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Momentous Mondays: Most Influential Artists Of All Time – Where Are They Now: Week 41-60

Last week, we delved into the second group of 20 artists that we posted about in our blog series; and we also briefly touched upon these artists, just to see what they’re up to. Now… it’s time to see the next 20 artists. Do you want to know what’s happening in the lives of Lecrae, Pentatonix, Natalie Imbruglia, or Hanson? Read on to find out more!

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Momentous Mondays: Most Influential Artists Of All Time – Where Are They Now: Week 21-40

Last week, we delved into the first 20 artists we posted about in our blog series, and we briefly checked up on them to see what they’re up to. Now… it’s time to see the next 20 artists. Do you want to know what’s happening to Newsboys, Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore or Ed Sheeran?

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Momentous Mondays: Most Influential Artists Of All Time – Where Are They Now: Week 1-20

So… here we are. Just over 3 years since our first post of the blog series that ultimately changed how we (Jon and myself) listen to music and how we understand how God chooses to speak to us through music. Since that day in February in 2019 when we wrote about a crazy idea about writing about influential artists and why we believe them to be influential; we’ve since been on a musical journey that at first, we believed to be probably foolish. But now we both realise that we wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. As Christians, the assumption is that mainstream music is ‘evil’. But after 150 blogs (100 blogs about influential artists of all time, and 50 blogs about up-and-coming artists), we’ve found that, to the contrary, God uses all types of music to inspire us, encourage us, comfort us, and help us in this thing called life. You may not agree with Jon’s and my list. But that’s ok. Because we all have our preferences, and on things like this, it’s not worth splitting hairs over. I mean, is ‘this list doesn’t have my favourite artist on here!’ the hill you want to die on? No? I thought so.

It’s been about 3 years since our first post, and other variations of that time frame since all of the other blog posts. And it’s been about a few weeks since our blog post about Robbie Williams. And as such, we thought it would be fitting to write about the 100 artists (and 50 up-and-coming artists!) again- but in a more of a snapshot setting. A ‘where are they now?’ post, sort of a reflection post, a look back at 20 artists at a time (or in the case of the up-and-coming artists- 10 at a time!); just to see where they are at, and to reaffirm that we believe they’re still influential. Sure, you can read about all these artists on Wikipedia- but there’s something about a collated post where you can read about 20 artists at once! So… do you want to be reminded of why we chose the artists we did? Read on and be amazed and inspired by what’s happening in the lives of Michael W. Smith, Avril Lavigne, Delta Goodrem, Josh Groban, Casting Crowns and others!

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 99: KYLIE MINOGUE

At this stage in our blog series, with 2 artists to go before we tackle the iconic and legendary artists who are on a whole other stratosphere (like Queen, The Beatles, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and others); I guess you could say that these next two artists, possibly would be arbitrary. Like I could pick any two artists, and they’d be valid. You may not agree with them, but they’d still be valid. And this is for many reasons. Obviously, there are thousands upon thousands of artists who have not made Jon’s and my list (for various reasons), inclusive of artists like Foo Fighters, Kesha, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, KJ-52, Pussycat Dolls, Snoop Dogg, Mumford & Sons, Guns’N’Roses, Daryl Braithwaite, and Kacey Chambers. Other artists whom I have not included in this blog series (and possibly also won’t feature in the list of 50 iconic legendary artists) are Mister Mister, INXS, Flyleaf, The Script, Marina Prior, James Arthur, Midnight Oil and Eskimo Joe. Maybe it’s because the scope of this blog series is maybe too broad (we’re including artists who are influential across time periods, genres as well as who we deem to be influential on a personal level!); and it is possibly because of the presence of CCM artists in this blog series, that many readers may indeed scratch their heads. Chris Tomlin, Hillsong (all facets), Delirious?, Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, dc Talk, Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, for KING & COUNTRY, Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Michael W. Smith, Carman and Amy Grant… possibly wouldn’t make a ‘normal’ influential artist list if another person were compiling this list; while it would also be debatable if Switchfoot, Skillet or Needtobreathe would make this list too. While Jon and I both have our reasons for including Christian artists on our list (because we are believers, and these aforementioned artists have impacted our faith and our journey in life quite heavily!); this means that other noteworthy artists miss out. And that’s just the fact of life.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 97: TAYLOR SWIFT

