Category Archives: Articles

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 39: Shawn Mendes

Have you ever listened to a song, an artist, maybe an entire discography, and have been totally amazed, flabbergasted, lost for words, full of pride and admiration, for the artist- even from the get-go? Have you ever listened to a song and been grateful that you are alive in this very moment while this particular artist is alive, to breathe the same air as them? On second thought…wow, that sounded creepy and hero-worship like, don’t you think? No, but seriously, have you heard a song by an artist, and have concluded from the outset that ‘this person gets it, he/she knows what the point of music is, and that that’s what music is all about!’? Have you ever heard a song and immediately concluded that this artist is ahead of their time and is bound to be an instant fan favourite and a future star? Perhaps it was an artist who was very young and they were writing music as accomplished and as resonating as veterans of 30 or 40 years. Or perhaps they were talked about as being a has-been, a fading star that has recently recaptured their spark and has also ‘made it’ with the younger crowd. Whatever the case, I am sure there has been one artist that has clicked with you, that has made you want to dive deeper into music as a whole and has challenged you with questions about life, love, death and everything else in between. For me there have been several- influential artists whom both Jon and I have written about, that have stood and are going to stand the test of time, and have indeed written about and sung about meaty issues and often taboo topics. Artists that have looked at a blank canvas and have declared “Yes, I will sing about this, this, and this, even if it doesn’t win me any awards”. Artists that have used a proverbial blank piece of paper and a proverbial paint brush and just painted for themselves, and not for others. Artists who aren’t afraid to shake the status quo, artists who in my mind are fearless. So for these artists, you can read about them in our blog series, and yes, I intend to briefly touch upon another artist right here and now- but let me first speak about the concept of walking fearlessly and what that mindset does for you.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 78: CREED

Let me just say from the outset, that my go-to type of music hasn’t really been rock. It was only recently where I heavily listened to artists like Switchfoot and Skillet, alongside other rock bands like Train, Evanescence, Daughtry, Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, Hanson and Hoobastank (all of which are present in my blog post series) that I’ve come to a better appreciation of a genre that I wasn’t necessarily quick-to-listen-to in the first place. Nothing notably ‘wrong’ with rock, it’s just for me growing up, I was much more susceptible to enjoy other more radio-friendly CCM/pop, and even now, that’s where I’d go to, if I want something familiar and comfortable. But as I’ve continued to say throughout these blog posts these last few years, I’ve thrown out comfortability when listening to a myriad of artists and genres over the last couple of years or so- from country, rap, boy-bands, pop and CCM, to rock, operatic pop, folk/singer-songwriter, Australian music and worship; I’ve explored a fair amount of music out there, only to discover that I was a little naïve about the music that didn’t necessarily fit my initial ‘mould’ of what I assumed each genre of music to be. I had pre-conceived ideas going into listening every genre of music aside from CCM, and as I listened and heard artists and genres that changed my perceptions of them, and the music genre their body of work represented; I was less quick to judge musical genres that weren’t necessarily my first choice- I’m much more accommodating and explorative than I was a couple of years ago. Artists like Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Goo Goo Dolls, Josh Groban, Alanis Morrissette, Jon Foreman, Jackie Evancho and Pentatonix have all broadened my appreciation of their respective genres over the years, and my blog posts have all reflected a sense of wonder when it comes to discovering a little nuanced facet of music that I maybe hadn’t thought about, prior to listening to said artist. And so, as I approach my 78th blog post (phew…that’s a lot of blog posts, if I am to be completely honest), I come with a sense of honesty- that I don’t really know much about this band I’m about to discuss. And maybe that’s ok.

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BEST OF 2020- PART 7: TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2020 [JULY-DEC]

Hey everyone… guess what! It’s March 2021, and slowly coming up to April. And I’ve just found out that we haven’t uploaded our top 20 albums of the second half of 2020 yet! Shame on us! Anyway… it’s time to rectify this issue right away! So without further ado, let me present to you all our favourite 20 albums as a site for the period of July-December 2020! Impacting and inspiring songs are special, but whole album near-masterpieces? They’re even more special!  So sit back, be inspired, and let these full length projects minister to you during this time of uncertainty!

