‘…there is too much visibility. You become the focus of everything and everyone and it’s not healthy. It’s not healthy and it’s not natural. It makes me feel for those around me…you see people literally gravitating towards you and everything else is a blur. That makes me very uncomfortable. I think I got disconnected after being on the road for so long and having weathered so many different trials and tribulations during that time and journey. I spent years going on and off planes in different countries in different time zones … 14- to 15-hour days for two to three weeks in a row. At a certain point your brain is fried, which is what happened to me…it’s one of the loneliest existences around, actually … on the outside [that person] seems to be living an extraordinary journey. The way they are living privately in a lot of cases is completely different. It was very lonely…’
It is in this quote that I have realised that being a musician, or even just being in the public eye for whatever reason, is a lonely journey, and one that often changes you, at times for the better, and other times, for the ‘not-so-better’. It is also in this quote that I am reminded that people’s expectations of you isn’t necessarily how you should act on a 24-7 basis. In fact, the more people expect you to live and exist on a higher standard or plane, because of the publicity of who you are and what you do, the more you often realise that to live on such a high go-go-go mentality is often folly and foolishness. Enter in Tina Arena, Australian artist and arguably one of the most influential and impactful Australian musicians/singer-songwriters ever. And I really mean ever. A generation before artists like Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy, Dami Im and Guy Sebastian, Tina’s music has been on the Aussie airwaves for as long as even I can remember (for me as I delved into Tina’s discography, I realised I heard many of the songs before, just didn’t realise that the songs were attributed to her!). Considered to be an artist that has stood the test of time- from her debut album in 1990s, all the way till now where she’s still making music; we have been blessed and honoured to welcome Tina into our homes with uplifting, compelling and often confronting music for all this time. While Australians in a general sense still have a ways to go when competing in terms of music and the impactful nature of it on a global scale, Aussie artists like Tina, alongside others like Delta, Jessica, Guy, Dami, even icons recognised so well in Australia (Johnny Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Keith Urban, Kasey Chambers, Missy Higgins and Human Nature, to name a few) have all made music on a holistic global scale, much more interesting over the years. Australians have a different way of delivering and presenting music, I’ve felt- maybe because I’ve grown up in Australia and I’m a little biased, but whatever the case, there seems to be a little more honesty and transparency in music produced and recorded by Australians, and Tina’s music is no different. Maybe I’m reading too much into what I am seeing, but nevertheless, what I can say is that Tina’s music on a whole has surprised me in a good way over the last week or so. In the business since the 1990s, Tina still has a lot more to give, and is a great inspiration for young aspiring musicians who want to make a difference in Australian media and around the world as well.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 36: TINA ARENA
Do you think that it’s possible for an artist who has been around for a long time, who has had a ton of hits, and who has inspired and encouraged the hearts of many, to be only considered an influential artist- not now but 5-10 years into the future? Do you think that’s possible? Can an artist simply fly by relatively under the radar for quite a long while, unnoticed by the general public but then miraculously garner widespread and exponential acclaim and recognition, for whatever reason? Some may say no, and simply put, the artist I’m speaking about today has had plenty of hits and has been around since the turn of the century. Thus, you might tend to agree with most readers and listeners of music out there- that whom I am writing about should in fact be whom Jon is writing about instead. However I reckon this artist doesn’t fit in Jon’s category, and if you think about it, fits quite nicely in and amongst other artists like Tori Kelly, Lauren Daigle, Jess Glynne, Maren Morris, NF, Marc Martel, Colony House and Shawn Mendes to name a few. It might take convincing, maybe even convincing to the length of this entire blog, and maybe even longer than that; but Matthew West is sure to be an artist on everyone’s lips, if not by the time you finish reading this blog, then definitely by Valentine’s Day this year, when his brand new album Brand New releases. Are you sceptical? I mean, if Tenth Avenue North and For King and Country are present on Jon’s list, then surely Matthew’s discography deserves a place on “Most 100 Influential Artists of All Time” as opposed to ‘potentially being influential in the future’? Well to sway your scepticalness, read on- and to directly answer this question of why Matthew is in one list, while Tenth Avenue North and for KING & COUNTRY in another; let me first ask you all a question.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF THE NEXT 5-10 YEARS – WEEK 9: MATTHEW WEST
I turned 30 last week. Gee…whizz. That’s a big loaded statement to start off my next blog post. Yes, I did turn the big proverbial 3 0 on last week Monday, and after a big long break of just over a month between the last previous blog (Week 34 was for KING AND COUNTRY published online in mid-November) and now, I’ve managed to catch up on a very much needed time of rest, relaxation, and just generally working hard at my work as a café owner and operator. I’ve learnt to slow down a little during my time away, and to remind myself that though this year has been great as I’ve explored a vast myriad of music at my fingertips quite literally (you can search on Youtube for any musical content you wish!); my life wasn’t just music. Over this month when I wasn’t immersing myself into this particular artist and that, I found out how much time I was undertaking the discovery of new artists throughout the year. I was letting this blog series take control of my life, not necessarily consciously, but nevertheless, that’s what I was doing. To put it bluntly, I found a little of my identity in my blog post series this past year. Which isn’t that good. Still, here I am back, and ready to get into yet another year of exploring artists that I believe have made a mark on today’s music culture, amongst people, and shaped music in general. One such artist that I’m about to delve into at the moment, is 1990s and 2000s CCM legend, Carman!
