I think I’ve said this many times throughout the time that this site has been online. But now I’ll say it again. All throughout my life, I’ve been sheltered. Jon too. Mainly because we were born 3 months premature and hence our parents wanted to keep us at home and make sure we were super healthy and not exposed to anything that could and would hinder our development in any way possible. We never went to pre-school, and Mum never worked at all for the 5 years that both Jon and I were at home before kindergarten. I know, it may seem like a pretty intense and drastic measure- but hey, that’s what Mum and Dad were feeling at the time, and I absolutely cannot fault them for raising me and Jon the way they did. I have so much thanks and gratitude towards them, and there’s so many things in my life that are great, all because Mum and Dad were present during the formative years of my life. I think that I’ve actually had a pretty great childhood- but then again I’m not comparing my childhood to anything, so perhaps I’m biased? Anyway, as I was saying- both Jon and I were sheltered, through no fault of our own… but this meant that Mum and Dad were a bit hesitant in letting us try new things. From my own recollection from what Mum and Dad have told me, Jon had to be ‘forced’ every type of food for the first time, otherwise all he’s be eating would be chicken drumsticks; while Mum and Dad have told me countless times that I mostly copied my brother because, well I don’t know, isn’t that what brothers do when they’re young? When Jon decided not to talk and just point and use non-verbal cues to grab our parents’ attention, I followed suit. When Jon chucked a tantrum, I followed suit. When Jon decided that he was scared while watching Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs for the 7th billionth time, well naturally I’d hid behind the couch with him at the sight of the witch giving Snow White the apple. Life indeed was simpler back then, yet I’m sure others could say that we missed out on a lot during that time. And yeah, on some level you all may be right. But I believe that in a roundabout way, missing on quite a few things while we were younger- namely music and movies- is actually a blessing in disguise. Because it may have led to this blog series being written… and this series is one of the most humbling, enjoyable, enriching, inspiring and compelling activities I’ve embarked on in recent memory.
You see I’ve grown up in a Christian home all my life. I dedicated my life to Jesus when I was 3 or 4 years old, then rededicated my life at age 7 in 1997, when I saw a play called Heaven’s Gates Hell’s Flames that really shook me to the core. A dramatization of how eternity would be like just after death (in that believers will be escorted into heaven, and non-believers into hell); the presentations, which lasted a few days or weeks (can’t really remember!), shook me to the core. Every night I also watched various music videos of songs from Carman’s RIOT (or Righteous Invasion Of Truth), and also the feature length movie RIOT as well. Both the movie and the songs, as well as the vivid production, cemented my thinking that being a Christian and really committing to Jesus was something that needed to be done, that was important for my soul and for my well-being. It’s something I can’t really explain, but there was a feeling I received. A prompting from the Holy Spirit, if you will, and a sense that God was asking me whether I truly believed or not, and whether I wanted to or not. My answers were ‘no’ followed by a ‘yes’ and the rest is history. I’m on fire for Jesus more so than back in 1997, and I believe it’s mostly due to the album, and movie and the church production.
Going forward, Jon and I listened to music artists Carman and Delirious? only, for the period of 1997-2006. Talk about being very insular! Yet we were ignorant of other types of music (or maybe we weren’t, just picky and selective, or maybe thinking that other types of music weren’t glorifying to God and hence blasphemous!) however us being sheltered and only listening to certain artists, eventually led us to 2006 where we branched out into all kinds of Christian music (and though I can’t say for Jon, I felt like a kid in a candy store and like a kid on Christmas- in awe and wonder and feeling very happy and excited!), and also led us to the beginning of 2019, when Jon decided to take the plunge into listening to mainstream music to write about influential artists– and when we branched out into all kinds of mainstream music, we found that it was not too bad, pretty decent, and that God was speaking in that as well! Could I be speaking some heresy according to fundamentalists believers? Maybe. Quite possibly. There are some people in this world that believe that God only speaks through Christian music, and furthermore only exclusively through the ‘right’ Christian music- like the hymns. Now I firmly reject that notion, as I have come to find over the past year and a half that God speaks in a whole manner of things, inclusive of pop, rock, country, rap, dance… yet I get why some believers are apprehensive of listening to ‘mainstream’ music. They’re deeply afraid and terrified, not of others ‘falling astray’ from listening to ‘the devil’s music’, but for themselves to be led astray by the world. And I guess that can only happen if these people aren’t actually secure and firm in their faith in Jesus in the first place. If they have no roots and just are impressed upon by the culture of today, if they’re like the house built on the sand rather than the house built on the rock; of course they’re not going to be still standing when trials and tribulations come their way, and then that’s going to be a big problem.
