Category Archives: Features


Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the end of 2020… already! It’s been such an eventful and crazy year in and of itself- with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Warner Brothers announcing 2021 films will be debuting in the cinemas and on HBO Max at the same time, India being rolled for 36 all out in Test cricket, and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve realised that it’s time for another Best Of 2020 post! So let’s dive back in through the past 6 months- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2020 from the back half of the year. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty! Let us remember that even though this year is uncertain, that music is constant, and that these songs can comfort, inspire and encourage as we navigate through life.

Continue reading BEST OF 2020- PART 4: TOP 40 SONGS OF 2020 [JULY-DEC]


It’s been quite some time since I started this blog series- February 2019 was the month that I decided to delve into the realms of music that at that time, was relatively unknown to me. Because apart from the CCM that I have enjoyed throughout my whole high school years and well into university, it wasn’t until 2019 where I realised that the mainstream music industry wasn’t as ‘evil’ as I once fleetingly thought it was. Dunno where I thought this thing that mainstream music = bad, CCM = good; but alas, I did think these things. And it wasn’t until 2019 where I realised that God being God can speak through anything- even mainstream music, and that mainstream music, can still impact and challenge, inspire and bring healing and hope, just as much as CCM. I delved into a myriad of different artists over the last year or so– from Backstreet Boys, Tina Arena, The Corrs, Rascal Flatts, Lady A and Shania Twain, to John Mayer, Goo Goo Dolls, Hanson, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Adele, Jewel, John Farnham and Sara Bareilles, to name a few. And it was in me listening to these artists that wouldn’t necessarily wear the label ‘Christian’, that I’ve found a few things out- that artists like these, as nuanced, heartfelt, emotive and poignant as these artists and songs can be, what I’ve understood is that they themselves can also discuss and talk about things and issues prevalent and relevant to the heart of God too, even if they themselves don’t know it yet. For if God can use Balaam’s donkey to speak to Balaam in the Old Testament (Numbers 22:21 – 39), then God can surely use mainstream music to bring people closer to each other and closer to Himself in the process. And it is a reminder of how complex music really is- there’s literally genres for everyone. Pop, CCM, worship, rock, rap, hip-hop, gospel, country, musical theatre, jazz, folk, classical, blues, R&B, Soul, EDM, punk, reggae, ambient music…you get the picture right? And all these genres are valid, and all are necessary to relate to people. And in some way, all these genres are used by the Lord, to allow people to see inside themselves and make the changes necessary for them to come to terms with their own mortality, and realise their own need for God and all things eternal. But enough of my own musings…you’ve come to read my next blog, right, not some ramblings of someone realising that mainstream music is just as much needed in society as Christian music. So without further ado, my next artist I’m about to discuss for the length of this blog will be…those guys who wrote the song ‘The Reason’ a long time ago. What’s their name again…yeah, it’s those guys who wrote ‘The Reason’. No, seriously, isn’t their name, ‘The Reason’-guys? So enough of my own tongue-in-cheek introduction to the band Hoobastank, but seriously, and all gaffes aside. Let me be real for a second.