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TOP 10 ___: 2020 ALBUMS WE NEVER REVIEWED!

Last year around this time, we delved into 20 2019 albums we never reviewed (due to life getting in the way), including albums from NF (The Search), Sarah Kroger (Bloom), and Tori Kelly (Inspired By True Events) to name a few. Now, the time has arrived for us to list 15 albums we never reviewed, which released in 2020. So…check out these 15 albums. Just because they weren’t reviewed, doesn’t mean that they can’t resonate with all of you. And… which albums did you wish we reviewed?

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 77: CIMORELLI

Looking through my blog series list, over the last two years, I think I delved into a myriad of musical genres, that if I didn’t have this blog series to always come back to every week for the last two years, I dunno if I would’ve branched out into the music that I did. That’s not to say that the music that I was listening to prior to this blog series wasn’t good…quite the contrary. I have been listening to CCM prior to February 2019, and CCM will always hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. But from February 2019 onward, I was introduced to music and genres that I was sheltered from (for whatever reason, I don’t know), and music genres I assumed was this, turned out to be that; and artists that I pigeonholed, turned out to be so much more. My musical tastes broadened, and my appreciation for genres other than CCM was on the rise. I got out of this mentality and assumption that mainstream music wasn’t as ‘good’ as CCM, that mainstream was ‘evil’ and that CCM was ‘good’- that certainly isn’t the case, 2 years removed from the commencement of my blog series. What this series (which is still ongoing) has told me is this- that God being God, can speak through a myriad of media and material, for His love and grace to reach us today, and if its through mainstream music, then so be it. With all the music I have consumed this last couple of years, I must admit- that my musical tastes throughout primary and high school were a little limited…and that’s ok though.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 38: Chris Stapleton

Have you ever had a dream where you thought it was simply that? Just a fanciful dream? An idea, probably not fully formed, a lofty vision that you thought was so very far off in the distance, a target you could never reach… but would be nice to dwell upon said idea anyway, maybe just to pass the time? Have you ever had thoughts about the future, and immediately dismissed them, simply because they were too big, or too grandiose, or too complicated; and you were too ‘fill in the blank’? Too young, old, fat, thin, short, tall, arrogant, calculative, shy, reserved… whatever you want to place in there… have you ever had a dream ‘die’ even before it was birthed; simply because you never got passed the first hurdle of starting, and you listened to the lies of the devil? If the answer to all of those is ‘yes’, then boy do I have good news for you! And this news is that you aren’t too ‘____’ to achieve your dreams. Because if you were, then all of us are too _____ in any particular aspect of our character. Just as we can’t please everybody one hundred percent of the time (because we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that someone will be ticked off and unimpressed by… I don’t know, our eye colour or hair colour or some other feature!), let us remember that all we need to do is our best, and better our previous efforts. As long as we’re running in our own race, and we don’t look to the left or look to the right (and hence we’ll fall down because our eyes won’t be straight ahead!); then I reckon we’ll be ok in life. As long as we ask for help from family, friends and acquaintances, and don’t even attempt to try to struggle to do life on our own; then I think we’ll be alright. And as long as we give everything our best shot, and leave nothing left in reserve, then I reckon we’ll be alright. As long as we know that God has our life in the palm of His hands, and as long as we know of and believe His love and faithfulness, then I’d say we’ll be alright.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 76: JACKIE EVANCHO