However I don’t really want to write an essay about theology and the ins and outs of whether mainstream music is good for your soul and which genres… so let me just say that God has shown me quite a lot over the past few months and even the past year. He’s reminded me through artists I’ve never even dreamed I’d be listening to (like Ronan Keating, Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Thomas Rhett, Hunter Hayes, Little Mix, Train, OneRepublic, Martina McBride, Owl City, Rascal Flatts, The Corrs, Ed Sheeran, Faith Hill, Kelsea Ballerini and Colony House to name a few- or to name a lot!) of His goodness and faithfulness and His promise to us to always be with us and to always be by our side; while I am positive that over the coming weeks, months and years, He’ll continue to impart more knowledge and wisdom to me, through other artists whom are from left field! That’s just the way God works. If He can talk to Moses through a burning bush, or part the Red Sea, or walk on the water, or raise Lazarus from the dead, or talk to Balaam using a donkey, or feed 5000 people from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, or turn water into wine, or protect Daniel from the lions, or protect Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fire, or even raise up from the dead as Jesus 3 days after being crucified (and I firmly believe that God indeed did do those things!); they surely God’s not limited to speaking through just the hymns, right? Surely he’d be capable of using ANYTHING HE WANTS? Why don’t we chew on that for a second?
Over the past week or so, I’ve been diving deep into my next artist who I deem to be influential or at least getting there- acapella Youtube extraordinaire Peter Hollens, simply because he is pretty awesome at what he does, and I’ve realised something. I actually like acapella music quite much. I’ve also found that it is in these songs where it’s just the voices and no instruments, that I can hear God speaking to me more. Not that He wasn’t speaking to me before with the other artists whom I just mentioned above, it’s just that now when I’m listening to an artist actively asking God ‘what do you want to say to me through this?’, then suddenly I get more of a sense of what God wants to say, a bit more quickly than before. I’m not sure if that makes any sense to you all. But before I dive deeper into Peter’s exquisite craft, let me go back a bit and briefly talk about who Peter is, and how I stumbled across his youtube channel around about 3-ish years ago. You see I personally reckon that Peter Hollens is one of Youtube’s most ‘popular-yet-not’ artists I’ve ever heard. ‘Peter who?’, you ask… ‘And where did he come from? Is he famous?’, are probably questions that you have swarming around in your head- and why is he suddenly worthy of myself devoting a blog post of me talking about him and his impact on the music industry at large? Well let me quickly tell you about how I stumbled upon Peter’s ingenious music and unique cover videos. In 2017 sometime, I was just browsing other music websites (such as Jesus Freak Hideout, New Release Today, Jesus Wired, The Christian Beat. CM Addict etc), as you do when you’re just browsing the internet, and admiring the ‘healthy competition’ amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ; when I stumbled across a news article– that detailed the release of a cover video from Jamie Grace and Peter Hollens.
Both vocalists collaborated to cover Linkin Park’s “Heavy”, and while I hadn’t heard of Linkin Park’s music, and still haven’t (nor Peter at the time), I did know Jamie Grace’s music, and hence I checked out the cover collaboration. Boy was I blown away. Of course by Jamie’s singing (she’s awesome at anything she sings), but more so by Peter. By his stellar and near-flawless voice, yet also with his ability to create musical masterpieces from his acapella melodies. Yep, in all of Peter’s youtube videos, he does not play any instruments. All ‘instrument sounds’ come from himself, which is pretty cool by the way. You can read more about acapella music on Wikipedia here if you want to, as well as on my brother Jon’s blog about equally impacting acapella artist Pentatonix. So now that you all are up to speed on all things acapella, let me tell you that I checked out Peter’s music, and I realised that though he’s a musical genius, he’s still relatively unknown, even after being in the music industry for a number of years. And I reckon not many of us know his stuff, predominately because he’s not signed, and not a well-known mainstream artist…yet. And though I can’t find any actual confirmation about whether or not Peter is a Christian or not, and the fact still does remain to be seen as to why New Release Today actually posted an article about him; I reckon his music is so, so good. Way back in 2017 when I first found out about Peter’s music and his covers, to tell you the truth I did feel a bit guilty as ‘why was I loving acapella music or pop songs, when I should be listening to Christian music instead?’ I know, I was a bit compartmentalised in music even three years ago, yet this year I revisited listening to Peter’s music through the lens of God speaking through anything and everything. My enjoyment for Peter’s music is now ten-fold, maybe even more.
