Category Archives: Features

MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 6: JOSH GROBAN

To say that I am 100% prepared to write about this artist would be a lie. Because I’m not. Frankly, with everything that has been happening this week, from work to what has been suddenly portrayed on the news, the research for this artist has been minimal, to say the least. Nevertheless, what I have heard (and what I will continue to hear) has blown my own expectation of the genre of classical opera/pop that this artist is famous for, right out of the water. When I was younger, I used to have an aversion to anything of that musical variety. Not really sure why, but if I’m going to be completely honest, I’d say that I was too much in my CCM bubble not to notice the great quality music that exists (and continues to do so) outside the confines of whatever is to be sung on Sunday mornings at church service…I’m sure you get the picture, right? Music is a gift from the Lord, and it is up to us as stewards of this gift to bring hope and encouragement into the light, and to bring to listeners a sense of camaraderie and unity in times of difficulty, to ask questions that may not have been asked if it had not been for the music. There are many genres of music, and many people stand tall within their own genres. As I’ve discussed in these blog posts in previous weeks, artists like Michael W. Smith places a firm stamp on the CCM/Christian pop ‘genre’, while bands like Switchfoot and Lifehouse influence heavily on the rock music scene. Avril Lavigne’s music imprints a mark on pop/punk while Delta Goodrem is very prominent in Australian music. And so which artist stands out amongst the opera/pop genre? Well, Josh Groban, of course!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 5: LIFEHOUSE

To say that I’m a very big avid fan of indie rock band Lifehouse is a very, very big overstatement. Let’s just say that for many, many of these artists I’ve placed here on my influential of all time list, I’ve barely listened to. And yes, apart from a song here and there from this guitar driven rock band (‘Hanging By A Moment’, ‘Broken’, ‘Everything’, ‘All In’, ‘Between the Raindrops’, to name a few), I haven’t really explored Lifehouse…until now of course. And we all know that this year-long project for me is as much as it is introducing to the world artists that I think have influenced and shaped music history, as it is very much an introduction for me into the realms of music that I may not have touched or even experienced, had it not have been for this project altogether. Nevertheless, Lifehouse as a band is very much like Switchfoot in a similar respect- they are indeed a band that deliver songs that probe at the human condition, asking questions that are deemed to be too personal, or even too taboo, to discuss in forums and public settings without music as the helm and delivery of transferring such ideas.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 37 (Forgiveness by Matthew West)- Can we really, truly forgive the ‘unforgiveable’?

Over the past few weeks, there has been a major shake-up in the world today that has affected the world we live in, everything we hold dear, everything we believe, and just basically everything we’ve come to know as true, from birth until now. Maybe you may know what I’m alluding to, but maybe you do not. But when I tell you about George Pell (is he still the archbishop, or cardinal?), and mention that the major event concerns him, perhaps the penny will drop. Of course this one event has the power to reshape everything we all know- especially everything we as Christians know and believe. But in the end, does it, and should it?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 4: DELTA GOODREM

Guy Sebastian, Jessica Maulboy, Rebecca St. James, Johnny Farnham, The Rogue Traders, Natalie Bassingthwaithe, Stan Walker, Human Nature, Shannon Noll, Kasey Chambers, Samantha Jade, Dami Im, Jimmy Barnes, Olivia Newton-John, Missy Higgins, David Campbell. What do all these music artists have in common? Anyone…no one? They’re all Australian! Yes that’s right, all these artists do not originate from America, like I’m sure many people could think right, because all good music comes out of America…am I right? No really, on a serious note, music doesn’t have to come out of America for it to be good, and much of these aforementioned artists in the beginning of this paragraph have all had moderate to very high success in both Australian radio and the Australian market, as with exposure and influence overseas as well. Rebecca St. James, originally from Australia, moved to America with her family in the 1990s and became a superstar from her early teens onward. The family, the Smallbones, also produced a duo band years later- Rebecca’s younger brothers Joel and Luke a.k.a. for KING & COUNTRY (more on both Rebecca and her brothers in two separate Momentous Mondays posts at a later date). Johnny Farnham, Human Nature, Kasey Chambers and Jimmy Barnes are all legends in their own right, and more recently, artists like Dami Im and Stan Walker have captured the international stage after winning singing competitions X Factor and Australian Idol respectively. But for me, there’s one artist that has been influential, not necessarily as popular, compared to any one of these artists I’ve mentioned, but nevertheless, has worked hard at their music, touching listeners and impacting an entire generation over the last decade or so. Delta Goodrem, basically a household name now because of her music career as well as a judge on the Australian singing competition show, The Voice; is, I reckon, one of Australian music’s most impacting and dare I say it, decade-defining, if you look at the years of the 2000s.

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WOW HITS 2020: WHAT’S YOUR PREDICTION (PART 3)?