The last two years of me blogging about different artists have been some of the most enriching in my own life, in a musical sense. I’ve explored music that I would otherwise not have ventured in; and have found myself enjoying music that I would otherwise have thought was ‘worldly’, to put it in a blunt way. Because to be frank, prior to 2019 (whence in started my blog series), I was primarily listening to CCM- which isn’t a bad thing at all. I was enjoying the music I was listening to, and appreciating artists like Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Third Day, for KING AND COUNTRY, Michael W. Smith, Tenth Avenue North, Carman, Rebecca St. James, and Casting Crowns, to name a few of many CCM artists I was listening to, prior to 2019. And yet, looking back on it now, CCM is just once slice of this pie called music, and while there are a few genres that I wouldn’t intentionally seek out and listen to- hard rock, screamo, and rap would be the genres I wouldn’t prefer to  hear, if I did have a preference; I have to understand this very fact that I have learnt these last couple of years or so- that God can use whatever music He chooses for us to gain a better understanding about ourselves, God and everything else in between. And if that is through CCM, then great. If it’s through pop, country, music from musicals, rock, if it’s from the ‘mainstream’ circle that can seem to be ‘off-limits’ to a lot of young people ‘raised’ within the Christian faith…then great, too! I mean it. If God can speak through Balaam’s donkey in the Bible, then speaking through country music, or though pop music of today, isn’t out of the realms of possibility for God to undertake. And with that frame of mind, I was able to enjoy a lot of music within the last 2 years that I would never, in a million years, have listened to, had it not been for this ‘musical experiment’. Artists like Josh Groban, Train, Ronan Keating, Martina McBride, The Corrs, Bryan Adams, Rascal Flatts, Backstreet Boys, Pentatonix, Keith Urban, Hanson, Colbie Caillat, Goo Goo Dolls, Little Big Town, Missy Higgins, Sugarland, SEAL, Coldplay and John Farnham, are all fast becoming some of the standout artists I’ve encountered over the last couple of years, and once again, I’m amazed about how impactful a lot of the music I’ve heard this last few years, and how God has used a lot of ‘mainstream’ music to shatter my own expectations of what ‘mainstream’ music should sound like and be, and how God can even use the unlikeliest of sources (a mainstream song) to convey His love for His creation. Music is a gift, and God uses music full-stop, for our good and His glory. And so, after 75 blog posts about a myriad of music artists that I’ve firmly believed have made a tremendous mark on music history, and have impacted people around the world over time, I’ve decided to take a leap into a musical genre unknown for the most part. Opera/music from musicals, wasn’t necessarily my go-to music initially, but ever since loving The Greatest Showman and enjoying thoroughly the soundtrack of it, I saw musicals and opera in a new way, that I was to broaden my own horizons about how music should be and how I was prejudiced against opera, for what reason, I don’t know. I did tackle opera a little, and songs from musicals in the discussion of artist Josh Groban, in a blog I undertook way back a couple of years ago, writing it in March 2019. And here I am in March 2021, and what better way to basically celebrate my very own anniversary of venturing-out ‘musically’, than to delve into yet another vocally powerful artist who has shattered people’s expectations over the last 10 years. Being one of the world’s most impactful within the operatic pop/musical category for the better part of the 2010s decade, I’ve taken it one step further than Josh Groban, and have tackled an artist that even I didn’t think I was going to delve into- Jackie Evancho, child singer and all-round impactful artist, who has, in my opinion, revolutionised opera, pop and people’s appreciation of musicals, since her ascension to fame in 2011 when Jackie came second in the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 75: COLDPLAY

