Do you think that it’s possible for an artist who has been around for a long time, who has had a ton of hits, and who has inspired and encouraged the hearts of many, to be only considered an influential artist- not now but 5-10 years into the future? Do you think that’s possible? Can an artist simply fly by relatively under the radar for quite a long while, unnoticed by the general public but then miraculously garner widespread and exponential acclaim and recognition, for whatever reason? Some may say no, and simply put, the artist I’m speaking about today has had plenty of hits and has been around since the turn of the century. Thus, you might tend to agree with most readers and listeners of music out there- that whom I am writing about should in fact be whom Jon is writing about instead. However I reckon this artist doesn’t fit in Jon’s category, and if you think about it, fits quite nicely in and amongst other artists like Tori Kelly, Lauren Daigle, Jess Glynne, Maren Morris, NF, Marc Martel, Colony House and Shawn Mendes to name a few. It might take convincing, maybe even convincing to the length of this entire blog, and maybe even longer than that; but Matthew West is sure to be an artist on everyone’s lips, if not by the time you finish reading this blog, then definitely by Valentine’s Day this year, when his brand new album Brand New releases. Are you sceptical? I mean, if Tenth Avenue North and For King and Country are present on Jon’s list, then surely Matthew’s discography deserves a place on “Most 100 Influential Artists of All Time” as opposed to ‘potentially being influential in the future’? Well to sway your scepticalness, read on- and to directly answer this question of why Matthew is in one list, while Tenth Avenue North and for KING & COUNTRY in another; let me first ask you all a question.
I know I say this every year, but this time I mean it. 2019 was the year that we were presented with the most hard hitting and poignant songs, as well as the most inspirational albums in recent memory. From songs like “Almost Home” (MercyMe), “Greater Than All My Regrets” (Tenth Avenue North), “Head Above Water” (Avril Lavigne), “The God Who Stays” (Matthew West), “Fear No Mor” (Building 429), “I Don’t Care” (Ed Sheeran), “Sucker” (Jonas Brothers), “If I Can’t Have You” (Shawn Mendes), “Miracle” (Tauren Wells), “Lose You To Love Me” (Selena Gomez), “AMEN” (Micah Tyler), “Unstoppable God” (Sanctus Real), “Rescue Story” (Zach Williams) and “Goodness Of God” (Bethel Music); to albums like No Shame (Tenth Avenue North), Head Above Water (Avril Lavigne), Spectrum (Westlife), People (UNITED), Native Tongue (Switchfoot), Ocean (Lady Antebellum), No. 6 Collaborations Project (Ed Sheeran), UNITED (newsboys), Out Of My Hands (Mallary Hope), Unstoppable God (Sanctus Real), Rescue Story (Zach Williams), Reason (Unspoken), Victory (Bethel Music), GIRL (Maren Morris), Haven’t Seen It Yet (Danny Gokey) and the highly controversial Jesus Is King (Kanye West) – this year had it all. Sweeping ballads, head banging rockers, introspective tear-jerkers and just plain fun pop tunes to dance to. And now that it is nearing 2020, it’s that time again in our best of series. To talk about our most anticipated albums for the upcoming year ahead in 2020. So now without further ado, let me list 15 albums that will release within the next twelve months, of which I am anticipating. So which albums are you looking forward to?
I turned 30 last week. Gee…whizz. That’s a big loaded statement to start off my next blog post. Yes, I did turn the big proverbial 3 0 on last week Monday, and after a big long break of just over a month between the last previous blog (Week 34 was for KING AND COUNTRY published online in mid-November) and now, I’ve managed to catch up on a very much needed time of rest, relaxation, and just generally working hard at my work as a café owner and operator. I’ve learnt to slow down a little during my time away, and to remind myself that though this year has been great as I’ve explored a vast myriad of music at my fingertips quite literally (you can search on Youtube for any musical content you wish!); my life wasn’t just music. Over this month when I wasn’t immersing myself into this particular artist and that, I found out how much time I was undertaking the discovery of new artists throughout the year. I was letting this blog series take control of my life, not necessarily consciously, but nevertheless, that’s what I was doing. To put it bluntly, I found a little of my identity in my blog post series this past year. Which isn’t that good. Still, here I am back, and ready to get into yet another year of exploring artists that I believe have made a mark on today’s music culture, amongst people, and shaped music in general. One such artist that I’m about to delve into at the moment, is 1990s and 2000s CCM legend, Carman!
Here at 365 Days Of Inspiring Media, we try to cover a whole manner of articles- although most of the time we have reverted back to the music album review, because it’s what we know the most and what we’re good at the best. However that doesn’t mean that we aren’t heavily invested in other aspects of media. We have reviewed movies and TV shows in the past, and while we have embarked on one of our most ambitious blog series yet (about influential artists of all time!); we are also set to review all shows of the Arrowverse as well as the humongous crossover Crisis On Infinite Earths. But while you look forward to our other posts (which aren’t music reviews!), let me now give you another post to enjoy- as we this time highlight our most anticipated TV shows of 2020. While it’s true that we may not watch all of these shows; I reckon it’s great to have a list so that we can try to keep up if the pilot is enjoyable. So what are you waiting for? These 15 TV shows deserve a mention- so take a watch of these trailers and let me know if you’re planning on watching these shows!
So here we are in December, nearing to the end of the year, and what does that mean? Yes, another ‘best of 2019′ post, that’s what! Here below are 20 songs from the period of October to December 2019 that have impacted our walk with Jesus significantly! So without further ado, below are the 20 songs that have inspired us as a site in recent weeks. Happy listening!