Hi everyone, how has your week been? Seeing that it’s the beginning of March, and it’s been about a few months since we posted our second WOW Hits 2020 prediction, it’s time for us to yet again predict the track list for WOW Hits 2020. So without further ado, here’s my third stab at the tracklist for WOW Hits 2020. Anyway, stay tuned to more predictions within the next few months! Happy predicting!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 3: AVRIL LAVIGNE

If I were to speak honestly, I’d say that I was never really a fan of girl artists/female fronted bands that bore its prominence and upbringing during the 2000s. During that time in my life, I was heavily immersed into CCM, in particular, bands and artists like Carman and Delirious?. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, upon reflection, I thoroughly enjoy these two artists that I mentioned just then, and I would place them both, in a heartbeat, in my list of favourite artists/bands of all time, because of my early exposure to them and how they shaped my formative years as a teenager into who I am today as a person. Yet nevertheless, this is a post about influential artists, and though I firmly and unwaveringly believe that both Carman and Delirious? are influential in their own right throughout music history, I have found recently and discovered an artist that was indeed heavily impactful during the 2000s (and even now). Though I myself am late to the party in listening to them, I have been impressed with how they have managed stardom at such a very young age, and how they have carried themselves throughout the music industry process, from at the point of stardom till now. Drawing parallels, I reckon, to CCM/crossover artists like Plumb, and the early styles of Rachael Lampa and Stacie Orrico; Avril Lavigne began her fame journey at a tender young age of 17, and now 34, she has dominated the music market over the last 17 years or so. To say that she is an influential artist, not only to other new up and coming ones, but to listeners and those who are impacted by her music over the years, is very much an understatement.

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FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 36 (While I’m Waiting by John Waller)- While we’re in the waiting, can we really trust God? And is faith without actions as dead as people say?

Today has been one of those days. One of those days where everything went wrong. One of those days where I’ve been presented with the real possibility of a loss- a potential loss I couldn’t imagine, and one that has ultimately drawn me closer to Jesus, and also having me realise that we as humans, including myself, shouldn’t hold onto things as much and as tightly as we do. I know it’s not a feasible concept in practice, but, hey, at least it’s all good in theory, right? Not sure what I mean. Well, let me start at the beginning. The beginning of the day.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: Influential Artists of All Time – Week 2: Switchfoot

If you were to ask me to name one band that has successfully shaped their craft and pioneered a movement where music was able to transcend both mainstream markets and CCM circles, I’d have to say Switchfoot. Maybe some people have heard of this 5 piece band from San Diego, California, maybe some people haven’t. Regardless, Jon Foreman (lead singer) and co. have gifted us with mountains upon mountains of songs that have had (and continue to have) the ability to speak to our souls, to challenge our very being when other conversations and introspective discussions have failed to do so. Switchfoot’s music, for me, is a reminder of the power that a song can have in a certain moment, and that creating a song almost gives you licence to speak about almost every topic that can be judged as being ‘taboo’ in a sense. Faith can be discussed. Doubt, uncertainty, love, loneliness, worry, hope, joy, and everything else in between; expect all these facets and themes of life to be present in songs, especially Switchfoot’s! Brothers Jon and Tim (bass guitar), and other band members Drew Shirley (guitars), Jerome Fontamillas (guitars and keyboards) and Chad Butler (drums) have unveiled a band that is honest and sincere, positive yet also confronting and challenging, all the while presenting to us songs that minister to our soul, even if we don’t really know it at that point in time!

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FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 35 (The Same Love by Paul Baloche; and Lifesong by Casting Crowns)- Before we really love others, we must first love ourselves, and accept that we are loved by our Lord and Saviour!

It’s been about a year since I blogged about Valentines Day in last year’s Flashback Fridays’ post (the post about the album Jesus Freak from dc Talk)- and today when I was pondering deep and meaningful topics to talk about in today’s blog instalment; it suddenly hit me. That the notion of me still being single, of me not having a girlfriend and no closer to having a spouse than a year ago; didn’t worry me as much as I thought it did or should’ve…well that fact did scare me. Why wasn’t I worried about my future love life or lack thereof- and why did I feel a tad more complacent about this issue than previous years or months ago?

Continue reading FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 35 (The Same Love by Paul Baloche; and Lifesong by Casting Crowns)- Before we really love others, we must first love ourselves, and accept that we are loved by our Lord and Saviour!

MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: Influential Artists of All Time – Week 1: Michael W. Smith

It’s hard to think of Christian music and not think of Michael W. Smith, who, alongside Amy Grant and Steven Curtis Chapman, have been the artists that have been around the industry the most. Now let me get a few things straight. Michael W. Smith is in no means the pioneer of Christian music. Leave that title to other artists like Larry Norman, Mylon LeFevre, Keith Green, Andrae Crouch, PETRA, 2nd Chapter of Acts, The Imperials and Gaither Vocal Band. But for me, I’ve always felt like Michael W. Smith has been the most influential for me personally, but also influential as an artist in society. Firstly because Michael, alongside Amy and Steven, is one of the only artists, who started their career in the 1980s, to be active currently. But also, I’ve felt that Michael has always had it in himself to re-invent himself if needed to reach a different culture, a different time period, and a different people group, as the years travel on. That’s not to say that any of the aforementioned artists are not musically ingenious, not at all. And I will be discussing artists like Keith Green and PETRA further along in my ‘Influential Artists of All Time’ list. But with Michael being one of the first of many artists to receive crossover success (influence in both CCM and the mainstream arena) throughout his career, his impact and reach, whether it be pop inspirational music, or as a worship artist, is nothing less than extraordinary. Michael’s devotion to creating music that not only is poignant and heartfelt, but also musically fashionable as well as interesting, is what I reckon has been a very big part of his success over the years. Dare I say, that now with Michael into his early sixties, that he could become the Christian version of either Rod Stewart or Johnny Farnham, a man well into his years delivering great hits with no intention of retiring?

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