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.
Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 4: Alessia Cara
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.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 21: MICHAEL BUBLE
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