Word Label Group
Release Date: August 28th 2020
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Label: Forefront Records
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Aussie CCM/worship artist Rebecca St. James (sister of Joel and Luke Smallbone, who comprise for KING & COUNTRY!), via email, as she unveils her comeback single “Battle Is The Lord’s” and her upcoming new project Dawn. We discussed the album, her hardest and easiest songs to write, and what life has been like back in the music spotlight. Check out the interview below, and be sure to check out Rebecca’s new single on Apple Music or Spotify.
Hey everyone… guess what! It’s the middle of 2020 already. It’s been such an eventful and crazy year in and of itself- with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and everything else in between! Amidst the hustle and bustle though… we’ve realised that we have not uploaded one single Best Of 2020 post! I know, it’s unforgiveable really! So let’s not make anymore excuses! Let’s dive back ithrough the past 6 months- as we now let you all know our favourite songs of 2020 thus far. All 40 of them! So sit back, be inspired, and let these songs minister to you during this time of uncertainty!
Heritage Music Group / Bethel Music
Release Date: June 12th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
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.
I know I say this every year, but this time I mean it. 2019 was the year that we were presented with the most hard hitting and poignant songs, as well as the most inspirational albums in recent memory. From songs like “Almost Home” (MercyMe), “Greater Than All My Regrets” (Tenth Avenue North), “Head Above Water” (Avril Lavigne), “The God Who Stays” (Matthew West), “Fear No Mor” (Building 429), “I Don’t Care” (Ed Sheeran), “Sucker” (Jonas Brothers), “If I Can’t Have You” (Shawn Mendes), “Miracle” (Tauren Wells), “Lose You To Love Me” (Selena Gomez), “AMEN” (Micah Tyler), “Unstoppable God” (Sanctus Real), “Rescue Story” (Zach Williams) and “Goodness Of God” (Bethel Music); to albums like No Shame (Tenth Avenue North), Head Above Water (Avril Lavigne), Spectrum (Westlife), People (UNITED), Native Tongue (Switchfoot), Ocean (Lady Antebellum), No. 6 Collaborations Project (Ed Sheeran), UNITED (newsboys), Out Of My Hands (Mallary Hope), Unstoppable God (Sanctus Real), Rescue Story (Zach Williams), Reason (Unspoken), Victory (Bethel Music), GIRL (Maren Morris), Haven’t Seen It Yet (Danny Gokey) and the highly controversial Jesus Is King (Kanye West) – this year had it all. Sweeping ballads, head banging rockers, introspective tear-jerkers and just plain fun pop tunes to dance to. And now that it is nearing 2020, it’s that time again in our best of series. To talk about our most anticipated albums for the upcoming year ahead in 2020. So now without further ado, let me list 15 albums that will release within the next twelve months, of which I am anticipating. So which albums are you looking forward to?
‘…when the foundation of a city is founded on music, you’re bound to be around people who are better at their craft than you are. One of the things that we tell younger artists is to go where people are thriving in that industry. Go to where people are considered to be further along in their craft than you are so you can learn from them. And Nashville’s got tons of songwriters, producers and people working in the space of music. That continues to breed music and creativity seems to be thriving in that spot. And for us, we hope that it continues to grow…It’s always different making any new piece of art. That’s actually the temptation you find when a record has been successful and you start to say, “Maybe I’ll replicate this”. But if you do that, you would’ve repeated what was unique and special that time. People would’ve already consumed that so you have to force yourself to innovate and change. One of the things that we talked about with making the new album is evaluating what songs people connected with on previous albums. And the songs were those that we were personally attached to, so we challenged ourselves on this new one to make every single song have that personal touch. If it was conjured up in our head and it wasn’t real, it was discarded. It had to be something that we’ve walked through or a story that we heard first-hand from somebody else. You always hope for the process to be smoother but, ironically enough, if it was, it would be less important. Art that stands out is difficult to make. That’s been our experience. And if somebody knows how to make amazing art that’s easy, let me know because I would love to sign up for that…’
Yes, I know we as a site just posted a top 10’s mere days ago, but this topic has been brewing in me for a while. What does it mean for an album to be influential? Sure you can have your favourite albums of any given year because of great lyrics, music and the technicalities of it all. Yet for an album to be influential in your life is a different story. For an album to mean something to you in a season of our life, the album has to strike a chord with you when no other album has done before. For me during my 26 years on this earth, there has been several that have done that. Maybe we need to stop listing our favourite albums just because, and really delve deep into the heart of the matter- what albums have influenced your life in a positive manner from birth til now? Which albums are impacting for sentimental reasons? Which albums are special, mean a lot to you when others may not like the tracks for whatever reason? Regardless, influential albums are such that shape us and our character as the years go by. What are mine? Read on to find out.