Having been involved in acapella music since 1999, when he and friend Leo da Silva founded an acapella group called On the Rocks, Peter’s classically trained voice is more than a big help in his videos and his covers. While Peter graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal performance; since that time he has met his wife Evynne (who is also a Youtuber and a professional vocalist just like him, except with instruments!) and Peter has become involved with many college acapella groups, including his previous group On the Rocks, and other groups like Divisi, Cornell’s Chordials, the Duke’s Men of Yale, the Whiffenpoofs, Committed, the Backbeats, and the Grammy Award-winning group The Swingle Singers. Do all of those groups go over your head? Are you confused at the moment? I know, me too. However the fact remained that Peter was very busy from when he started acapella til when he began posting regularly on his youtube channel in 2011. In 2010, he competed in The Sing-Off as the group On The Rocks, and this experience is what I’m sure gave him that head start in what is a really competitive and cut throat industry. And while Peter has been releasing albums aplenty since 2012 (check out his discography on Apple Music for his singles and albums!), you may be scratching your head to wonder why Peter is influential when his original material is scarce or non-existent. It’s just covers. And why should we listen to someone who posts covers all the time?
Yes, you may be right in that there are a million Youtubers and a million acapella groups all online- all doing what Peter is doing and all probably indistinguishable from Peter. Yet Peter’s music is quite sentimental to me, given that’s he’s the first acapella artist I had actually ever listened to. Yep, even before the highly publicised Pentatonix! So in that regard, Peter’s music holds more weight than any other acapella musician and any other Youtuber out there. You may not agree with me, and that’s more than ok, but I reckon that with a few listens of any track from Peter, you’ll be blown away too as I was. Because there truly is no genre of music that is off limits to Peter! “Speechless”, “When She Loved Me”, “The Climb”, “Brave”, “Always Remember Us This Way”, “Country Roads”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, “Life That’s Good”, “Hallelujah”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “I Won’t Give Up”, “Home”, “Let It Go”, “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back”, “When You Believe”, “Waving Through A Window”, “You Will Be Found”, “You’ll Be in My Heart”, “Circle Of Life”, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “Go The Distance”, “The Sound Of Silence”, “A Thousand Years”, “You Raise Me Up”, “Mad World”, “Amazing Grace”, “Heavy”, “God Help the Outcasts”, “Over The Rainbow”, “Imagine”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Turning Tables”, “Believe”, “How Great Thou Art” … you definitely get the picture, right? And while I could go on and on and on about the arrangements of each song and the visuals of each video (yep, Peter films music videos of each cover), because talking about each song is what I’ve done in the past with other artists I’ve written about; I won’t here. Simply because there’s no many songs, and that there’s way too many genres- simply put a better way for an artist like this is for all of you to watch the videos I’ve embedded here in this post, and then go off and explore more of Peter’s discography on your own, whatever that looks like. And though Peter has unveiled many singles over the years, it is the albums that have resonated with many. Magical Legendary Covers Vol. 1 is a completely nostalgic Disney album, while Peter has also recorded Legendary Covers Vol. 1, a compilation of sorts of some of the most iconic pop and inspirational covers he’s done. Another album that is extremely popular, at least within the realms of acapella, is the Greatest Showman Acapella, a recording of some of the most inspiring songs ever from a musical film. Two other specific type of albums are also in Peter’s discography- Legendary Folk Songs whereby Peter covers iconic English/Irish folk/convict/patriotic songs, and Misty Mountains: Songs Inspired by the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, where Peter sings songs about… the iconic film series and book series The Lord Of The Rings. Peter even recorded a self-titled debut album, which I personally myself haven’t heard that much of, containing Peter’s only original songs. And through these aforementioned albums and singles, Peter has delivered over and over again, and release high quality songs and videos at such a steady pace, and for me I myself have been reminded of the beauty of life and of creation and of the promise of God being with us, every time I listen to his music and wonder ‘How does he do that?!’. So as I present to you a few quotes verbatim from each of our three reviews of Peter’s albums (because to tell you the truth myself and Jon said it very good back then, and probably much more succinctly and punchy than I could ever do right now!), as well as snippets of interviews from Peter over the years about how he approaches being a musical artist in such a landscape as this right now, and his future hopes for which kind of albums he releases in the future; let us remember that all types of music can be used by God. Yes even the weird and wonderful like acapella!