Let me ask you a question that has been running in my brain for the past few days. In the face of adversity, do you run away? Do you cower in fear and curl up in a foetal position? Do you analyse every decision that you make or have made or will make- overthinking and stuck in indecision thinking that the bad outcomes are your fault? Do you cry out and ask for help or do you soldier on and naively believe that you yourself and only yourself can overcome odds that are seemingly insurmountable and impossible? When faced with tragedy and the worst adversity possible, how do you react? Do you cry out to God or turn to your vices like alcohol or drugs to cope? Or do you stick your head in the sand like an ostrich thinking that the problem will go away? Now all of these outcomes are all valid, yet as a Christian I find some ways of coping much healthier than others. Yet over the past couple of weeks I’ve been presented with one of the most unique, heartbreaking, encouraging, inspiring, honest, emotional, vulnerable and freeing journeys I’ve had the pleasure of immersing myself into. The true story of actress and singer Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati to an Italian-American mother and a Sephardic Jewish father), her instant rise to fame and stardom due to the exponential success of musical TV series Glee, and the very public dealing of her boyfriend Cory Monteith’s fatal drug overdose and subsequent healing from scars and internal wounds so that right now Lea is in a place of peace and contentment with life; is very remarkable and so, so relevant for society right now. As Lea overcomes adversity, heartbreak and negative situations in a way that’s commendable and admirable; you may not think that Lea deserves to be in my list of ‘up and coming influential artists over the next 5-10 years’- I mean, she is an actress first and foremost, and she did release music after Glee, so one may say she’s not a ‘true’ artist. However I am certain that once you finish reading what I’m about to say to you all…well I’m sure you’ll rapidly change your mind!
‘…when the foundation of a city is founded on music, you’re bound to be around people who are better at their craft than you are. One of the things that we tell younger artists is to go where people are thriving in that industry. Go to where people are considered to be further along in their craft than you are so you can learn from them. And Nashville’s got tons of songwriters, producers and people working in the space of music. That continues to breed music and creativity seems to be thriving in that spot. And for us, we hope that it continues to grow…It’s always different making any new piece of art. That’s actually the temptation you find when a record has been successful and you start to say, “Maybe I’ll replicate this”. But if you do that, you would’ve repeated what was unique and special that time. People would’ve already consumed that so you have to force yourself to innovate and change. One of the things that we talked about with making the new album is evaluating what songs people connected with on previous albums. And the songs were those that we were personally attached to, so we challenged ourselves on this new one to make every single song have that personal touch. If it was conjured up in our head and it wasn’t real, it was discarded. It had to be something that we’ve walked through or a story that we heard first-hand from somebody else. You always hope for the process to be smoother but, ironically enough, if it was, it would be less important. Art that stands out is difficult to make. That’s been our experience. And if somebody knows how to make amazing art that’s easy, let me know because I would love to sign up for that…’
‘…[the album title Always In Between] comes from the fact that my life has been in between for the last four years. I’ve been here, there and everywhere in work, my personal life and relationships – be it with a man or a woman. The reason I chose that title is because I’ve accepted that it’s OK to not be one way or the other. I wanted to say you’re not lost by being in the middle. The sexuality thing does come into it, but that’s not only what it’s about…Love is tricky. I couldn’t live without it, but it’s not something I necessarily find easy. I’ve been in relationships for years and this is the first time I’ve been single for a little minute. It’s quite nice to have a moment to yourself. If something was to come along, I’m never going to turn it away if it feels right, but just now, I’m content…’
Maybe it’s just a surmising conclusion and what I see doesn’t mean anything at all, or maybe there’s a pattern here. But what I have seen and realised over the last decade or so is that talent competitions, and more specifically American Idol, have produced some of the most emotive, heartfelt, talented and compelling artists this modern generation has ever seen. I know such a claim is by all means bold, and many, many people could disagree with me, and that’s ok. But I’m only going by what I’ve seen. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Danny Gokey, Phillip Phillips and Clay Aitken have all had varying amounts of succuss post-Idol, all of whom have given to us songs of hope, encouragement and challenging words to think and process over. Enter in another artist, one that I firmly believe has made a mark on music in general over the last decade or so. While still not very as known or even as popular as other mainstays like OneRepublic, Coldplay, Switchfoot and Evanescence (all of whom are very similar to this artist I’m about to unpack today), American Idol season 5 finalist (4th place) and rock band Daughtry exploded onto the music scene with their eponymous band (Daughtry is lead singer Chris Daughtry’s last name, and their first album is indeed called Daughtry!) way back in 2006. Fast forward to 2019 and they sit as high as no. 3 on the list of most successful artists post Idol (#1 and #2 are occupied by none other than Carrie and Kelly respectively!), all the while delivering songs of importance as the band themselves have changed what it means to create great rock music with a solid message and an inspirational edge. Daughtry have, I reckon, shown us a great example of what it means to thrive in the rock industry that isn’t all about inspiration or even anything to do with a wholehearted message at this point. Which is a shame. Nevertheless, Chris Daughtry and co. have decided to make good music as well as impart values upon society, that we all need to strive and live by. Chris has given to us a band that is truly underrated, and one that makes me smile anytime I listen to them. While I am still on the fence as to whether they have influenced music as a whole, I know this for sure- they have influenced a lot of their fans, myself included, and with lists like this being as subjective as they are, Daughtry’s presence upon such a list like this can be determined as controversial, and maybe that’s ok.