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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Where Are They Now: Week 11-20

Around a week ago, we took the leap and dived into artists #1 – #10 from the blog series of artists who are impactful and influential in this current generation now, and into the future, taking a glimpse at where artists like Rachel Platten, Tori Kelly, Zach Williams, Alessia Cara, Maren Morris and Jess Glynne are, right now currently in their life in 2022. Now, we tackle artists #11 – #20, and take a snapshot look at artists like Echosmith, Marc Martel, Philippa Hanna, Lauren Alaina, Little Mix and Dami Im, and where they are currently in this moment in terms of music. So check out these artists below, and be sure to check out the links below, to the original blog posts about these artists as well.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Where Are They Now: Week 11-20

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Where Are They Now: Week 1-10

So it’s been around 3 and a bit years since I started a blog series that would, for lack of a better term, revolutionise my life in terms of the music I would listen to, as I understood over the last few years, the vastness of music out there for one, but also, the notion and understanding as I grew up as a Christian in the 1990s, that mainstream music was downright ‘evil’, was totally false. Throughout my teen years, that notion of mainstream music =  bad started to become undone, and it was this blog series that really stretched me in terms of what was deemed to be ‘mainstream’ and ‘Christian’, especially when over the last few years, there had been many collaborations in music between Christians and…well, everyone else. for KING & COUNTRY’s ‘Together’ was collaborated with Kirk Franklin & Tori Kelly, Tori herself also lent vocals to the smash-hit Cory Asbury penned ‘Reckless Love’, country singer-songwriter JoDee Messina also recorded her own version of the powerful (yet controversial) worship hit ‘Reckless Love’; while Lecrae collaborated with artists like John Legend (Drown) and Ty Dolla $ign (Blessings), whilst his song ‘Comin’ in Hot’, a collaboration between himself and fellow CHH artist Andy Mineo, has gained the most traction and popularity (out of all of Lecrae’s songs) amongst the mainstream music media space…ever.

In 2020, Chris Tomlin collaborated with a whole bunch of country artists (Lady A, Brett Young, Cassadee Pope, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line) for the country/CCM crossover album Chris Tomlin & Friends, while not too long ago, Tauren Wells and H.E.R. unveiled one of the unlikeliest of collaborations…ever. ‘Hold Us Together’ has been a powerful song since it’s unveiling as just a H.E.R. song as the end credits to the Disney + movie Safety, but the song took on new life when it was re-released around six months later with the injection of Tauren’s vocals, making the song, that already had a gospel feeling, become more worshipful…who am I kidding. The song was already worshipful. TobyMac and Sheryl Crow came together just this year to re-record Toby’s most recent single hit, ‘Promised Land’, and who knows, that could release on country/folk/Americana radio in the future…maybe. Christian and mainstream continued to collide over the years, with for KING AND COUNTRY & Echosmith collaborating on the duo’s chart-topping radio hit ‘God Only Knows’, while Joel & Luke also collaborated with one of Country music’s OG artists, Dolly Parton, for said same song. Dolly also lent her vocals to another CCM artist’s track, Zach Williams’s ‘There Was Jesus’, to much critical and commercial acclaim, while country music’s representation within CCM didn’t end there, with up and coming country artist Carly Pearce delivered a duet with Matthew West on the track ‘Truth Be Told’, a song that I reckon, sounds better as a duet. Up and coming country artist Lauren Alaina and up and coming CCM/pop artist Riley Clemmons created what I reckon is one of my favourite duets in recent memory, ‘Over and Over’, around a couple of years ago (a song that could’ve succeeded in country radio, but was never given a chance), and let’s all not forget that all those years ago, needtobreathe collaborated with pop icon (at the time) Gavin DeGraw (who’s still making music now, but not as popular as before) on the 2014 CCM-pop crossover hit, ‘Brother’? I say all this to say, that over the years, the lines between Christian and gospel music, and everything else, seems to be blurring together. And that is ok.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Where Are They Now: Week 1-10

