Release Date: April 15th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
- No Other Way
- Look To The Sky
- Under Construction
- He Loves Me
- Let Go
- Beautiful Mystery
- Found In You
With her vocals sounding eerily similar to Rachael Lampa, and Jaci Velasquez, and her musical style akin to artists like Natalie Grant, Nichole Nordeman and Rebecca St James; relatively new solo artist Chayah Miranda, who was been singing and writing songs ever since she was young, has unveiled her debut album titled No Other Way last month. With some songs meant for personal and quiet reflection, as well as other for a corporate worship stage, Chayah’s heart for Jesus, emotion and vulnerability is on display here, as she strives to point people to our Lord and Saviour. Guaranteed to be enjoyed if you are a fan of contemporary pop, Chayah’s song have once again showed me that an artist does not have to be signed to a label to have an impact in the music industry. One of the most enjoyable and inspirational softer piano driven albums I have heard in quite a while; there are many outstanding tracks in my opinion, and few faults on this 10 track piano led musical journey. From the pop guitar driven bouncy “Higher”, to the stirring piano ballad “Beautiful Mystery”, my favourite track from the album and on which shows off Chayah’s incredible voice; Chayah Miranda has shown us that it is possible for new independent artists to shine and succeed; no doubt Chayah will gain fans and her music will inspire and motivate!
“Higher”, “He Loves Me”, “Let Go” and “Thankful” are the four promotional singles that Chayah has unveiled for us! Releasing each on bandcamp and itunes at regular intervals from December 2013 onwards, “Higher” opens with stirring electric guitar work, as Chayah reminds us all that in every situation we can lift up God’s name and glorify Him in all we do. Presenting the song with a story like Jaci Velasquez’s “Give Them Jesus” or Matthew West’s “My Own Little World”, Chayah gives us a mother, a young girl and a homeless man in the verses for us to care about, and reminds us that life on this planet is temporary and fleeting. All we can and should do is to point people to Jesus and lift up his name, and as Chayah asks God to ‘…carry me, through the storm, I want to lift You up, higher, in the city streets, through the poverty and the businessman passing by, I want to lift You higher…’, I am struck with the revelation and realisation that giving God our appreciation and gratitude is nothing less than what we should and can do, because of God’s sacrifice for us. Chayah’s song has definitely spurred me into action in praising God proactively, has it for you? An infectious catchy melody that is a great album opener; “Let Go” brings the tempo right back, yet still stands firm in its message, of letting go of grudges, hurts and pain, letting God ‘…do what He needs to do, if you give Him control, He will walk You through all your joy and all your pains, through your pride and all your shame, you just have to call His name, and let go…’. Probably the most CCM track on the album, “Let Go” gently reminds us of the enormity of God’s unconditional love for us, and his longing for us to give our worries and troubles to Him. Taking inspiration from John 14: 1-6, Chayah declares and utters truths about the security of God and that He has our lives in His hands. Though cliché, with simple instruments, accessible lyrics in the chorus and a groovy drum beat and clever electronics; the fact of the matter still stands, that Jesus is sovereign and His promises is reason enough for us to let go.
While “He Loves Me”, one of the poignant and acoustic ballads on this track list, seems to be directed at young women who are unsure of their faith or direction in life as Chayah brilliantly cries out ‘…I’m gonna be the woman in me no matter what anybody says, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, on the outside we can change, on the inside we’re all the same…’; I am certain that guys all the same can be impacted and changed by this song as well, as we remember the boundless and endless love that Jesus has for us- I know this song pulls at my heart strings! With Chayah showing us more of her eloquent and flawless voice which has me wondering why she hasn’t been signed yet, and also has me propelling her into the same category vocally as Jaci Velasquez, Rachael Lampa, and Natalie Grant; Chayah delivers another more God breathed moment in “Thankful”, inspiring us to be thankful in all circumstances, because we are alive, because God is with us, because He has defeated death and won the grave. Sung in a slight Carribeean/r&b atmosphere with light acoustic guitar and percussion, this song is probably as cheesy as they come, however the effect that it sticks in our minds and makes us think about the message of being grateful about our lives (like Jason Gray’s “Good To Be Alive”), ensures that this song has done its job very effectively. While not necessarily as strong in lyrics and melody as Chayah’s previous three singles this song though is part of an anchor of the album thematically and still has me dancing and swaying to the vibrant and timeless message of thanking God for each day.