Australian music has always had a tug at my heart for quite a while now. Maybe it’s because of the authenticity and realness that a lot of Aussies have in general, that I find that to come through in a lot of the music released by Aussies over the years, or maybe it’s just because Australian music is just underrated, and I’m finding that out now. Or maybe it’s because that in a general scheme of things, Australian music isn’t necessarily the most popular or even the most championed out of every other music there is, and thus I as naturally as I am, tend to always advocate for the underdog, and Australian music is just the underdog in a lot of these situations…whatever the case, I’ve been listening to a lot of Australian music recently. From artists like Guy Sebastian, Delta Goodrem, Vanessa Amorosi, Natalie Imbruglia and John Farnham, to Rebecca St. James, For KING AND COUNTRY, Tina Arena, Newsboys, Hillsong and Keith Urban; Australian music has been on my radar for the last year and a half, and while I myself would never have guessed that I’d write so much about Australian artists way back in February 2019 when I started this blogging post series, here I am, in October 2020, and have discovered that sometimes the music of your home country resonates with you, far greater and more than any other music from any other country on the globe. I know that is certainly true of me over this last year and a half- artists like Delta, Guy, for KING AND COUNTRY, even Hillsong recently and the ever-reliable Newsboys, have all reminded myself that sometimes in life, what you can grab onto that is synonymous with the culture of your country (in my own case, the qualities of mateship, camaraderie, having a fair-go, the down-to-earth-ness and the joyous nature that most Aussies share with each other) is what gives us hope that some of the songs written by quite possibly some of the most underrated in modern music, can seep deep within our souls and speak to us on a heart-to-heart level, in a way that maybe only God Himself can communicate. For I’ve long been assumed (not sure how or why I even thought this) that if you’re from the U.S., or if you’re relocated from your country of origin and have moved to the U.S. and you’re making it big over there, then your music is worth listening to, and if you’re not, then…well, next? I know, such a funny, funny assumption to make, and over the years, this has been shattered by the fact that as I’ve heard more and more Australian artists (who haven’t really made it in terms of American standards), I’ve realised that their music is good, maybe even just as so, compared to the artists of America. And herein lies the point, that Australian music, as evidenced within the last year and a bit, will continue to be held in high regard for me, because this is the country that I grew up in, and no matter what other musical genre I listen to, or what other music artist from around the world that I connect to, there’s nothing better than to listen to an artist from the country you were raised in, and hear some of the heartfelt struggles, hopes, dreams and passions that they have expressed in their music, and realise, that maybe, just maybe, you connect with some of the music as well.



Sometimes I wonder why it often takes something drastic around the world to make us all look more inward, appreciating things like family and friends, especially during such a difficult time in 2020 around the world because of COVID-19. I mean, to put it in a blunt way, why did it have to take a global pandemic like COVID-19 to make us all ponder, think and wonder, to better our relationships with our family, to realise that we don’t need as much as we think we do, to understand the importance of friendships, to entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t be as involved with technology as maybe we were prior? I know, very blunt and crude in my own assumptions, that such a pandemic like COVID-19 makes us realise things about ourselves and others that maybe we just haven’t realised before…but I’ve realised that that indeed is very much true. I know for me, during this time of quarantining and isolation, of having a break from work and using the time to connect more with people around me, I’ve realised a few things. That over these last few months, it is often things like TV shows, music and movies, that often get us through difficult times and struggles, be it in the form of an escapist TV show, a movie about superheroes, or even a favourite album from a favourite artist that speaks to you, both when the album was recorded and released, and even now. Music I reckon, has the power to change lives from the drop of a hat- you hear a song that just hits your soul, and from then on, you’re not really the same. A song that challenges your preconceptions and misunderstandings about this and that. It is in these songs, and the artists that sing them where I’ve started to write about. Not necessarily the most popular artists (the ones that have so many accolades, but alas, songs that don’t necessarily tug at the soul, but rather just give us a cool beat), but it is the influential ones, that artists that may be popular, but also could be under-the-radar as well, that have really challenged my own views of society as a whole, especially during this COVID-19 2020 year.



Never in my life did I actually think that I’d write a blog like this. There. I said it. Frankly, it wasn’t even until a few weeks ago did I actually ponder about my blog series as a whole. Was I actually writing about these artists for a year and a half because they were actually influential, both in my very own life and the life of others, or was it on the basis that it was assumed to be influential, even without me listening to the artist? Because more often than not, a lot of these blogs that I wrote throughout this year, were about artists where I’d listen to them almost the very week of. Yeah, poor planning I know, but one thing struck out to me as something I should think and ponder about…was there an unseen assumption that certain artists are influential and certain artists are popular, and was I playing into that assumption? I’ve written 65 blogs so far in this series, and as I glance through who I’ve written about (and who I haven’t), there’s one big striking omission (be it intentional or not, I’m not entirely sure), that I can’t ignore- the absence of female-driven pop. I mean sure, there’s pop in a sense that it is pop-rock or pop-country or just pop-_____ (fill in the blank) on my list: see artists like Delta Goodrem, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Amy Grant, Mandy Moore, Natalie Imbruglia, Vanessa Amorosi and Colbie Caillat, and you can see that there isn’t necessarily a lack of females on my list investing their music within the pop sonic space, but there is a lack of female representatives in pop in the sense of the dance-pop variety. And herein lies the point. I used to think that pop in the very sense of the word- the 1D pop that is flooding the airwaves since…well, ever; shouldn’t really have a place on my list, whatsoever.


Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 32: Maddie & Tae

It’s been about 6 months since the start of COVID-19. So let’s just let that sink in for a little bit. No. No, that’s not right. Let me backtrack. COVID-19 has been around a whole lot longer than since March 2020. It’s just that that was when the effects of the virus and the impact it had on a global scale was much more significant, magnified, and prevalent. The past while till now has been a journey, albeit an unrelenting and a hard-hitting one, but nevertheless a journey. And in that journey- throughout the whole entire time that I have been at home, at work, talking to people at work, friends over Zoom, just generally to my family, and as I’ve been watching the news and checking out my social media; the one thing that is common that I have heard is the people want to get back to ‘normal’. As if it is something to aspire to be, to travel towards. Like ‘oh, hey we’ve caught the last of COVID-19, there’s none of it anymore’, then everyone rejoices and then life goes on like it did in 2019. I think that’s how some of us romanticise the end of COVID-19 (which may or may not eventuate that way!); yet I firmly believe that by hoping that the virus goes away (which theoretically can only happen when there is a working vaccine available to the general worldwide population at an affordable price!) we are in fact wishing away our life. in a blunt, crude term, that’s what we’re doing.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 32: Maddie & Tae


Longevity is hard to come by, especially in music. I dunno if you’ve seen a pattern, but what I’ve seen is this- for an average career in music, you’d get pretty much a decade. A decade of radio hits, of albums that hit a niche market…mind you, it’d be less if you’re only ‘ok’ and then if you’re competing in a digital space and medium where there’s heightened competition, or more if you’re really, really good and your music actually speaks for itself. And in the context of Australia, artists have either come and gone, or they’ve stayed for quite some time, delivering great songs to people over the years. And usually it’s pretty hard to know from the get-go if this artist is going to make it big or not. Nevertheless, even though as a whole, Australian artists don’t necessarily get as much exposure to the international market compared to artists from other countries; there is still a big pool to choose from if you’re looking for Australian artists to listen to and want to branch out into music from artists not from the U S of A. Artists like Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, The McClymonts, Missy Higgins, Daryl Braithwaite, Jessica Mauboy, Kasey Chambers, Slim Dusty, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Natalie Imbruglia, Tina Arena, Marcia Hines, Newsboys, for KING AND COUNTRY, Rebecca St. James and Kylie Minogue, are just some of the many artists from Australia that have had varying degrees of success over the years. And while a lot of music at the moment is very much America-based, we must not forget that music can still be good and not be from America…shudder to think, right? Because honestly, if we get most of our movies and TV shows from America, then surely the music from America is the best, right? Not necessarily.


Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 31: Cassadee Pope

I have a confession to make. This blog, while the music and songs have been enjoyable and impacting and inspirational, has been one of the hardest I’ve ever had to write. Not because I don’t have anything to say. Not in the slightest. Because country singer Cassadee Pope has had an interesting road to stardom. The lead singer of her rock band Hey Monday, as well as competing on the Voice and winning in 2012, then becoming a solo artist (country/pop- way, way, different to what she was doing before!)- there is so much to write about and convey to you all. However, whether consciously or subconsciously, I’ve tried to come up with a ‘perfect’ introduction for this blog. I’m not sure why- the other blogs I’ve written about before, I’ve just typed, and out comes a story or an anecdote. Usually the brief short pearl or pearls of wisdom ties into the artist’s life or their belief or maybe a line in one of my favourite songs of said artists. Writing an introduction for many previous artists I’ve written about, wasn’t tedious, strenuous and tiresome. Yet for this blog about Cassadee Pope– maybe I has reached saturation point in terms of blogs. Perhaps I was just tired in terms of how I was feeling on the day. But this blog introduction, was something that I had been trying to figure out in my head for some time- I just couldn’t work out how to start this blog. You know how they say that first impressions is key. Well I feared that my first impression on Cassadee Pope wouldn’t be adequate and wouldn’t justify her inclusion on my list of ‘up-and-coming influential artists of the next 5-10 years’!

