Singing competitions are all the rage nowadays. You have The Voice, originating from Holland and spawning a lot of franchises around the world, a format where contestants are voted in initially solely on their voice, rather than any other appearance or mannerisms. The Got Talent franchise was founded in Britain by legendary judge and world-renowned name Simon Cowell, and though not necessarily a ‘singing competition’ per se, but rather, having individuals and groups compete against each other with their own unique ‘talent’- be it singing or anything else; musicians are nevertheless discovered every now and again on this lesser known competition platform. The X Factor, again originating from Britain, also features Simon Cowell as the founder of the show, and instead of focusing a lot on the voice of the artist as with the criteria of the singing show The Voice, The X Factor allows people to listen to singers on the criteria of something they could hope to bring to listeners that is way different from anything else in the market. Sure, I reckon all these singing competitions are great. Yet for me, I’ve felt that I don’t necessarily see much long term value there is, for anyone who places their sole purpose and identity in these shows as a means to be famous or earn a lot of money. Because frankly, only a tiny proportion of artists that succeed in shows like this, tend to go on to bigger and greater things in the industry.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 20: KELLY CLARKSON
Maybe it’s just me, but often I lay awake and sit and wonder whether all this Jesus stuff is worth it. Not to the point where I am questioning my faith, but at the same time, you can’t help but think that maybe, if you were born to a different family, on the other side of the world, or maybe just born different (a different gender perhaps), maybe what I believe will be different too. Just an initial thought process. But then the thoughts move away and one question remains- do I still believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ all those years ago? Do I believe He came to earth as a baby, lived among us for 30 years, ministered to the folk around the time, healed people and performed other miracles? Do I believe that He was crucified, ridiculed and made a mockery of, because He claimed to be God incarnate, and then three days later after Jesus died, He rose again, conquering the very thing He set out to do- vanquish death itself and an eternity of separation from Him? The very bold answer is this- yes, yes I do believe in the questions that was just put forward to me. And so if I do believe in Christianity, and the way of life as to follow the examples of Christ and to live as He did (though I know I’ll ultimately fail in this regard, because He is perfect, and I am not!), then I guess even if I did have a different family, even if I was on the other side of the world, even if I wasn’t born a man, I’m sure God would’ve seen my heart. He would’ve loved me just the same; and given me signs of His existence, and prompted me, wherever I was and whatever I looked like, to think of the deeper questions and to ask the metaphysical and spiritual things that people should be thinking and having a dialogue about.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 19: CASTING CROWNS
I don’t think that there’s ever been a time when I’ve questioned the type of music that I have enjoyed and loved, been encouraged by and even championed, up until now. Not that switching things up and enjoying new music and new artists is a bad thing, not at all. Nor is sticking to the same artist again and again- if you know they’re proven and you’re inspired for positive change through their music, then fair enough, I guess. But one thing that this year-long (at least) exercise is, is that we ought to expect the unexpected. And that’s what happened going into this. 18 weeks in, and never did I ever think that I would listen to (and enjoy!) artists like Phil Collins, Train, Sara Bareilles, Delta Goodrem, Owl City, Martina McBride, U2 and Avril Lavigne, to name a few. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that I would enjoy and get excited about music that isn’t necessarily Christian in nature. I guess it shows that my musical tastes are expanding, all the while knowing that the Lord God Himself can choose to speak through whatever music He wants, and if it is through mainstream music, then who am I to judge?