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 49: Mickey Guyton

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I catch myself thinking, as I’m lying in bed, ready to go to sleep- ‘why does this world have to be so divided?’ And it’s not just ‘I follow baseball and you follow basketball and therefore there’s this division and rivalry’, or even ‘my team is the Sydney Sixers, and your team is the Brisbane Heat, and thus because of our support of different teams, we ought to act ‘hostile’ and ‘divided’ against each other’. No, it’s more than that. I’ve found out recently that this division the world is seeing right now across many sectors, is much more than a temporary rivalry that’s sport-related, that when we’re in this ‘sport bubble’ we’re ‘enemies’ but outside of that, we’re friends. It’s much more deep-rooted, and much more involuntarily ‘taken-on’ as our ‘identity’, than many of us would care to even admit. Let’s just take a look at the few rivalries that we know of, as we’ve been observing in the world over the past decade or so. There’s the Christians against…well, everyone else? There seems to be a rivalry right now that pits the Christians and the LGBTQAI+ people against each other, not to mention Christians and atheists that have been having discussions before the beginning of time, too. Here in Australia, there’s Labour V Liberal (and in America, there’s Republicans V Democrats), while since COVID-19 has started up in early 2020, there’s been the ‘other’ rivalry that people don’t like to talk about- those who are vaccinated, against those who are hard-line anti-vaxxers, for whatever reason. And these rivalries are not just for anything trivial.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 49: Mickey Guyton

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 48: First To Eleven + Concrete Castles

I’ve noticed a few things as I’ve lived my life thus far, and while I am no expert on things that I know that I don’t know about, I do know a few things as I’ve lived here on this earth for 31 years (and counting!). Something that has stuck out for me recently; is this understanding and notion that it’s ok to love and enjoy music that isn’t necessarily the ‘original genre’ of music that you maybe have gravitated towards throughout all your life, up until now. What I mean to say is this- that even if you enjoyed rock music growing up; it is perfectly ok to enjoy country music later on during your life. Or if you were heavily invested into pop from when you were born, it shouldn’t really be a problem if you start to have an interest in folk, or screamo, or opera later on during your life. Or…howabout a real kicker- that it’s ok to love and enjoy mainstream music, even if all your life, you were listening to CCM. Or even let’s take this one step further now that we are being very candid with each other- that it’s more than ok if you believe that God Himself is speaking through mainstream music, that He’s not just speaking through ‘CCM and that’s it’.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 48: First To Eleven + Concrete Castles

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 47: Sofia Carson

Some would say that me and my brother had one of the weirdest childhoods ever. Others could say that our parents were warranted for having a lot of input into what movies, TV shows and music we as children, saw when we were younger. Because if you don’t really know by now- yes, because we were premature (amongst other things), Josh and I were sheltered quite a bit when we were younger. Whatever money that was made by my parents during the first few years of my life, went to health bills and hospital amenities, things that were needed to be funded during a time in the early 1990s where interest rates were high- I think they were at one point, up to 17.5% in 1990. Money was spent on food and other necessities, and consequently, we didn’t have much outside of that. Sure, we had a wonderful childhood growing up, but let’s just say that we were content with what we did have, rather than always wishing and wondering what other people did acquire when they were young. Because if I were to look back on my own childhood and reflect as a man in my early 30s, I’d have to say this- that the 1990s was a time of great expansion technologically, but our family was never really the type to always catch on to the latest craze or fashion, just because the next person was. We’d probably eventually would end up acquiring whatever it was, technologically (we bought a DVD player in 2002 when DVDs were around in circulation from 1999 onwards, Nintendo 64’s in our household was an occurrence from 1998 onwards, even though it’s popularity peaked in Australia from 1997), but in all honesty, our family wasn’t really that big on getting anything new- only if it was absolutely necessary. Which means one big thing- our family didn’t have FOXTEL when we were younger.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 47: Sofia Carson

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 46: Amy Shark

There’s always been a bit of a divide when it comes to CCM v mainstream, at least in the areas where I was growing up. Being from Australia (a country that is a lot less God-conscious than other places around the world), it’s often considered weird and different if you listen to nothing but CCM your whole life. Mind you, my brother and I did attend an Anglican primary school, so I guess early on in our own lives, we weren’t as ‘isolated’ as we initially thought we were. We then attended a ‘secular’ high school, which was fine, because my brother and I were able to see how the general population was like. Maybe it was because we were in our own CCM bubble for so long- and because we were both premature as twins; we were in our own proverbial bubble at home as well, a bubble that restricted our very own interaction with people generally, because of our family’s concerns- valid ones when you raise a family where twins are premature. You start to take extra care of them and wrap them in metaphorical bubble wrap so as to protect them from the ‘big bad world’. Maybe that’s an exaggeration as to how my brother and I grew up, but when it came down to it, we were indeed sheltered, much more than the average joe. And so high school was a pretty big deal for us- we weren’t in the bubble of ‘Christian’ anymore- because our primary school was of the Anglican variety, people didn’t really bat an eyelid when we said we only listened to Christian music (Carman and Delirious?, and some Steven Curtis Chapman, Steve Grace and Tim Hughes, to be precise).