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 31: Cassadee Pope


Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve realised that at most times in my life, that it is the weaker, lesser things that I often try to hide that God often uses to bring people towards Himself, and to shine a light on the fact that being vulnerable and admitting to your own faults, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but something that will be used by our Father in heaven, to either bring about healing and wholeness in the hearts of people, or just bringing about a better sense of honesty, transparency and authenticity in how I live, and in turn, how other people live when they see me being real with the life I live and lead. For I know that there are things that I often label in my own life as things I know I need to work on- being able to let go of control and to not stress and worry when things don’t go my way, is a very big thing that I’ve struggled with all my life; but when I’ve learnt to understand that it is indeed what I go through (that can be seen by myself as a fault or an impediment that I need to overcome) that allows God to work in others and myself, that I can truly be free from this notion that what I have needs ‘fixing’- that in spite of all the things that I need to improve upon, that God will still use me in my weakness to bring about His strength in all situations I find myself in. God uses the weak and lowly, as well as the well-to-do. It is at times in our suffering that we know we can find God sufficient, and that in what we may often consider to be dark times in our overarching story, that God says to us that it is these moments we try to lock away, that He can turn around and impact and affect a lot of people, reminding ourselves that we don’t have to be ashamed because of what we’ve gone through, been through, what we think about ourselves, or what we deem this thing to be the most despicable (and disposable) about ourselves. Because in and amongst all of that, God is here, God is working, and God is using everything, for the renewal and the revitalisation of ourselves and of humanity as a whole. Nothing is wasted, and I truly mean nothing. And it is in this listening of this artist that I’m about to unpack this week, that I’ve come to realise this very fact, this very sobering moment. That no matter what you look on the outside, no matter what the world can perceive you as, that God can still use even the unlikeliest of people for His purposes here on earth. And that is certainly true of this next artist I’m to delve into today, Jason Gray.



Sometimes artists have the ability to sneak up on you with their music. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that is unexpected and from left field. One minute in your life, you wouldn’t even consider listening to them, or in some cases, may not have even heard of them. And then in the next, you’re listening to their music, enjoying it, and realising that the style of music you are indeed hearing, is such that maybe, you need at that particular moment. For artists do come and go within the music industry- they often start off with a bang, release a solid debut album, and then maybe fizzle off into the ether, for one reason or another. Then there are artists that keep going and going, creating albums that impact the mind and challenge our very souls, year after year after year. There are artists we may not have heard of before, and then there are artists that we hear constantly on the radio. And both these artists- the overplayed and the unassuming, are valid and needed in society, they each provide a service and fill a void, creating music for people, in different situations, circumstances and purposes. And here in these blog posts that I’ve been undertaking for a year and a half, most of them are such where their music haven’t been at the forefront of my own mind until the time that I have discussed them…and then later, I realise that the artist and the music I have just listened to, shouldn’t have been as foreign and unknown as it was for me. I have since realised that because of my CCM bubble that I grew up in during my primary school years (and well into my teens and young adult (Y.A.) years), I missed out on some good quality music, music that God has used in people’s lives, just the same as CCM. And now in this year and a half, I’ve lifted the lid and realised this one very thing- that whether someone likes CCM or mainstream music, isn’t really the matter to God. He will use whatever He wants to, to connect people towards Himself. What does matter are people’s hearts, and sometimes in the unlikeliest of circumstances, it can be the unassuming artists that come along, and tug at our very hearts, and really challenge what it truly means to love God and love people well in this life.