About Greatest Showman Acapella: While Peter sticks close to the originals on all of the tracks, it’s insane to comprehend that all of these impacting, inspiring and heartfelt renditions all are recorded exclusively through voice and voice only. An acapella album, and of well-known movie-soundtrack melodies takes hard work and guts; and Peter Hollens has pulled it off in style. With personal highlights “From Now On”, “This Is Me” and “A Million Dreams” all enhancing the original recorded versions; Peter is one artist that you all need to take notice of in the near future. The Greatest Showman Acapella is acapella music at its finest, and a must listen if you love artists like Pentatonix, Avalon and Jordan Smith. Yet as we listen, we must remember that this album isn’t a replacement for the original soundtrack- in fact it only is a companion album. In any case though, Peter’s work is to still be admired for being simple a fantastic album. And for those of you who aren’t fans of Peter’s music after this- I guarantee it that you will be after this. So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to hear the songs of PT Barnum in acapella format?
About Legendary Covers, Vol. 1: If you’ve read up to here by now, you’d know that this track listing of songs given the acapella treatment by Peter are some of the most emotive songs over the years, songs that we all probably should’ve known but not necessarily, for whatever reason. And while this album as a whole is not Christian in nature, I still stand by my reason to write my thoughts down about this album- because a song doesn’t have to be ‘Christian’ for it to be used by the Lord to show things about ourselves and Himself- in fact, I don’t even think Peter is even of the Christian faith. But in some ways, that doesn’t even matter- it only matters between himself and the Lord. Other than that, God can use anything that He wants, yes, even the unconventional and weird, even this covers album; to bring people to Himself if He wanted to. And so what do I make of this album? Let me just say this- that while for me I don’t know half of the songs on it, I firmly believe that this album is by far one of the best cover albums to date, for any artist that delves into the realm of cover songs and albums. Yes, Peter Hollens is not a household name, nor does he have to be, in order for such a project like this to be impactful. Songs like ‘The Prayer’ (Celine Dion), ‘Home’ (Philip Phillips), ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and ‘Sound of Silence’ (both Simon and Garfunkel), alongside ‘Imagine’ (John Lennon), ‘Turning Tables / Someone Like You’ (Adele), ‘You Raise Me Up’ (Josh Groban) and ‘A Thousand Years’ (Christina Perri), have all struck a chord with many people who have heard these songs over the years, and all are present here also. Peter, through only using his voice, has accomplished far more than I’m sure any other acapella artist (aside from Pentatonix of course, but mind you, Pentatonix is a band…), and this album full of indeed ‘legendary’ songs are evidence of this.
About Magically Legendary Covers, Vol. 1: If you’ve read up to here by now, you’d know that this track listing of Disney songs given the accapella treatment by Peter are some of the best-selling melodies attached to these movies, of all time- a lot, and I do mean a lot, of people know these songs. And while this album as a whole is not Christian in nature, I still stand by my reason to write my thoughts down about this album- because a song doesn’t have to be ‘Christian’ for it to be used by the Lord to show things about ourselves and Himself…If you’ve read up to here by now, you’d know that this track listing of Disney songs given the accapella treatment by Peter are some of the best-selling melodies attached to these movies, of all time- a lot, and I do mean a lot, of people know these songs. And while this album as a whole is not Christian in nature, I still stand by my reason to write my thoughts down about this album- because a song doesn’t have to be ‘Christian’ for it to be used by the Lord to show things about ourselves and Himself…Disney and their heartfelt melodies will always hold a special place in people’s hearts- it reminds them of their own childhoods, and nostalgia, when things where simple, and these songs sung by these iconic Disney characters, taught us things that we may not have learnt ourselves. While I felt that some Disney songs were unfortunately missing from this 2-disc set- maybe because they weren’t recorded, or some other reason (Let It Go, Colours of the Wind, The Bare Necessities, How Far I’ll Go, Try Everything, Friend Like Me, A Spoonful of Sugar, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and Why Should I Worry, to name a few!); all in all, these 28 songs, inclusive of some mashups and medleys, are a great snapshot of the great songs Disney as brought to us over the years, and the great songs I’m sure they will continue to bring as the years continue to roll on by.
