Tag Archives: momentous mondays

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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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 23: SKILLET

‘…I think Christian music was still early on in it’s inception, people didn’t really know what it meant. I will say that Christian music has also changed and is very much changing very rapidly right now. There are some people that will kinda pre-judge the band; They go “Oh… it’s a Christian band, it probably sucks!”. There’s some of that. But, I think that Skillet has been around long enough that people get us. They know that Skillet is not, what I would call, ‘Preachy’. I think that we just sing a lot about spirituality. I’m very open about my faith. I talk about my faith in interviews and on stage. I’m not in any way quiet about it, but it’s more of a story telling. I’m telling my story, it’s my life. At every show, I meet people that say “Hey! I just want you to know that I’m an Atheist, I don’t get this Jesus stuff at all, but your music makes me feel better. It’s so positive and it got me out of a hard time” or what have you. I love those stories because I never wanted to be a person who only sings religion to people; That’s the opposite of what I want to do! I like that music should bring people together; I think that’s a really cool thing! So yeah, that prejudice still does kinda exist. Some of it rightly so, because there was a time when Christian music was very much ‘Preachy’ and very much only singing to Christian people. Whether that was the intent or not, that’s what was happening. That’s not what Skillet wants to do…’

‘…you have to remember this, Skillet came out in 1996 and there really wasn’t an internet! I mean, the internet was technically around in 1996, I had never heard of it. And it certainly wasn’t something that people found music on. It was a couple of years later that the internet really exploded. So, when we first started, we sold cassette tapes, mainly CD’s, but we had cassette tapes of our first records, first two records actually! I think that the internet has changed the entire landscape of music. There are goods and bads with that. One of the great things is that Skillet, well… not just Skillet, can be heard all they way around the world now. You don’t have to have a massive radio hit. It used to be that if you didn’t have a radio hit in Australia, then there’s no reason to go to Australia because nobody knows who you are! There have been some wonderful things that have happened. So, that’s probably the most life changing thing that has changed since the inception of Skillet…’

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 22: NEWSBOYS

What do you think about when you think of the term ‘Australian Christian artist/band’? What comes to mind? Frankly, you immediately think about Hillsong (all its facets) and the deeply polarising nature of the megachurch and their music arm and ministry. Or you can think about Rebecca St. James, who raced to stardom way back in the early 1990s, and then went on to release several chart-topping albums, and is now an icon and a champion of abstinence with her own ‘purity’ song ‘Wait For Me’. for KING AND COUNTRY is another Aussie band that is getting traction, popularity and influence now, and ironically, both brothers in this duo are related to the once-popular Rebecca St. James…but yet, even though all these artists have been popular throughout the years, and do command great influence within the history of Christian music from the land down under; there is in fact one band that I firmly believe is responsible in staking a claim that Christian music not necessarily from the U.S., is firmly and very much ok. The Newsboys, who started their venture in the late 1980s as a band trying to make it on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia; are now entering into their 4th decade.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 4: Alessia Cara

If you were to travel anywhere in the world, either to live or just to travel for a holiday, and the place in question wasn’t in the country you grew up in, or lived in most of your life; where would it be? Would it be somewhere like Africa where you could help the orphans and the poor by giving out food and basic needs? Or would it be in the U.S.A, simply because of the theme parks and the famous people you could meet everyday? I know I haven’t been the most well-versed traveller over the years- my current job as a café owner prevents extended travel plans- however recently I’ve been intrigued by the concept of travelling to Canada for a holiday. Probably not before the U.S. though, but sometime in my lifetime. Of course the main reason why anyone would want to go to Canada is to see Niagara Falls (and for other places which I don’t remember off by heart, you can check out a list of places to visit in Canada here!), while I personally would want to check out quite a lot of the places where they filmed TV shows in Vancouver. But first and foremost, one of the main reasons why Canada appeals to me is that I am certain about the sincerity and genuineness of many people there. Considering many music artists, celebrities and actors alike such as Celine Dion, Michael J. Fox, Downhere, Dan Aykroyd, Donald Sutherland, Hawk Nelson, Ryan Reynolds, Justin Bieber, Rachel McAdams, Seth Rogen, Manic Drive, Avril Lavigne, Keifer Sutherland, Keanu Reeves, The City Harmonic, Michael Buble, Shania Twain, Shawn Mendes, Thousand Foot Krutch and Dwayne Johnson are all from Canada- either born and raised or now considered a citizen of Canada; it makes sense to make that extrapolation that all Canadians are just overall nice people.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 21: MICHAEL BUBLE

Sometimes I sit and wonder which artist from my 100 influential list, has been the hardest to discuss and write about. From when I did start off this once a week (or so) blog posting session, till now; which artist has stretched me the most, in terms of music, lyrics, my very own perceptions of the band/solo artist, or even what I tend to believe about them as a person? Has there been an artist that has challenged my own thinking of music in general? For me personally, I don’t think an artist has come to me just yet, but as of this moment, there is an artist that is coming extremely close. Michael Bublé has been in the music business for a while, and his name as been thrown around here and there- I’m sure people have heard of him, even if they themselves haven’t heard of his music. Born and bred in the deep heart of Burnaby, British Colombia in Canada; Michael has been making music for quite some time, and while his name right now wasn’t as popular as it was back when he was creating music on a regular basis in the early to mid-2000s; we as listeners are nevertheless blessed to hear and appreciate and artist like Michael. While I wasn’t totally in the know about the blues/swing/jazz genre that Michael embodies in a vast number of his songs; I was however game enough to listen to Michael and give it a go. The result- my appreciation and admiration, respect and reverence, for Michael as an artist. Though even now Michael’s music, and I guess jazz in general, won’t be my go-to music; I can nevertheless listen to such songs without much, if not any, disdain. The same cannot be said of me even 5 years ago. And so, if Michael’s music (as similar stylistically to Frank Sinatra’s, way back in the day) can move the needle a little and challenge myself into thinking outside the box of what styles of music can be enjoyable; then Michael Bublé and his songs have served their purpose.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 20: KELLY CLARKSON

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.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 19: CASTING CROWNS

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.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 18: SHANIA TWAIN

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?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 17: PHIL COLLINS

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.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 16: TRAIN

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.

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