Delivering a smorgasbord and a great musical variety of songs and melodies in the remainder six songs, Chayah has made sure that her voice and prowess is firmly imprinted in our minds as we listen to one of the standout new artists of 2014! Led by the piano, the title track uplifts us, presenting us with epic crescendos as well as Chayah’s bubbly personality and unwavering heart for Jesus, which I will continue to champion again and again! As the assertion is made known to us again, that Jesus is the only way to God, Chayah lets us know in the chorus through her majestic voice that there is ‘…no other way, yeah it’s a new day, just like the sun rise, no greater love, You surround me just like the ocean, You gave me more than I dreamed, where you will lead, I will follow…’; a life altering decision as we grapple with and fully understand that God loves us just the same, and there is nothing we can do that will separate us from His love- it is not determined by us but by His death and resurrection on the cross. Relevant, engaging, moving, emotional and thoroughly enjoyable, I believe that Chayah deserves a Dove Award nomination from this song alone!
With Chayah also showcasing themes of us being still and soaking in God’s presence in the piano led, calm and serene “Listen’, and a timely reminder in the album closer of us being called sons and daughters of Christ, and being adopted in the family known as the Kingdom of God (with themes similar to Third Day’s “Children Of God”); perhaps not being on a label has given Chayah freedom to sing the song she wants to, as this album, as I mentioned previously, is full of relevant themes sung in a relatable way. “Look Into The Sky”, a pure pop melody driven by synth and driving electric guitars, encourages us to pray to Jesus and call on His name during times of trouble, and with Chayah’s enthusiasm and sheer happiness clearly evident here, and also contagious as by the end of this track I am brimming with joy too. As Chayah lets us know that we only have to ask and God will be there, that we ‘…gotta look into the sky, you might find what you’re looking for, realise you were made for so much more, and like a perfect harmony, He’ll give you what you need…’, the words of Matthew 6:25-34 spring back into mind, and the assertion that God is our provider all the time, just like H gave manna to Moses in Exodus, becomes all the more clearer.
“Under Construction”, probably the most musically aggressive track on the album, driven authoritatively by the booming electric guitars, speaks about God moulding us like clay in the Potter’s hand (Jeremiah 18: 1-6), and is a courageous power ballad meant to reassure us and soothe our soul. As we are confident in our security and how God is always shaping us to make us more like Him, Chayah continues in the impressive vocal work, relaying that Jesus makes all things new, and that we’re never going to be the same (using similar themes from songs like “All Things New” from Steven Curtis Chapman and “The Glory Of It All” from David Crowder*Band). Yet my favourite Chayah Miranda song ever is the song “Beautiful Mystery”! A worship song and anthem at its finest, this is Chayah in her element, with the raw, uninhibited motion and love for Jesus pouring out of her overflowing. I am sure when you hear the song too, you’ll be swept away in the emotion and Holy Spirit anointing as well; I can easily see this on a Sunday set list in the not too distant future. With strings, majestic orchestral instruments, sublime drums and symbols and Chayah’s angelic and beautiful voice providing a haunting yet God breathed melody; we are reminded through this song that Jesus’ love is unfathomable and sometimes inconceivable. We may claim to understand the heights, depths, width and length of the love of God but the truth is that His love and why Jesus died goes beyond anything we could comprehend. Perfect for corporate worship, this potential single is set to explode, and hopefully people respect this song just like they do with songs like “Oceans” and “10 000 Reasons”!
‘…I want everyone to know that there is a God in heaven who loves them so much that there is hope no matter what you are going through. All we have to do is open up and give Him a chance to help us, to strengthen us. And when we ask God for His help and guidance, that’s when miracles will happen; that’s when you’ll see your life change for the better…’ An album full of musical styles, from ballads piano only tunes and powerful orchestral music, to acoustic, CCM and pop, Chayah’s musical versatility is something to behold. If you’re a fan of pop and CCM, and artists like Rachael Lampa, Jaci Velasquez, this album is for you. And even if you’re not a fan of slower ballads, quiet reflective melodies or piano only tracks, that’s ok too, as God is sure to speak to everyone, and I believe that at least on song out of the then will mean something special to someone. With it just being a matter of time before Chayah Miranda is signed to a record label (maybe Integrity Music?), No Other Way reflects passion and a big heart for Jesus in every way. Let’s just hope and pray we act out what is being sung in these songs; there’s so much gold here, and moments of surrender to Jesus our Lord and Saviour!
3 songs to listen to: No Other Way, Let Go, Beautiful Mystery
RIYL: Rachael Lampa, Jaci Velasquez, Kerrie Roberts, Nichole Nordeman