[acapella’s] been breaking some exciting new barriers! People are talking about it, Pentatonix is pretty much everywhere, the Pitch Perfect movies, Glee, et cetera. I am excited to see it becoming more mainstream, and I think it will do nothing but grow from here. I mean, there’s no downside to it, right? A cappella does the world so much good. I get a lot of messages from people who are starting a cappella groups or making a cappella cover videos and want advice, and it’s happening more and more! I am thrilled to be part of this incredible movement
I have always wanted to do a folk song album. That was something I had the goal to do even way back in 2012. Then, I got sidetracked doing the major record deal and so I finally got back on track, accomplished that, you know, and it was really well-accepted and so I was really excited about how people received that. And then, I just love The Greatest Showman. I thought it was superb writing, really, really, really just loved the whole thing, so I was like, why not? And truthfully, my goal next year  is to release four albums. (which never eventuated- only two!)
In 2019, I hope to do an in-depth Disney album. I have recorded so many already and I want to release as many Disney songs as possible in one collection. Disney is something that all ages can enjoy. There is not enough positive, uplifting, family-friendly content, so super stoked to do that. I also want to release a duet album. Evynne (Peter’s wife) might be on half of the album, plus I plan to talk to my friend, Tim Foust, about doing more collaborations. He is the bass of Home Free and we sound really good together. He has a lot of parts of his voice, register, and tone that I think really round out my sound. I just love the guy, he’s so easy to work with and he’s hilarious. In addition to Disney duets, I thought about other options. I thought about doing an entire country album, which totally against everything I have ever done, I was just like, “But I want to do it because it would be fun.” Then, I was also thinking of doing an entire hymn album. Just trying to get everybody something that they like. The thing that I find the most difficult is just working on completing those things without saturating my audience too much with one thing. It is like I almost needed to be calculating and embrace the idea of creating two albums at the same time, so when I am releasing singles I do not tire people out in one specific sound. I know my audience really is very diverse, both in age, sex, and, and their taste range, so it is very interesting for me to try to balance the needs and desires of my audience. Honestly, I make music for my community, I definitely have an itch to scratch but I am just stoked I get to make music in general, so I do not really need to specifically do one thing over the other. I have my people working on the next two years is actually doing a completely original album. Which I have at least a third of it written. And so, that will be fun. [as of 2020, the original album, the hymns album, the country album and the duets album all haven’t been released yet, but they may in the future!]
On Greatest Showman Acapella and what made it special: I think that those four tracks [Come Alive, The Greatest Show, From Now On and This Is Me] are so epic because of what the original orchestrations did and because of how grandiose it was, that it was not only necessary, but it was so absolutely helpful to the sound and then the community loves it. My community is actually pretty darn talented. For whatever reason I do attract some really good singers. It was a win-win overall. It made my community happy, it involved them, which I care about the most, it helped the song choice overall and it lent a more unique offering visually. Even though from a production standpoint, it was hell on Earth, a little bit from a time-intensive and rendering perspective. I think it turned out great. It made them happy, and that is why I make music.
Given that Peter Hollens doesn’t do many concerts, if at all, considering he’s continually releasing covers and videos every week or so; it’s a tough gig to keep on releasing content that is fresh, revitalising, moving, inspiring, relevant, relatable, engaging, considerate of people from all walks of life, and actually fun and enjoyable to listen to. Peter ticks all of those boxes and more- but personally I believe that his most crowning achievement is the Christmas album A Hollens Family Christmas. With an article that I found online being about how Peter got his ‘mojo’ back one Christmas in 2015 while filming the video of “Mary Did You Know” in The First Christian Church, which was indeed included on A Hollens Family Christmas (The second I released it, it was the most-watched video on YouTube for almost 36 hours. For the older demographic, it was the most-watched video for an entire week…[it was] No. 1 on the Christian charts for a little over a week… the biggest weight was off my chest. I just felt like God came down and said, ‘Here you go Peter.’ It’s still my most successful thing); this holiday album I feel is one of the most impacting Christmas albums I have heard in a very long time! With “Little Drummer Boy”, “O Come O Come Emmanuel”, “Carol Of the Bells”, “Grown Up Christmas List”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “O Holy Night”, “Believe” and the original “December Song” all being standouts- there’s nothing much more that needs to be added by myself to this already brilliant work of art- except for me to provide you the link to Peter’s interview with New Release Today about “December Song”, as well as provide the full interview below here. Is Peter a Christian, from reading this interview? Perhaps… Does it matter in the grand scheme of things about whether God can still use him to further His kingdom? No it doesn’t matter. Not in the slightest!