Apart from death and taxes, I reckon there’s at least one other thing that is true in the world, no matter what. And it is that Taylor Swift is one of the most prolific, though-provoking, skilful, confronting, and inspiring songwriters of the modern music era. Her vocals as an artist are great too, compelling, stirring and quite heavenly really; but I believe that it is Taylor’s nuanced, level-headed, honest, personal, emotional, and empathetic narrative storytelling… that really cements her place in this list of influential artists of all time. It is the song-writing in my opinion that also lands her as one of the most relatable people in the world at the moment. There seriously isn’t anything to dislike about Taylor Swift (name me one thing- with evidence! I’ll keep waiting!), and her songs throughout her discography has received widespread listener, critical and commercial acclaim. Taylor has broken a lot of Guinness World Records for her music, and she is one of the best-selling artists of today. With Taylor being prominent throughout her career in the genres of country, pop and folk; it is her down-to-earth nature, her humbleness and her kindness that seems to win fans over. And as for me and my listening experience to Taylor’s discography over the past couple of weeks; can I say that I am now a bona-fide fan of hers? Of her song writing and of her singing? Taylor has accomplished a lot in her 15 years in the spotlight, and she has grown up immensely. Granted, she’s grown up primarily in the spotlight and in the public eye, however I reckon that the way that she has handled criticism and haters has been full of professionalism, poise, and grace. The way she tackled the masters’ controversy in 2019 was quite mature, firm, and assertive, and made me respect her all the more. But for me my love for Taylor’s music and her storytelling, is embedded in her songs and how deep she dives. Every Taylor Swift song means something to someone- and that is what I reckon is so profound, special and beautiful about everything that Taylor releases.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 96: MARIAH CAREY

Success. Influence. Popularity. And to some extent happiness. Is it possible that these 4 aspects of life are more intertwined more than we think? Throughout the past 95 blogs, both Jon and myself have written about popular artists, about not-so-popular artists, about rather obscure artists (by society’s standards), as well as about artists who are no-brainers. All of these artists are who we firmly believe to be influential. But more than that- the most influential artists of all time. It’s a bold statement to declare, and I reckon that artists like Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Keith Urban, Backstreet Boys, Ed Sheeran, U2, Adele, John Farnham, Josh Groban and Carly Rae Jepsen to name a few- would be instantly included for any subjective list, on what I believe is a dynamic and ever-evolving list anyway, and is right now only a snapshot in time. While I reckon that maybe on any other day and on any other list written by any other person, artists like Richard Marx, Hanson, Leona Lewis, Jackie Evancho, Cimorelli, Five For Fighting, Colbie Caillat, The McClymonts, Hoobastank and SEAL would not make the list at all. And for me to include the shoe-ins and the obscure artists on one list… it might be head-scratching for some. And that’s ok. Because we all have different preferences, likes and dislikes- everyone’s list of influential artists is going to be different. This list is not gospel. I’ve said it once and I will say it again until I think we understand that it’s ok to have different opinions on music. It’s perfectly fine. Differences make life interesting and underpin our humanity, don’t you reckon? But coming into the final 5 blogs about influential artists- I don’t think that any of us would argue anything with these representatives. Think about it. Rihanna. Taylor Swift. Kylie Minogue. Robbie Williams. And this week’s artist- Mariah Carey. There really shouldn’t be any doubt about the calibre, impact and prowess of any of these artists- and if you all have apprehensions to any of these artists- maybe a deep immersion into these artists’ discographies will tug at your soul and at your emotions; and quite possibly change your mind.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 95: BEYONCÉ

Not too long ago, the Dove Award nominations released. For those of you familiar with Christian music, and for those who have read our site since the inception back in 2014; I’m sure you’ll all believe me when I say that throughout the past few years, both myself and my brother Jon have always eagerly anticipated the Dove Award nominations every year. We’ve even written predictions for these awards on this site here, here and here (2017, 2018 and 2019); as well as our analysis of winners and nominations here and here (both 2014). But for those of you who are unfamiliar with the Dove Awards though, let’s just say that it’s like the Christian version of the Grammy Awards. It’s probably the most prestigious award show in the history of CCM music. And being that Jon and myself basically grew up solely on Christian music, the time of the year when nominations of the Dove Awards roll around is always nostalgic and sentimental to us. Even though of late, we have mostly read the nominations and shrugged our shoulders and rolled our eyes and written our own fantasy ‘fake’ lists. And it’s just because over the past few years The Dove Awards’ nominations have been somewhat spot on but somewhat off the mark at the same time. Yet… guess what? We always come back to these lists, and we always are eager to see the same things over and over and over again. And I reckon it’s what most of us (lovers of mainstream music as well!) do anyways, in a broader sense. We see these award shows nominate the same people year after year after year; and we’re still a sucker to watch them. And the Dove Awards nominations this year actually was a catalyst for me to ask the question… of why is that so? Why do we watch awards shows even when we know what’s going to happen? I’ve been thinking about how ingrained we all are in our likes and dislikes, even though we sometimes are indifferent to them as well. And it seems to me that with award shows with the biggest celebrities, we latch onto these events and spectacles like church services, and we hang onto the words of our biggest idols like they’re God. We elevate our role models like they’re perfect, and even if we know that award shows are like a popularity contest and that the nominations may not reflect in totality if these actors or musicians or artists actually have any talent or even have anything worthwhile to say; we’ve fallen into the trap that they’re still the best thing the world has to offer. And it’s because… I don’t know, actually. We love living vicariously and vivaciously through people, and it’s easier to be persuaded and encouraged to love someone who is popular and has nothing much to say than to be really invested in someone influential with something to say. If you think about most of these 100 artists we’ve written about in this blog series, from artists like Keith Urban, Pentatonix, Skillet, Jason Gray and Carly Rae Jepsen, to John Mayer, Carrie Underwood, Owl City, Train and Hanson… is it likely or probable that the majority of them would be present as a nominee, presenter or performer at a major awards show like the Grammys or The American Music Awards or The Billboard Music Awards or The MTV Video Music Awards? Yes? No? Yeah, I reckon it’s probably not. And that’s not a reflection on the talent and prowess of the artists in question I’ve blogged about… it’s just the way the music industry is these days. Popular artists sell and influential artists do not.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 94: JUSTIN BIEBER