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 35: CARMAN
Let me ask you a question that has been running in my brain for the past few days. In the face of adversity, do you run away? Do you cower in fear and curl up in a foetal position? Do you analyse every decision that you make or have made or will make- overthinking and stuck in indecision thinking that the bad outcomes are your fault? Do you cry out and ask for help or do you soldier on and naively believe that you yourself and only yourself can overcome odds that are seemingly insurmountable and impossible? When faced with tragedy and the worst adversity possible, how do you react? Do you cry out to God or turn to your vices like alcohol or drugs to cope? Or do you stick your head in the sand like an ostrich thinking that the problem will go away? Now all of these outcomes are all valid, yet as a Christian I find some ways of coping much healthier than others. Yet over the past couple of weeks I’ve been presented with one of the most unique, heartbreaking, encouraging, inspiring, honest, emotional, vulnerable and freeing journeys I’ve had the pleasure of immersing myself into. The true story of actress and singer Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati to an Italian-American mother and a Sephardic Jewish father), her instant rise to fame and stardom due to the exponential success of musical TV series Glee, and the very public dealing of her boyfriend Cory Monteith’s fatal drug overdose and subsequent healing from scars and internal wounds so that right now Lea is in a place of peace and contentment with life; is very remarkable and so, so relevant for society right now. As Lea overcomes adversity, heartbreak and negative situations in a way that’s commendable and admirable; you may not think that Lea deserves to be in my list of ‘up and coming influential artists over the next 5-10 years’- I mean, she is an actress first and foremost, and she did release music after Glee, so one may say she’s not a ‘true’ artist. However I am certain that once you finish reading what I’m about to say to you all…well I’m sure you’ll rapidly change your mind!
Continue reading Momentous Mondays: Influential artists of the next 5-10 years – Week 8: Lea Michele
Maybe it’s just a surmising conclusion and what I see doesn’t mean anything at all, or maybe there’s a pattern here. But what I have seen and realised over the last decade or so is that talent competitions, and more specifically American Idol, have produced some of the most emotive, heartfelt, talented and compelling artists this modern generation has ever seen. I know such a claim is by all means bold, and many, many people could disagree with me, and that’s ok. But I’m only going by what I’ve seen. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, Danny Gokey, Phillip Phillips and Clay Aitken have all had varying amounts of succuss post-Idol, all of whom have given to us songs of hope, encouragement and challenging words to think and process over. Enter in another artist, one that I firmly believe has made a mark on music in general over the last decade or so. While still not very as known or even as popular as other mainstays like OneRepublic, Coldplay, Switchfoot and Evanescence (all of whom are very similar to this artist I’m about to unpack today), American Idol season 5 finalist (4th place) and rock band Daughtry exploded onto the music scene with their eponymous band (Daughtry is lead singer Chris Daughtry’s last name, and their first album is indeed called Daughtry!) way back in 2006. Fast forward to 2019 and they sit as high as no. 3 on the list of most successful artists post Idol (#1 and #2 are occupied by none other than Carrie and Kelly respectively!), all the while delivering songs of importance as the band themselves have changed what it means to create great rock music with a solid message and an inspirational edge. Daughtry have, I reckon, shown us a great example of what it means to thrive in the rock industry that isn’t all about inspiration or even anything to do with a wholehearted message at this point. Which is a shame. Nevertheless, Chris Daughtry and co. have decided to make good music as well as impart values upon society, that we all need to strive and live by. Chris has given to us a band that is truly underrated, and one that makes me smile anytime I listen to them. While I am still on the fence as to whether they have influenced music as a whole, I know this for sure- they have influenced a lot of their fans, myself included, and with lists like this being as subjective as they are, Daughtry’s presence upon such a list like this can be determined as controversial, and maybe that’s ok.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 33: DAUGHTRY