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 46: Amy Shark

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 45: Ava Max

I dunno if this thought can be a bit presumptuous, simplistic or even revolutionary, but I’ve realised that throughout the last 2 or so years of me blogging about specific artists in terms of their influence and impact on music, society, and music history as a whole, that pop music comes in various forms, and the various pop artists I’ve discussed in these blogs each employ a unique way of crafting their music within the confides of this three lettered word ‘pop’, and each of these artists I’ve listened to, have gained a greater appreciation and respect from myself. The piano pop of Delta Goodrem who delivers powerful ballads and has a big voice, is different from the pop of Kelly Clarkson that is as traditional as they come. Carly Rae Jepsen’s version of pop leans more EDM, while the 80s synthpop that has been prevalent in a lot of Bryan Adams material is on a different scale than anything else. Ed Sheeran’s pop lies more in the folk/acoustic/experimental category; and provides a unique way of how music from Britain is progressing at the moment, while John Farnham’s pop relies a lot on anthemic moments of emotion and heart, as big ballads consist of most of his discography. Each and every one of these artist’s way of delivering ‘pop’ is unique and distinct, and just like the musical genre of country, pop can be as vast, expansive, and confusing, especially when you are more gravitated towards a certain aspect within a certain genre compared to another. Pop has many fans, and I’ve been privileged enough to take a glimpse and snapshot into a genre that I still don’t know much about, even though I’ve discussed and blogged about more pop artists than any other artist in any other genre, in this blog series thus far.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 44: Apollo LTD

Motivational pop-rock isn’t necessarily all the rage, nowadays that is. Gone are the days of artists like the Goo Goo Dolls, Train and to some extent, Coldplay. Yes, these artists during their heyday (which unfortunately, isn’t really now) dominated the sonic landscape and created music with an inspirational edge, all the while utilising the mainstream music market and delivering songs of poignancy and fun, reminding us that it is ok to have a deep song right next to a jovial, fun track on a track-list on an album. Coldplay brought to us one of the 2000s best in ‘Fix You’, quite possibly for me, one of the top 5 songs to ever grace our ears in that decade. Also in the same decade was both Train and Goo Goo Dolls- Train brought to us the quirky and often nonsensical ‘Drops of Jupiter’ (but we all didn’t care, it’s still a classic song, all these years later), and even the thought-provoking ‘Calling All Angels’, ‘Marry Me’, ‘When I Look to the Sky’ and ‘If It’s Love’. And while the Goo Goo Dolls’ biggest hit ‘Iris’ was unveiled in the 1990s (1998 to be precise), the band still had relative success during the 2000s, with songs like ‘Big Machine’, ‘Here is Gone’, ‘Better Days’, ‘Give a Little Bit’, ‘Stay With You’ and ‘Sympathy’. Coldplay, Train and Goo Goo Dolls were all delivering what was considered to be popular during that era- motivational pop-rock, and while that type of branding has always been able to strike a chord with me (considering my own love of CCM and worship music, this umbrella of motivational pop-rock is something in the mainstream that can be very closely attributed to CCM/worship if ever someone was able to find a proverbial link there!), it seemed that as though time went on and music changed, the artists that changed with them seemed to not as care as much for the ‘motivational’ genre as the next guy, and started to place more emphasis on the glitz and glamour of the music, than the lyrics and music themselves. Which is a bit of a shame though- but when you do look around at the music of today, it can be hard pressed to find artists that seem to embrace the motivational pop-rock umbrella as well as bands like Train, Goo Goo Dolls and Coldplay did, way back in the 2000s. Sure, these three bands are still at it today, and are still delivering motivational pop-rock anthems for the masses, but there is where it all stops.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 44: Apollo LTD

Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 43: Riley Clemmons

Since undertaking this blog series around 2 and a half years ago, I’ve since had the privilege of exploring artists in such a way that I may have not had done so; if I wasn’t as bold as I was in delving deep into the blog series for this site. I had been musing and thinking about it for quite some time before February 2019, but little did I know that since that introductory post in early February, my appreciation of music, and my ability to enjoy music not necessarily within the realms and confines of CCM, was all going to change. I was challenged by music artists and genres that I didn’t think I could like, let alone enjoy. Artists like Lifehouse, Avril Lavigne, Pentatonix, John Mayer, SEAL, Jackie Evancho, Sara Bareilles, U2, OneRepublic, Rascal Flatts, Lady A, Sugarland, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, The Corrs, and Carly Rae Jepsen, are just some of the many artists I enjoyed during my time blogging about, in my opinion (and it’s just my opinion), some of the most influential music artists in music history and society. I wrote blog after blog for about just over two years, and finally made the switch after blog post #80 to alter my approach a bit. My brother Josh took over from me and is now writing about blogs #81 – #100 and further discussing influential artists in modern music history- artists like Tim McGraw, Leona Lewis, J. Lo., Gwen Stefani and Spice Girls have been written since I actively left the blog series I was undertaking, and artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams, Beyonce and Kylie Minogue are still to come.

I, on the other hand, decided to try my hand and relay my own ‘expertise’ in exploring artists who are much more ‘current’ in a way- artists who may not necessarily be influential now as of this moment (but nevertheless, still popular), but will probably be in the upcoming few years ahead. Artists like Tori Kelly, Maddie & Tae, Lindsay Ell, Echosmith, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton, Dami Im, Mandy Harvey, Hunter Hayes, Little Mix, NF and The New Respects, are just some of the 40 artists Josh wrote about…and then everything changed at the end of April. Mutually agreed by both my brother and me, we swapped- Josh is now continuing the blog series about influential artists of all time, and I am trying to at least get my head around influential artists of both now and into the future. While for me it hasn’t really been as easy-going compared to the blog post series that I was a part of for 2-and-a-bit years; I’ve still relished in the challenge of listening to music that stretches me and encourages me to see beyond my own preconceived ideas of music that is produced currently right now. Since writing about John Legend (blog #80 of ‘Influential Artists of All Time’), I’ve delved into ‘new’ and upcoming artists The Shires (who I reckon is one of the most underrated country duo’s ever) and Lucy Thomas (The Voice Kids U.K. finalist, who is arguably one of the most promising voices out there right now, considering she’s only 17 years old now, and 13 when she was competing on the singing competition). Now, I’ve decided to take the plunge again into the depths of the unknown…this time, it’s CCM artist and hopeful mainstream-crossover artist, Riley Clemmons.

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Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 42: Lucy Thomas

Let me pose a question to you all. Under what criteria or definition does an artist become influential (or even popular for that matter)? Is it their number of sales in any given year, or how high a certain song charts on the radio, or even how well people respond to songs in their own personal settings as the years progress? Is it how many awards they’ve won, or how much a song ‘blows up’ on social media? Is it their ability to have their music placed in TV shows and movies, or their songs become theme songs for various ceremonies across the years? Or is it their vocal prowess alone, and their ability to sing high, sing powerfully, sing with heart and determination? Or it could just be their natural talent as a songwriter, or even the fact that they are a multi-instrumentalist. Whatever the case may be, and whatever yardstick or measurement people use to determine someone’s popularity or influence in society altogether, there is something that still remains to be true, regardless of criteria. That a good artist is a good artist is a good artist, and no matter if they are ‘liked’ or not, one can generally appreciate someone’s craft, and people are usually on the money in their deciphering about who is popular and who is influential. Because at the end of the day, influence goes beyond popularity, and speaks to the heart of issues relevant to the people of today. People can all of a sudden, become famous overnight and popular through TikTok, Instagram and Youtube- anyone who’s somewhat tech-savvy can self-declare that they are a muso/artist, and record something on the fly…but that doesn’t mean that they actually are. They may be popular and enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame (figuratively or even literally), but to be influential means an artist has to deliver something that goes beyond the surface, and hit a listener in a way that their music impacts them not only for a little while, but really challenges the way that the person on the other end- listeners, critics, consumers, and the rest of them, sees society, music, and the interweaving of how music can impact someone’s life for the better, even if it’s just this one song that really changes the trajectory of someone’s life.

Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 42: Lucy Thomas