Tag Archives: musicals

MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 76: JACKIE EVANCHO

The last two years of me blogging about different artists have been some of the most enriching in my own life, in a musical sense. I’ve explored music that I would otherwise not have ventured in; and have found myself enjoying music that I would otherwise have thought was ‘worldly’, to put it in a blunt way. Because to be frank, prior to 2019 (whence in started my blog series), I was primarily listening to CCM- which isn’t a bad thing at all. I was enjoying the music I was listening to, and appreciating artists like Chris Tomlin, Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys, Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Third Day, for KING AND COUNTRY, Michael W. Smith, Tenth Avenue North, Carman, Rebecca St. James, and Casting Crowns, to name a few of many CCM artists I was listening to, prior to 2019. And yet, looking back on it now, CCM is just once slice of this pie called music, and while there are a few genres that I wouldn’t intentionally seek out and listen to- hard rock, screamo, and rap would be the genres I wouldn’t prefer to  hear, if I did have a preference; I have to understand this very fact that I have learnt these last couple of years or so- that God can use whatever music He chooses for us to gain a better understanding about ourselves, God and everything else in between. And if that is through CCM, then great. If it’s through pop, country, music from musicals, rock, if it’s from the ‘mainstream’ circle that can seem to be ‘off-limits’ to a lot of young people ‘raised’ within the Christian faith…then great, too! I mean it. If God can speak through Balaam’s donkey in the Bible, then speaking through country music, or though pop music of today, isn’t out of the realms of possibility for God to undertake. And with that frame of mind, I was able to enjoy a lot of music within the last 2 years that I would never, in a million years, have listened to, had it not been for this ‘musical experiment’. Artists like Josh Groban, Train, Ronan Keating, Martina McBride, The Corrs, Bryan Adams, Rascal Flatts, Backstreet Boys, Pentatonix, Keith Urban, Hanson, Colbie Caillat, Goo Goo Dolls, Little Big Town, Missy Higgins, Sugarland, SEAL, Coldplay and John Farnham, are all fast becoming some of the standout artists I’ve encountered over the last couple of years, and once again, I’m amazed about how impactful a lot of the music I’ve heard this last few years, and how God has used a lot of ‘mainstream’ music to shatter my own expectations of what ‘mainstream’ music should sound like and be, and how God can even use the unlikeliest of sources (a mainstream song) to convey His love for His creation. Music is a gift, and God uses music full-stop, for our good and His glory. And so, after 75 blog posts about a myriad of music artists that I’ve firmly believed have made a tremendous mark on music history, and have impacted people around the world over time, I’ve decided to take a leap into a musical genre unknown for the most part. Opera/music from musicals, wasn’t necessarily my go-to music initially, but ever since loving The Greatest Showman and enjoying thoroughly the soundtrack of it, I saw musicals and opera in a new way, that I was to broaden my own horizons about how music should be and how I was prejudiced against opera, for what reason, I don’t know. I did tackle opera a little, and songs from musicals in the discussion of artist Josh Groban, in a blog I undertook way back a couple of years ago, writing it in March 2019. And here I am in March 2021, and what better way to basically celebrate my very own anniversary of venturing-out ‘musically’, than to delve into yet another vocally powerful artist who has shattered people’s expectations over the last 10 years. Being one of the world’s most impactful within the operatic pop/musical category for the better part of the 2010s decade, I’ve taken it one step further than Josh Groban, and have tackled an artist that even I didn’t think I was going to delve into- Jackie Evancho, child singer and all-round impactful artist, who has, in my opinion, revolutionised opera, pop and people’s appreciation of musicals, since her ascension to fame in 2011 when Jackie came second in the 2010 season of America’s Got Talent.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 13: SARA BAREILLES

Influential artists come in two groups, I reckon. The prolific ones, the ones that people universally and unanimously agree upon, that they are influential at all. Bands and artists like U2, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Adele, Queen, The Bee Gees, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, ABBA; artists that have made a definitive mark on music history and have influenced the culture of music and moved collectively the mark of where music was before, to where music is now. Influential artists such as these artists mentioned above, challenge the status quo on what genres should look and even sound like, moving outside the box as how to even approach genres that would otherwise have been overlooked and undervalued, underappreciated and even underutilised, had it not been for this particular artist or pioneer of the sub-genre discussed. Then there’s another group of artists that we would consider to be influential. No, it’s not necessarily the popular artists, though sometimes, popularity and influential do co-exist and collide. But rather, artists can be influential without being popular at all- they are just influential in the niche market they focus their music upon. An example is this- Andrew Peterson, of which I delved into a few weeks back. No, he won’t be of the same level of popularity as someone like John Legend or Jason Mraz, nor do I reckon he should be. But within the realms and confines of Christian music, especially Christian folk music; Andrew is very much known, loved, respected, and even admired for his quirky lyrics and hard-hitting imagery that speaks volumes to whomever hears it. Is Andrew Peterson popular? Definitely not. Influential? 100%- to the people who do indeed know his music, and to the ‘genre’ of Christian music as a whole.

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MOMENTOUS MONDAYS: INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS OF ALL TIME – WEEK 6: JOSH GROBAN

To say that I am 100% prepared to write about this artist would be a lie. Because I’m not. Frankly, with everything that has been happening this week, from work to what has been suddenly portrayed on the news, the research for this artist has been minimal, to say the least. Nevertheless, what I have heard (and what I will continue to hear) has blown my own expectation of the genre of classical opera/pop that this artist is famous for, right out of the water. When I was younger, I used to have an aversion to anything of that musical variety. Not really sure why, but if I’m going to be completely honest, I’d say that I was too much in my CCM bubble not to notice the great quality music that exists (and continues to do so) outside the confines of whatever is to be sung on Sunday mornings at church service…I’m sure you get the picture, right? Music is a gift from the Lord, and it is up to us as stewards of this gift to bring hope and encouragement into the light, and to bring to listeners a sense of camaraderie and unity in times of difficulty, to ask questions that may not have been asked if it had not been for the music. There are many genres of music, and many people stand tall within their own genres. As I’ve discussed in these blog posts in previous weeks, artists like Michael W. Smith places a firm stamp on the CCM/Christian pop ‘genre’, while bands like Switchfoot and Lifehouse influence heavily on the rock music scene. Avril Lavigne’s music imprints a mark on pop/punk while Delta Goodrem is very prominent in Australian music. And so which artist stands out amongst the opera/pop genre? Well, Josh Groban, of course!

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