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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 59: VANESSA AMOROSI

Think about life for a moment in all it’s ebbs and flows. It’s ups and downs, ins and outs, valleys and peaks. It’s not that hard to do now, when we see what’s happening with the world, with COVID-19 wreaking havoc around the world. We look at our lives and think and wonder. What are the constants in our lives when everything around us seems be less certain? And then hopefully we start to think, and we can then write them all down. Our friends and family. Check. Our relationship with God. Check. Our endless supply of DVD’s and movies, the streaming services of Stan, Foxtel, Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV and Disney +. Check. Well…then again, maybe streaming services isn’t as constant in our lives as we ourselves initially think. But you get the picture. And then last but not least, something in our lives that has been constant for forever, in ways that maybe we ourselves don’t even know it, is in fact music. Music, just like film and TV, has the power to delve deep into our souls, and minister to our very core of our humanity, hopefully bringing to light, issues that maybe we ourselves need to work on, while also highlighting our very relationships with our friends, family and God Himself, in the whole process of us enjoying a song and reflecting on its meaningful lyrics. For me, music has always been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember- I started listening to children’s music like The Donut Man and Psalty the Singing Songbook when I was younger, and as time went on, my musical tastes continued to expand. Artists like Delirious?, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin, Newsboys, Tim Hughes and Rebecca St. James were all artists I thoroughly listened to throughout my primary and high school years, while my university days were impacted by a lot of CCM- artists like the ones aforementioned, alongside others- Third Day, Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Nichole Nordeman, Natalie Grant, Bebo Norman, Kerrie Roberts, Paul Baloche, Phil Wickham, Matthew West, Kari Jobe, Britt Nicole, BarlowGirl, Hawk Nelson, Sanctus Real, Building 429, David Crowder*Band, and Jason Gray (to name a few of the many, many artists we- my twin brother and I, branched out into). Now here I am in 2020, one year and a half into my blog series, and my musical tastes have continued to grow and expand even further. Yes, this blog series (which you can read more about here) has been daunting and at times, uncertain, but on a holistic level, has also been rewarding, as I felt the Lord’s presence and Him speaking to me through a lot of music that one wouldn’t necessarily call ‘Christian’. And that was my own conundrum that I was working through- and am still working through. I’ve concluded that mainstream music isn’t ‘bad’, as a lot of fundamentalist Christians believe. And maybe I believed that statement too, even though I didn’t grow up in such a fundamentalist environment.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 53: REBECCA ST. JAMES

You know how sometimes you have a plan of what you want to do, and how you’re going to go about it, and then in the end, the plan is uprooted and everything changes in an instant? Maybe that’s how I felt leading up to this blog post that I’m embarking on right now. And if I am to be completely honest, I wasn’t planning on writing about this particular artist today. I had everything planned out- for the next few weeks in fact, and I knew what I was going to write about, and it wasn’t about Rebecca St. James. Nevertheless, God always has His ways of showing up in the 11th hour, in places that you know you may not necessarily expect Him to. And He did- and as I write about Rebecca’s music and how it has been instrumental in my own life, and how the music has shaped my own ethos, beliefs, way of life, and outlook on people in general, I am thankful to how God can even use the things that have impacted us in the past, to remind us indeed of the past, as we understand that the things that have got us from then to now, still impact us to this day, creeping in our everyday lives when we may not think they can. Rebecca’s music has been a blessing to my own life in the last decade and a half since I first heard her passionate vocals in the mid-2000s. An Australian from a big family who uprooted themselves in the early 1990s to settle in to living in America (and Rebecca then subsequently moved into CCM ministry at the early age of 17 in 1994!); Rebecca’s place in Christian music, as well as even music in general has shaped the 1990s and the 2000s in ways that even I know I can’t even fathom- her trademark voice, and her youthful and energetic demeanour is what drew me to her music in the first place, and is what continues to bring me back to her music time and time again as the years continue to roll on.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 15: THE MCCLYMONTS

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.

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