I think I’ve mentioned this time and time again (or maybe my brother Jon has); but let me repeat myself once again for us all. When we look down our list of 100 artists who we deem to be influential across all time (not including artists like The Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Elvis Presley, ABBA, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan to name a new- and all of these plus more will be in a separate list of 50 artists who are iconic and timeless no matter what!); while the pattern seems to be that these artists are mostly active at the moment (aside from Carman who sadly passed away earlier this year!), the underlying theme that I’ve found out recently is that all of these 100 artists, though influential and inspiring in their own right, probably have virtually no links to each other. Delirious? is a different artist to Backstreet Boys who in turn is different to Delta Goodrem, The Goo Goo Dolls, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, SEAL, Cimorelli, Jennifer Lopez, Coldplay, Linkin Park, Tenth Avenue North and Skillet. All of these artists (and more) are unique and each of these 100 artists deserve their place within this subjective list… when each artist is analysed on their own merits. Yet wholistically, perhaps some of you may complain that these artists make the list over another arbitrary 100. You may complain and say that I’m not doing my job right or I’m deliberately against a certain artist or artist group (like rap, which has no representatives outside of Lecrae), or that I’m pushing a certain agenda, or that I’m like the left or the right or that I’m too woke or too conservative in including a lot of music artists that lean one way or the other on the political spectrum, or that I don’t have enough Christian artists or that I have too many Christian artists. Regardless on how you view my list- the fact is that it’s just that. It’s a list made up by an average joe. And it certainly holds no weight when compared to other more prestigious lists like Billboard or The Rolling Stone. Jon and myself are just owners of a website that maybe a handful of people in the world actually take the time out to read… and who are we to claim that we have authority over any list we make. Any of you could write up your own list of 100 names- include 100 names that we never did… and guess what? It’ll still be valid. Whatever criteria you use for your lists (and if you want to see our heart for this blog series, read our very first post we made in February 2019 explaining our thought processes!)… well that’s your criteria.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 93: THE CRANBERRIES

Contrary to underlying and assumed popular belief that the U.S. charts comprise of the holy grail of artists, and that they comprise of the be-all-and-end-all of every artist that is undoubtedly the most inspiring and the best; there has been, and probably will forever be, something much more poignant, moving, powerful, compelling and encouraging if you will, about music that is produced, written and recorded outside of the U.S.A., in my humble opinion. I’ve already mentioned in a previous blog post (or maybe in the introduction post in this series) about how we aren’t as caught up as most people on the state of ‘pop’ music these days; and since that time we’ve found out that a number of artists on the top 100 charts whom we do not listen to, and haven’t blogged about- are American. Artists like Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, BTS, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Post Malone, Drake, Billie Eilish, Harry Styles, Megan Thee Stallion, Maroon 5, Lil Nas X, SZA, Luke Bryan, Dan + Shay, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Khalid, Imagine Dragons, Eminem, Cardi B, Chris Brown, Twenty One Pilots, Kendrick Lamar, Jonas Brothers, Eric Church and Panic At The Disco; have all dominated the charts over the past year or so, and apart from BTS who is from South Korea, they’re all from America, or American adjacent countries. None of these artists are artists who we have blogged about, or are going to be blogging about (except for Justin Bieber, who was recently a late addition to this blog list!); and so when looking at who is cool and hip at the moment… does this mean that we’re out of touch with American pop, and even if we are, does it matter in the grand scheme of things?

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