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 18: SHANIA TWAIN
What music do you think of automatically when you think of the 1980s and 1990s? Which artist was/is influential from that particular time period? Prince, Bon Jovi, The Police, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Rick Astley, Cindi Lauper, George Michael, Davie Bowie, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and Mariah Carey are all excellent choices, are all popular (and some influential!), and have all had success and impact within the confines of the 80s and 90s. But for me, I’ve always felt like there was an artist that was just as impactful, but nobody really talks about them. Not that they’re atrocious or difficult to listen to- in fact, this artist I’ve about to delve into a little bit, is for me, arguably one of the most underrated artists of the 2-decade span of the 1980s-2000s. Call them the forgotten artist, the underrated artist, whatever you decide; there’s no denying the impact, influence and cultural significance of English singer-songwriter Phil Collins and the music he brings along with him. Sure, right now, he’s not active in the music industry- his last album full of original material was in 2002, and his last album period, was in 2010 (an album full of covers of Motown songs from the 1960s and 1970s); but even now, his most famous work would have to be the music that forms the soundtrack of movies Tarzan and Brother Bear.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 17: PHIL COLLINS
Sometimes I wonder what would’ve happened if I listened to great bands and songs, and the great albums from said bands, when they actually released, rather than all these years later. How would my music tastes have changed- or would they have stayed the same? How would my outlook on life be, would I be more of an extrovert or an introvert, would my values change or would I still be in the same profession that I am currently in? I know, weird questions, but I truly believe that music and the song that can impact and encourage, influence and challenge; can really change a trajectory of someone depending on when they hear it in their lives. And at a certain point, a song can be a catalyst for change, personal or as a collective, to be something better, to look inward and see what needs to realign and refocus, or what values that is held close, need to be reassessed, and which need to still stay the same. So to answer my own question that I posed earlier…I don’t really know what would’ve happened if I did listen to artists when their respective albums released. I mean, had I did listen to artists like Avril Lavigne, Ronan Keating, U2, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, even Owl City and Lifehouse, during the times when albums of these said artists released; maybe, just maybe, the wonder and awe, and the unique feeling that comes when discovering a whole discography of a new artist, could be less and less. Because essentially if you follow an artist’s career from year dot, you become accustomed to their music your whole life, as opposed to someone else discovering for the first time a whole discography of an artist they’ve missed out on.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 16: TRAIN
Can I ask you guys a question? Not really a question that you are forced to answer right away, but a question, nonetheless, that you can sit on and dwell for a while. When you wake up in the morning, maybe around 6am when the sun rises, or perhaps at 10am after a good sleep in; how do you feel each day on average? Are you happy, or are you sad? Is your attitude ‘oh, it’s just another day, let me roll over, and sleep some more; and hopefully it’s over by the time I wake up again!’; or is it ‘Yay, thank God I’m alive, let’s get up and do all the things I want to do today!’? Are you a glass half full or half empty? I know for my life that there are times when I feel uninspired to do anything productive and worthwhile some days- and it’s true that some days you do need those lazy ones where you just sit back and relax, watching the world go by! However if by some chance you feel scared about what each day brings; and if you feel scared by what the future holds (scared you might fail or scared you might even succeed!); let me tell you that you don’t need to be.
Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 3: Tori Kelly
Influential is a funny word you see. Many people disguise it as popular, or they think that influential really means popular, when in fact the definition cannot be farther from what people perceive it is. For I’ve always been reminded that through this blog series, influential and popular aren’t always the same, in fact, most times, popular artists aren’t influential at all. They’re not influencing a generation to think about issues and topics that need to be discussed at length amongst friends and promote dialogue on real issues. Popular artists are indeed giving us popular songs that we can enjoy so that we can have a good time…but at the end of the day, much of the popular music of today can be a little vapid. Nevertheless, we tend to think that popular and influential are hand-in-hand, and thus, we attribute fame and fortune with someone impacting millions around the world. But herein lies the point- much of the people on my own influential top 100 list are relatively unknown. Sure they are known to their special field in which their genre of music is in, but outside of that specialised genre, not many people may have heard them…and that’s ok. I discussed one such artist before- Andrew Peterson, and how his knack for using his lyrical prowess to deliver poignant truths about God and mankind has led him to be placed upon my list, can seem all but absurd to the outside casual listener. But for me, Andrew himself has influenced my life a lot these last few years, as I’m sure many people who has heard his music and have testified to his life-changing lyrics that seep deep into the soul. Enter in another such artist, who I’m sure a lot of people know nothing about, myself included (until a week or so ago)- Australian country trio, The McClymonts.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 15: THE MCCLYMONTS