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I feel that artists can be too good for the period of the time in which they were impactful and prevalent in. Hear me out though. Take this new artist Bryan Adams for example, of which I am going to be discussing. Amongst the sea of countless other music artists, one could assume and think that this person Bryan hardly stands tall amongst the rest at all- besides, I’m sure everyone has heard of artists like Rascal Flatts, Owl City, Carrie Underwood, Shania Twain, Phil Collins and Ed Sheeran, to name a few. But Bryan Adams? Ok, maybe the people who indeed grew up with music from the 1980s have heard his presence on the radio, but for the average commonfolk who has just been listening to the radio all these years and nothing else, can an artist like Bryan cut through all the supposition and assumptions, and make his own music known in a world where image and how you project yourself can in many ways be more important on a fan-based level than the actual songs and meanings of them in the first place? Let me say from the outset- Bryan Adams is a legend in his own right. He is a influencer, a musician, a singer-songwriter, and a passionate guy who wants to connect feeling and emotion through the way he knows how- through music. But had it not been for this blog series, and me taking a gamble on hearing a few popular songs from the 1980s as influence for this series in general, I would not have heard Bryan and his music at all- except for his crossover hits ‘Summer of ‘69’ and ‘Everything I Do (I Do It For You)’, which is a tremendous shame. I would’ve carried on my life listening to what I’ve been listening to- nothing wrong with that; but looking at my own life and the musical tastes I have now compared to even at the beginning of 2019, I’ve taken more risks, which is a good thing. Bryan Adams is one such risk, and a well-received one. For Bryan’s knack for creating 1980s songs that still have that aura and connection about them now as I’m sure the songs had back then is nothing short of genius and maybe, God-given. Bryan’s songs have influenced a generation far and wide, and though he may even be reaching a demographic group on a generation level higher than myself, the songs nevertheless have profound meaning, asserting my view that he is one of my top 5 most surprising (in a good way) artists I’ve come across in my blog series of 32 artists (out of 100, and then a further 20 world-class artists) thus far.
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 32: BRYAN ADAMS
If you were to tell me a year ago that one of my frequented genres of music over the year would be country music, I’d tell you to rack off, laugh in your face, and say ‘you got the wrong guy’. No seriously, prior to this year, I was dead-set opposed to quite possibly a lot of things country- except for a few Carrie Underwood songs here and there. For me, I assumed what country music would be and what it would be like. I didn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, and so when the time came for me to compile a 100 top influential artist’s list, it was always interesting and eye-opening to say the least, whenever a country artist came around. Now here I am in October, 30 blog entries into this year-long (and most certainly longer!) project, and I’ve listened to my fair share of country music in that time period- Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, The McClymonts, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, even some odd few Kelly Clarkson songs. And what is my assessment of country music as of right now? It’s not too bad. In fact, the country that is indeed influential today, the artists that have left a stamp on music history- their music’s not that bad. Now my opinion about country music from people who are up-and-coming today may be a different story, and maybe I won’t be a great judge of artists of the ‘new’ country music. Nevertheless, what I have observed about country music from the 1990s/2000s (much of the country artists I’ve heard are from that particular era!), is the authentic and emotive nature of the songs and melodies. And now here in my 31st entry, I’ve decided to unpack yet another country artist- this time, trio Rascal Flatts have been blasted through my ears through the last week or so. In this short, albeit quick time that I have been able to make an holistic judgement, I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the band and their undertakings of songs that are fun, but also songs that mean something too. A group that is standing tall in country music today, I’ve been further reminded of how real, honest, and emotive such a genre as this can get, and that my assumptions about country were dead wrong. A reminder that all of us can be better people whenever we assume less; Rascal Flatts are indeed a band to check out if you enjoy more older-school country music, artists who would’ve started out in the early 2000s than the artists currently in the Billboard charts today!
Continue reading MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 31: RASCAL FLATTS