For a band that formed out of high school to “try it for a couple years before college,” Manic Drive has certainly outperformed expectations. 

Its career kicked off in 2004 in Mississauga, Ont., when the Cavallo brothers—vocalist Shawn with Michael on guitar—began recording music for their first release, Reason for Motion. Since then, the self-described “fun and upbeat band” has cemented itself in the Christian music industry with a catalogue of rock ranging from alternative with a hint of metal to pop with a hint of electronic elements. 

Shawn Cavallo of Manic Drive
“I don’t know if you can top the fulfilment you get from doing something incredibly fun while also being a service to a higher purpose,” says Shawn

The Passion and the Music

With five albums to its credit and a sixth on the way this year, Manic Drive has become a wellknown Christian musical group. They’ve toured internationally and won multiple accolades, including a JUNO and a Gospel Music Association of Canada Covenant Award, both in 2015 for the album VIP, which also features the work of drummer and friend, Anthony Moreino. 

But hand in hand with industry success, the Cavallos have also ensured that Manic Drive continues to represent the Christian values of its foundation and positively influence listeners. 

“We grew up in a Christian home with no real industry experience, but we had supportive parents who encouraged music,” says Shawn. “We loved watching live bands and Christian artists. Seeing the music side of things and the talent, we had an understanding that there was an underlying purpose to what those guys were doing and saying. It made sense to us as young kids.

“Our call to music sort of just happened, but after jumping in, we realized it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice. Suddenly, that spiritual element we grew up with and learned from church and the bands that inspired us had to get stronger for Manic Drive to have any sustainability or longevity. We realized if there isn’t an underlying passion behind music, if you’re just doing it to get popular or famous, then there isn’t enough there, and it’s not substantial.” 

Michael Cavallo of Manic Drive
Michael in concert. Throughout the course of a 15-year career, Manic Drive remains committed to sharing the good news of Jesus

Pursuing Dreams

To Shawn, the understanding of a solid faith foundation has been crucial not only for his life but for Manic Drive’s success. 

“That faith element must increase as your career grows. You need micro-steps of faith to get through challenges.

”One of those challenges that Manic Drive faced was the pandemic. The music industry was shuttered for more than two years, and artists that thrive off a connection with audiences and fans were deprived of much of the secret of their success. However, Shawn believes it was something else for his faith to overcome. 

“Every time you’re faced with a challenge,” he says, “your faith has to step up. The pandemic was just another obstacle for me. I had to sit down with myself and ask: Is this what I want to do? Is this worth it? Does this have value? Am I fulfilled with this?”

This perspective applies to all aspects of life. “We must use difficult circumstances to remind ourselves of the value of what we’re doing,” Shawn believes. “Frustration can help us find the importance of something because we don’t want to lose it.”

Such words reflect the bands inspirational message, and despite musical changes and evolution, shifting between rock and pop, the Cavallo brothers can never be accused of “selling out.” Throughout the course of a 15-year career, Manic Drive remains committed to sharing the good news of Jesus, and inspiring others to follow Him and pursue their dreams.


Manic Drive understands their role as Christian artists and that they are held to a higher value. The message matters—not the musical style.

“When you start selling out the message, there’s a problem,” Shawn says. “When you compromise what you want to say and what you believe, that’s when there can be a huge dissonance for the audience.”

As well, though they are a successful band that has influenced many people, the awareness that they are part of something larger than themselves has helped the brothers stay humble, keep the band intact, appreciate their calling and continue working for it.

“I don’t know if you can top the fulfilment you get from doing something incredibly fun while also being a service to a higher purpose,” Shawn smiles. 

“Every time you’re faced with a challenge, your faith has to step up." SHAWN CAVALLO

Being a part of something larger has not only impacted the foundation and purpose of Manic Drive but it has made Shawn and Michael consider their legacy and how they will be remembered as people who played a small role in God’s more important story. 

“Some of the most impactful moments of my life were small Christian rock concerts. There were bands performing for 50 to 100 kids—and I was one of them,” Shawn reflects. 

“Some of those bands don’t exist anymore. They might be looking back, thinking, Why did I do it? I’ve attempted to reach out to some and say that they have no idea how much that show impacted me. I want to be a small part of that story. If I can convince other kids to do something crazy like this, I consider that a success, because that changed everything in my life.” 

With its previous album, entitled Volume 1, released in 2020, Manic Drive looks to promote its newest single, Under, before continuing its inspirational message with their newest album, Volume 2, coming out later this year.

Photos: Courtesy of Manic Drive

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