Can I be very candid and honest? I was never a big fan, if a fan at all, of boy bands. Sure I’d know about them from time to time, and more recently there was this wee little band called One Direction (and yes, I will discuss this influential band in length in another post dedicated to them!); but as a whole, boy bands weren’t at all that impacting to me when I was younger. Even now, they aren’t necessarily the most sought-out ‘genre’ of music that I’d listen to from the word ‘go’. Nevertheless, boy bands have shaped and moulded music and society as we know it- from Boyz II Men, Take That, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and Westlife, to Jonas Brothers, Jackson 5, Boyzone and One Direction; boy bands have been sprouting up throughout music history aplenty, and thus, it is no wonder that one such artist from my list of 100 would be of the boy-band variety. And so for me to prepare for this blog post, I was a little unprepared throughout the week, and even now, I’m trying to find the words to say about this artist- words that will do them justice and respect the amount of success they’ve had since being a part of their former boy-band group. For me, this ‘genre’ of music is as much needed in society as it was back then- but when music for lack of a better term, is consumed at a faster rate as years go by; boy bands can sometimes fly under the radar to become the ‘forgotten’ ‘genre’ of music. This week’s discussion leads from the front with singer-songwriter Ronan Keating; an Irish singer who was one of the founding members of boy-band BoyZone, a popular Irish group in the 1990s. With around 10 albums under his belt, Ronan has solidified himself as one such artist, whom has successfully broken off from their former boy-band group, to have a relatively successful career as a solo artist- other artists to achieve such a feat include Robbie Williams (of Take That), Michael Jackson (of The Jackson 5), Ricky Martin (of Menudo) and Justin Timberlake (of NSYNC), to name a few.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 14: RONAN KEATING
Recently, I have started to become a bit more reflective and introspective- and more specially, the more and more I think about life in general, and the way it has gone for myself and maybe for others I have come in contact with; the more grateful I am to be living in Australia. And I’m sure the same goes for anyone living in the U.S, England, New Zealand, and other English-speaking countries I reckon. Not that other developing countries are ‘bad’ or anything like that, but I’ve recently noticed something. For all of the faults of Trump, for all of the issues to do with Brexit and for all of the turmoil and fallout with the Israel Falou saga; one thing remains constant. And it’s the wide range of music available to us via Spotify, iTunes, Youtube, Google Play, Amazon and other streaming services. In stores where we can buy physical CD’s (yep, they still exist!), the range for albums of different genres is quite varied, and it is in my own opinion that if you were to search for an album to listen to, you’d probably find at least one, but maybe two or three, that you could like straight away. Are there luxuries of music and the wide variety of artists available in countries like China, India and other countries in Africa?
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS – WEEK 2: LAUREN DAIGLE
Influential artists come in two groups, I reckon. The prolific ones, the ones that people universally and unanimously agree upon, that they are influential at all. Bands and artists like U2, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Adele, Queen, The Bee Gees, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, ABBA; artists that have made a definitive mark on music history and have influenced the culture of music and moved collectively the mark of where music was before, to where music is now. Influential artists such as these artists mentioned above, challenge the status quo on what genres should look and even sound like, moving outside the box as how to even approach genres that would otherwise have been overlooked and undervalued, underappreciated and even underutilised, had it not been for this particular artist or pioneer of the sub-genre discussed. Then there’s another group of artists that we would consider to be influential. No, it’s not necessarily the popular artists, though sometimes, popularity and influential do co-exist and collide. But rather, artists can be influential without being popular at all- they are just influential in the niche market they focus their music upon. An example is this- Andrew Peterson, of which I delved into a few weeks back. No, he won’t be of the same level of popularity as someone like John Legend or Jason Mraz, nor do I reckon he should be. But within the realms and confines of Christian music, especially Christian folk music; Andrew is very much known, loved, respected, and even admired for his quirky lyrics and hard-hitting imagery that speaks volumes to whomever hears it. Is Andrew Peterson popular? Definitely not. Influential? 100%- to the people who do indeed know his music, and to the ‘genre’ of Christian music as a whole.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 13: SARA BAREILLES