It’s been quite a journey, this blog series. Since starting this venture in February 2019, I decided to embark one what someone from the outside (who doesn’t know me at all) would consider to be a fruitless task of folly- to delve into and discover 100 artists (and then a further 50 iconic ones) that have shaped music as it is today, and to discuss various songs and how they’ve shaped my own life as well…well, that’s an exuberant feat in and of itself, right? Surely, it can’t be done, right? Well, 2 years later and onto blog #75, it’s been quite an experience, and to be honest, I even thought that I wouldn’t even last as much as I did. I set out to try to attain something that even I may have initially thought at the time, was too lofty, and yet, decided to embark anyway. What has resulted from the years of 2019, 2020 and now 2021, has been one of the most enriching experiences when it comes to music, as I’m reminded that God can and does use the music that is the most unexpected, for Him to reveal things about ourselves and Himself along the way. Since starting to widen my own appreciation for music that isn’t explicitly ‘Christian’ from 2019 onward, I’ve discovered a world that is very much expanse, unique, and in some ways, still within the scope of being God-inspired, as a lot of the artists I’ve unearthed over the last 2 years, have been challenging us all, myself included, of what it means to have good music, to have inspirational music, to have God Himself move through music that isn’t necessarily read in a certain way…and then everything else in between. Artists like Switchfoot, Skillet, Train, Sara Bareilles, Delta Goodrem, Lifehouse, Hanson, John Mayer, Lecrae, Lady A, Rascal Flatts, Daughtry, Jason Mraz, Seal, Alanis Morrisette, the Goo Goo Dolls, John Farnham, Delirious?, Chris Tomlin, Phil Collins and Shania Twain are just some of the many, many artists I allowed myself to be acquainted with over the last couple of years, and during that time, my love for music, both CCM and mainstream and everything else, began to expand and grow. Some people may think that I may be a heretic for listening to mainstream music, if I am a Bible-believing Christian, but herein lies the point, that I’ve stressed all throughout my 2 years of musical exploration. That God can and does speak through the unexpected, the things in your life that you wouldn’t necessarily have thought. And that includes mainstream music. And without further ado, now off to blog #75, to dive deep into the discography of one of Britain’s most accomplished, well-known, and hard-hitting bands, that I’ve come across ever since U2…Coldplay.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 37: Lewis Capaldi

2020 and 2021 so far… has been a bit of a downer. COVID-19, the bushfires, the floods, the storming of Capitol Hill, Louie Giglio’s ‘white blessing’ gaffe, the accusations of rape by Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins… there’s plenty of things ‘wrong’ that this past year has been and will be remembered for. Yet for all of its shortcomings, this past period has nonetheless graced us with many opportunities. The opportunity to be still, to step back, to slow down, to dwell upon the past and our future, and to reconnect on a soul level with family, friends, acquaintances. The opportunity to reassess our priorities in life and the opportunity to immerse ourselves in media (movies, music, TV shows) that we would never have even considered prior to 2020, that God can and does speak through even if He may not on the surface. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, I myself have been blessed and inspired by music and movies that I would not have even considered watching or listening to even a couple of years ago- and I’m sure many of you all feel the same way as well. That’s not to negate the severity of everything that has occurred on a national and a global scale throughout this time, but as we all can attest and agree upon; God does indeed use a bad situation and turn around the effects and result for His glory and our good.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 74: JON FOREMAN + SWITCHFOOT PT 2

It’s been about a couple of years since blog #2 in this Top 100 Influential Artists blog series that I embarked upon. Why I signify blog #2 is of a fair amount of importance, let me remind you. It was the blog about Switchfoot, and was in fact, a blog where I highlighted many songs by this San Diego quintet that have shaped music history and the lives of people over the years- songs like ‘Meant to Live’, ‘Dare You To Move’, ‘Stars’, ‘Oh Gravity’, ‘Mess of Me’, ‘Love Alone is Worth the Fight’ and ‘Restless’ are just many, many songs by a band that have had an influence in both the Christian music industry, and the mainstream as well. It was the first blog post after the first, which was Michael W. Smith, an artist that will always be sentimental to me, because it was the artist that in fact started off this whole journey of thinking about music and the impact, influence and power of artists, songs, and their discography on not only people’s lives, but throughout history as well. And here I am 2 years later or so, ready to commence on blog #74. And what better way to speak and discuss about something and someone totally from left field, that it is, to introduce the topic of discussion in this post…Jon Foreman, lead singer of Switchfoot (see blog post #2).

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