All posts by Jonathan Andre

MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 32: BRYAN ADAMS

Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that artists can be too good for the period of the time in which they were impactful and prevalent in. Hear me out though. Take this new artist Bryan Adams for example, of which I am going to be discussing. Amongst the sea of countless other music artists, one could assume and think that this person Bryan hardly stands tall amongst the rest at all- besides, I’m sure everyone has heard of artists like Rascal Flatts, Owl City, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, Phil Collins and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. But Bryan Adams? Ok, maybe the people who indeed grew up with music from the 1980s have heard his presence on the radio, but for the average commonfolk who has just been listening to the radio all these years and nothing else, can an artist like Bryan cut through all the supposition and assumptions, and make his own music known in a world where image and how you project yourself can in many ways be more important on a fan-based level than the actual songs and meanings of them in the first place? Let me say from the outset- Bryan Adams is a legend in his own right. He is a influencer, a musician, a singer-songwriter, and a passionate guy who wants to connect feeling and emotion through the way he knows how- through music. But had it not been for this blog series, and me taking a gamble on hearing a few popular songs from the 1980s as influence for this series in general, I would not have heard Bryan and his music at all- except for his crossover hits ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, which is a tremendous shame. I would’ve carried on my life listening to what I’ve been listening to- nothing wrong with that; but looking at my own life and the musical tastes I have now compared to even at the beginning of 2019, I’ve taken more risks, which is a good thing. Bryan Adams is one such risk, and a well-received one. For Bryan’s knack for creating 1980s songs that still have that aura and connection about them now as I’m sure the songs had back then is nothing short of genius and maybe, God-given. Bryan’s songs have influenced a generation far and wide, and though he may even be reaching a demographic group on a generation level higher than myself, the songs nevertheless have profound meaning, asserting my view that he is one of my top 5 most surprising (in a good way) artists I’ve come across in my blog series of 32 artists (out of 100, and then a further 20 world-class artists) thus far.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 31: RASCAL FLATTS

If you were to tell me a year ago that one of my frequented genres of music over the year would be country music, I’d tell you to rack off, laugh in your face, and say ‘you got the wrong guy’. No seriously, prior to this year, I was dead-set opposed to quite possibly a lot of things country- except for a few Carrie Underwood songs here and there. For me, I assumed what country music would be and what it would be like. I didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, and so when the time came for me to compile a 100 top influential artist’s list, it was always interesting and eye-opening to say the least, whenever a country artist came around. Now here I am in October, 30 blog entries into this year-long (and most certainly longer!) project, and I’ve listened to my fair share of country music in that time period- Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, The McClymonts, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, even some odd few Kelly Clarkson songs. And what is my assessment of country music as of right now? It’s not too bad. In fact, the country that is indeed influential today, the artists that have left a stamp on music history- their music’s not that bad. Now my opinion about country music from people who are up-and-coming today may be a different story, and maybe I won’t be a great judge of artists of the ‘new’ country music. Nevertheless, what I have observed about country music from the 1990s/2000s (much of the country artists I’ve heard are from that particular era!), is the authentic and emotive nature of the songs and melodies. And now here in my 31st entry, I’ve decided to unpack yet another country artist- this time, trio Rascal Flatts have been blasted through my ears through the last week or so. In this short, albeit quick time that I have been able to make an holistic judgement, I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the band and their undertakings of songs that are fun, but also songs that mean something too. A group that is standing tall in country music today, I’ve been further reminded of how real, honest, and emotive such a genre as this can get, and that my assumptions about country were dead wrong. A reminder that all of us can be better people whenever we assume less; Rascal Flatts are indeed a band to check out if you enjoy more older-school country music, artists who would’ve started out in the early 2000s than the artists currently in the Billboard charts today!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 30: STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN

I love music, I love being a student of music. Now at this point in my life, creatively and my journey musically, I’m still learning, and growing and still a student. I’m still listening to music and when music moves me or inspires me, I try and figure out what it is about that, that moved me and I try to learn from that and incorporate that into what I’m doing creatively. At this point in my life I still think there are things that I have to say that can be very relevant hopefully to millennials and to all of us because there are real connecting points. Yeah there are some things that are unique to our different age brackets but there’s a whole lot more that’s real common ground. I’m trying to stay real connected to that and find that common ground.
When I first started, Christian music was pretty narrowly defined. You’d have your crazy people out there like Steve Taylor who was doing punk rock music but for the most part if you really looked at what was considered Christian music at the time it was pretty inspirational. Even the singer-songwriters weren’t even as prevalent. There were songs that were kind of hymns, big productions, beautiful great songs but it was more narrowly defined as far as what Christian music was. As time has gone on, you had DC Talk come along and said ‘let’s take rap music’- it’s an art form and it’s a style that a lot of people really connect with, let’s take that and use it to proclaim truth and use it to speak messages that are redemptive, and faith filled messages to encourage people. [Now] you have everything from singer-songwriters to rappers to all kinds of different styles and different genres. I think that has grown and also the quality of the music.
In the early days we fought a lot against Christian music being viewed as a sub par. The production wasn’t as good, we didn’t have as much money to try and spend to make the kind of record that they were making in pop and rock ‘n’ roll music. But over the time as the genre has grown and more and more people have connected with it and bought the records and supported the infrastructure, the more and more we were able to really make better quality music, with the sounds of the recording, which allowed it then to grow even more.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 29: THE CORRS

What determines if something is successful or dare I say, even influential? Can an artist be as influential as they can be, even if no one really notices? I say this because there has been a few artists on my list thus far that people can deem to be ‘controversial’- not in a sense that their lyrics and message can be questionable- far from it. But rather, artists like CCM/folk singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson, CCM band Tenth Avenue North, even the Aussie Country-trio The McClymonts, aren’t that well known outside of their particular niche, and yet, I’ve been impacted and touched by each of their careers in music thus far. They are influential, but in the grand scheme of things as to whether they are influential according to sales and people noticing these artists…well, they’re not. And maybe that’s ok. Criteria for influential artists can vary from artist to artist, and as I’ve gone through these weeks of delving into an artist each week, I’ve known and understood that I indeed don’t know that much, and it is in my honesty in admitting that the pool of music and artists are too big for even me to delve into fully, that I can truly appreciate the vast musical and sonic landscape for what it is- music artists who impact and affect different time periods and different genres. What I like may be different from what you like, and that’s ok. What I’ve grown up to label as influential to me may be totally different to you- and this is why I have my 20 artists that I’ve set aside that I will discuss later on, that I’m sure anyone who is anyone who loves music, can agree that these artists inside the 20 are indeed influential, without question!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 28: ONEREPUBLIC

Sometimes I wonder about the toil that it must take on someone who is a person of faith, but is ministering a lot (I don’t know if ministering is the right word, maybe creating their skills and expertise is probably better) within the confines of ‘mainstream’ media if you will. The media that seems to hate on Christianity everywhere you turn (I know that’s a big assumption, but that’s other thing to talk about in another post…not here!). What happens to a person’s soul if you are immersed into a culture that may or may not be what you initially think it is? What happens when what you stand for doesn’t necessarily line up to what the world says you should stand for…what then? I’ve been listening to a lot of music and artists these last 20-something weeks or so- some by people of faith, some by people who are not. And what I’ve found common amongst all the music is a need to be loved and accepted, to find purpose and meaning, to have music as a reminder to us all that whatever we’re going through, there is hope and light at the end of our journeys, moving from the mundane to the magical, the uncertain to the uncanny, from the hopeless to the happy. OneRepublic are such a band that have explored a lot of themes that I myself have been obtaining over the last few months, and then some- some may call them as artists who are following the step of Coldplay and U2, others say that they are reminding themselves of other under-the-radar artists like Lifehouse and The Fray.

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