Tag Archives: momentous mondays

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 6: Conrad Sewell

“…Addiction is a very selfish disease that takes hold of you and ruins everything in your life…The people that love you try over and over and over again to change it but they can’t, because you have to come to terms with it yourself, you have to want to change, you have to want to get help, you have to want to talk to someone about it…I was lucky, I had a family that always told me that I could do anything, and the best part about coming here is that I get to tell you guys to believe in yourselves and stuff like that, because it can happen for literally anybody…I’m trying to make wiser decisions, and not make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past, and I think that’s all you can do, just try and be better every day…”

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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 the next 5-10 years – Week 5: Rachel Platten

I have never felt so free creatively. I wrote every single one of these songs without getting in the way and I let whatever needed to come through me just come. I didn’t judge my art or feel the need to please anyone but me and that freedom allowed my inner artist to run wild. I played with colors and sounds and rhythms and I didn’t adhere to any rules… I honestly just had so much fun making it.

I have never been more proud of anything I’ve created in my life. With Wildfire, I was trying to catch up to the massive success of “Fight Song.” I was on tour the entire time I was making it so it was a version of me that was, honestly, kind of exhausted, popping into the studio, listening to mixes in buses, airplane bathrooms, green rooms and doing my best to create while a little spun around. On Waves, I took an entire year off from touring and I just wrote songs and played.

I felt like I wanted to continue and do my part to give a message of hope through music and promote girl power. Even though we have a long way to go to get equality between men and women, we’re making progress, and when we lift each other up, that’s dope. ‘Broken Glass’ is kind of about that message…I think maybe a misconception people have about me from ‘Fight Song’ is that I’m always encouraging and always in a good mood and always positive — and that’s beautiful, I love that people think that, but it is not true. This album allowed me to go into some of the darker places in my mind, just because I needed the release and I needed that freedom to be honest with what I was feeling.

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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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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 27: EVANESCENCE

‘…when we were making Evanescence I was a normal kid, going to school. But I guess not normal in the sense that I spent almost all of my free time working on making music. I’d be up until three in the morning, with headphones on, on my keyboard. My mom would complain in the morning that all she could hear all night was ‘thump, thump, thump’. But I just loved it. Being a composer, honestly, was my original dream. That’s why it’s so beautiful that I get to work with David Campbell and all these brilliant musicians on Synthesis [the latest album] – people who went to [music] school and didn’t cheat their way…I didn’t fit into a clique. For the most part I hung out by myself a lot. I really enjoy being able to be quiet and think…[now] it’s interesting. I almost feel like that wasn’t a choice [using sexual images to sell records] – I had to be who I was. What rock’n’roll is to me is being yourself, unapologetically, and not changing to fit within the machine. Being a female in the music industry a lot of the time means being overly sexualised. It was just kind of an easy, cheap way to get people to pay attention to you. I was like, that’s not who I am, and I’m not gonna pretend to be anything that I’m not…’

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 26: FAITH HILL

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve gained a bit of insight over these last few months. And it is this- there is no pattern to how I listen to my music, or rather, what genre of music that I like. Even when I was enjoying a lot of CCM during my younger days, I’d listen to a wide variety of styles- rock, pop, worship, acoustic, folk, singer-songwriter…basically anything that wasn’t screamo. Now here as I branch out into different music styles and appreciate music in a general sense of the word, I see the exact same thing- virtually no pattern as to how I enjoy my music, or what I do listen to. Phil Collins, prominent in the 1980s, delivers to us an eclectic mix of pop-rock mixed with a high energy drum-beat undertone, while Kelly Clarkson is your traditional pop-rock with an inspirational edge in there. Owl City is close enough to EDM that I did embark upon, while Andrew Peterson utilised a lot of acoustics and focussed a lot on the lyrical side of things. Add to that the hard rockers of Skillet and DC Talk, and the ever poignant and motivational Tenth Avenue North; and you see that my musical tastes have broadened much over the weeks and months ahead. That is, until I’ve searched deeper into the patterns behind my very own choices for these blog posts thus far. There is indeed a pattern. Out of 26 artists I’ve decided to write about thus far, quite a fair number (5) are of the country variety. Yes, there, I’ve said it. Unknowingly, and maybe even unintentionally, I’ve favoured country music ahead of basically every other music genre thus far, inclusive of this artist I’m about to delve into today- Faith Hill. And there’s nothing wrong with country. Far from it. In fact, upon listening to music time and time again this year, I’ve noticed that country music in particular tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves a lot more, and that’s ok. Never have I initially thought that I would resonate a lot of country music, yet I have. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, The McClymonts, Shania Twain, and now Faith Hill, have all influenced the genre of country over the years, and by and large, have shaped what music is currently today as well. Maybe not so much The McClymonts, but considering that they are indeed an Australian country trio, and they have been charting top honours for best country band every year since their release of their debut album 12 years ago, makes their inclusion very much more settled and certain. Nevertheless, here I am with another post discussing Faith Hill and her music- and to be honest, I don’t really know much about her life…and maybe that’s a good thing. All I know is that she’s married to country artist Tim McGraw, released 8 studio albums, and is now declared one of the best country artists at the moment.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 25: ED SHEERAN

I don’t know what your favourite music genre right now is. Maybe it’s CCM like me, and you are a fan of artists like Michael W. Smith, Tenth Avenue North, Newsboys, Skillet, For KING AND COUNTRY and Steven Curtis Chapman, to name a few. Or maybe you are fanatical about country music, and follow artists like Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Shania Twain and Dixie Chicks. Then again, maybe old-school 1980s is your type- and why not, with artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, George Michael, Phil Collins, U2, The Police and Led Zeppelin, all anchoring the decade musically and sonically. Then again, you could be totally out of left field and be heavily into the classical music and follow great composers like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the like. But whatever music you are into, be it the older style songs, or the newer current ‘relevant’ music that is currently on the radio; one thing is for certain- everyone knows Ed Sheeran, or at least a few of his songs. Or at least they should.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 24: TENTH AVENUE NORTH

I’m tired, I’m worn, my heart is heavy
From the work it takes to keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
Let me see redemption win, let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn cause I’m worn

Lyrical excerpt from the song ‘Worn’, from Tenth Avenue North’s 2012 album The Struggle

I don’t think I’ve ever begun a blog post with lyrics of a song from the particular artist/band of which I’m to discuss for that week. Either an introductory paragraph to set the scene, or even last week when I was discussing the relevance and necessity of Skillet, I started with a quote from the band. But never lyrics. That is…until now. For so long in the church I believe, I’ve felt, and maybe this is just my surmising and if I do have it wrong, I take it back and apologise, but from just observation, I’ve realised that people in a general sense, especially church goers, don’t like to admit that they are worn. That they are burnt out, or even still, that they even need help with their day-to-day lives. There are songs about praising God. There’re songs about the general Christian walk of life. There’s songs that are fit for radio, songs that are not fit for radio, but within and amongst all the songs that can be placed under the umbrella of CCM (Contemporary Christian music), rarely has there been a song (correct me if I’m wrong!) about being worn and tired, of being just…well, fed up. Not with life itself, but with the general happenings of it. I mean, who really actually, in their right mind, starts off a song with a vulnerable lyric ‘I’m tired, I’m worn, my heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail, my soul feels crushed by the weight of this world’? I mean, who does that? Who lets the whole world know their innermost feelings in a song, from the get-go? Well, Tenth Avenue North of course.

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