-time model who also runs the graphic design company Vision City (which designs the concepts for many of Manafest’s designs, promotionals, and merchandise). In March 2014, they had their first child, a daughter they christened “London Grace.”
Manafest’s favorite Bible verse is Philippians 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Focusing on the past is pointless, he says.
“My faith has kept me grounded, has kept me grounded — in my marriage, everything I do,” he says. “I don’t like to hang around people who are caught up with the past. Sometimes people get caught up in where they came from or had a bad upbringing. You know, my dad committed suicide. I was really overweight as a kid. I was very confused and didn’t know what I wanted to do. That scripture helped me to focus on goals in my life.”
To know more about a personal relationship with God, click here.
Bryan Gutierrez studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Los Angeles. His instructor also sells ten-inch bamboo steamers on Amazon. Click here or on the image if you want to buy one.