Was there a moment or a memory that illuminated in your mind to create this song? Some personal story from your past or present that found its way to the page in the form of this song?
I remember coming down the stairs Christmas morning in my family home, and how special that time was. I would give anything to go back and experience that one more time. We have so few special moments in our life like that, so connected with our family, and in that moment you don’t know how special it is. On a larger scale, if I could write every song about world peace, I would. My aim was to write a song with meaning, that hopefully sticks in people’s minds and helps them to change the way they treat each other.
You have two versions of “December Song” … one is with instruments (a rarity for you), and the other is a cappella. Talk about the two different versions and why you chose to present both styles. But really, why instruments when you’ve built a career off of mouth sounds and claps?
I want to really start exploring more ways to be creative, and exploring other instruments is an obvious choice for me. After touring and working with The Piano Guys, I was incredibly moved by the powerful emotion that strings (specifically cello) and piano allow. This is why when I first wrote “December Song” I imagined it for cello and piano–and of course an a cappella version because I want to always continue making a cappella songs for my supporters. But I believe every original I write for now on will have both an instrumental version and an a cappella version! I mean, how cool is it to provide two pieces of content to my supporters for each original? I think that’s a ton of fun!
Are you the kind of guy who is ready for Christmas to end on Dec. 26 (or Jan. 1), or are you someone who hangs onto the season for as long as possible?
This is an easy one! As you can imagine, given the context for “December Song,” my entire push for this album is to hopefully instill in people the idea that the “holiday season” doesn’t need to be just one time of year. We can take those themes and moments, and use them to transform the way we see the world. To focus on love and community and passion and peace.
You sing the phrase: “It lights up my memories / the magic of love / we made time.” Talk about the power of “making time.” What are your thoughts about intentionality as it comes to loved ones?
Intentionality can be hard for me to grasp. One of the things I remember most from my childhood is how special Christmas and holiday time was, and what an important experience my mom always created for us. She turned the occasion into this magical experience, and specifically the second verse about the radiance, again reminds me of rushing down the stairs and seeing the lights on the tree and reflecting off the walls, the warmth, the entire ambiance. It still really does light up my memories, that magic. My mom always made it a huge point to make time for us. One of my biggest difficulties in life is not making the time that I need for my family, not balancing that work/family relationship. I hope that I’ll one day be able to find that balance. So the verse is a plea to myself, and to mankind, to make time for each other, our family, and friends–to be conscientious of that all year.
What are some ways that you feel challenged to live this out all year long? Why do you think we lose sight of this so quickly?
I think we lose sight of this because we are so driven by capitalism and the media and just getting through the day. We get a little bit of time off at the holidays, but we need to make that time for our family and friends all year. It takes us out of this mundane, almost zombie-like approach to life, and allows us to be much more thoughtful of the way we treat one another, and treat ourselves.
With Peter already a star in the acapella world, what with him being nominated and winning all kinds of acapella recording awards and acapella video awards; the question on everyone’s lips (well, at least mine!) is about whether Peter will go big in the mainstream, like really big. And while I wanted that for him maybe about a year ago, right now I’m just content with knowing that his music reaches people and his music inspires us all to be better people generally in the world that we live in. from videos I get the sense in my spirit that Peter is just a likeable human being, and though yes I’d love for him to tour and to gain more fans that way; my perspective has always been to ‘bloom where you’re planted’ so to speak. Peter doesn’t need to go anywhere else- as in to tour the States relentless or to other countries. Sure if he wants to, then go for it, but I firmly believe God will bring the people that need ministering to Peter, and Peter can show these people God’s love through his acapella music and videos, whether Peter acknowledges it or not. While Peter also mashed up a few pop covers to create The Hand Washing Song (COVID-19 Medley), and The Quarantine Song (tongue in cheek, but serious as well!), it seems as if he alongside all of us during lockdown, is becoming a bit stir crazy and longing for life to go back to normal. Yet with the virus raging on, things need to be put on hold. Peter’s unfinished albums as well. Yet as we relive these songs and videos, and marvel at how great he is as a singer and a performer; let us remember that influence doesn’t mean popularity. Peter Hollens isn’t popular, not by any stretch of the imagination. But he is influential to the music industry at large, and as long as he keeps on inspiring us with his music that he will release in the future on a consistent basis, then there is and will be a place for him in the music industry, no matter how small or large that place is. So without further ado, as I sit back, relax and be more and more immersed in Peter’s songs- let me end with an except from Jon’s review of Legendary Covers, Vol. 1. Peter’s music connects on a soul level, unites, brings hope, and breaks down walls, allowing for honest and deep conversation. If nothing else than to make us feel happy about the world for four of five minutes at a time, Peter has done a fantastic job! Don’t you all reckon?
I’ve said this once and I will say this again- people don’t have to make ‘Christian’ music, or even ascribe to the faith itself for God to use whatever is created to bring you close to Himself. That is a fact. God can and will use whatever way He knows will grab your attention, and if it through this acapella album, or a popular mainstream album, or through a worship album, then we have to lay aside our own preconceived ideas of what we believe to be inspiring music, and let God move the way that He does. Peter’s new album, be it covers, is as emotive as it is poignant, heartfelt as it is challenging, and all the while impressive with the fact that there are minimal instruments employed to create these indeed masterpieces. Peter’s music is a must-listen if you are an fan of acapella, or dare I say it, if you’re a fan of music, period. Acapella is probably, alongside rap, one of the artist musical genres people can go into, and Peter himself has undertaken it with much grace and poise. Well done Peter for such a project that is certain to garner new fans moving forward.
The most important change I’ve made is in my separation of work and home. When I’m at home I am a father and a husband and that is all. When I’m at work that’s what I focus on. When I separated those two things and stopped working from home that made the biggest difference. Obviously that’s much harder now with the pandemic and working from home with my family.
I do my best to live in the moment when I’m with my family and that has been one of the hardest things to learn because I’ve been addicted to screens my entire life. So teaching myself that has been the biggest and best thing I’ve learned, and am still learning.
I don’t feel like I’m someone that has enormous influence. I do know my music reaches people. But, I think I am seen as a product first and a person second, although I wish I was seen as a person first so that I could have a more positive influence and do more good. I think musicians have a tough time with that because people see us as ‘just the singer’. I hear very often the sentiment of “I don’t want to hear what you think, just sing”.
So, if I could be a part of a movement it would be based on love and bringing us all together. I’m scared about how divisive this world is and how much hatred is based on misinformation, miscommunication or misunderstandings. If I could be a part of a movement it would be to help people listen to one another. I know that sounds idealistic but I think that is more necessary now more than ever before.
I do truly hope we learn from this pandemic. I hope it reminds us that we are all human, it doesn’t matter the country we’re from, our race or the language we speak. If we are going to defeat this virus we need to come together and act as one. I hope that one act can teach us something.
The human voice is one of the most powerful things in the world. We are all given it, we all have the ability to use it, whether it’s a song, a speech, an essay or poem, even a tweet, we can use it for good. I would love to create a movement that could bring everyone together through music.
My faith is really important to me and my family. I believe it was put on this earth to create positive uplifting content with the gifts that I’ve been given. I couldn’t do anything other then create positive content right now. I think in general, even before the current pandemic, there’s been so much dark stuff out there. I want to try to be as much of a light as I can and that’s what faith is to me. I’m just going to keep on keeping on.
I think the one thing that I wish people would would keep in the back of their minds right now is that, we’ve been given a very interesting opportunity in the midst of horrible events. All the noise being turned off and all the distractions in life are being stripped down to the real true element of who we are and what makes our lives important. I really hope people can take advantage of the soul-searching that’s being presented to us
Does Peter Hollens make the list for you all when you write your own ‘Influential Artists of the next 5-10 years’ list? Is there any song (other than the covers “You will Be Found”, “Speechless”, “You Raise Me Up”, “This Is Me”, “The Prayer” and even the original “December Song”) that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far, or even your walk with God? Let us know in the comments. Till next time!