Interview with Amanda Collins

Living in Nashville, when someone says, “I just moved to the area to pursue music,” there’s an inside voice of the listener that responds, “You, along with everyone else.”  It is that common.  Nashville is to musicians what Hollywood is to actors.  One or two might “succeed” while thousands of others . . . “don’t.”

So when I first met Amanda, who is gifted with a rare genuineness and light that everyone is drawn to, I immediately felt protective of her. Like an idiot, I was thinking of the odds…

Until I heard her music.  I ate a big piece of humble pie, and then I had to apologize to God because doubting her is like doubting Him.  Her faith is the backbone of who she is:  her life choices and her leaps reflect this, and therefore, her lyrics are saturated with hope.  As talented as she is lovely, God has bestowed her with gifts that she is using for His glory, and it is absolutely awe-inspiring to witness.  The cynic in me says that there truly is nothing new under the sun, but Amanda’s voice is unique and fresh, and her approach is creative enough that she does anything but “blend in.”  Even if I didn’t know her personally and adore her, I’d say that the Christian genre specifically needs her desperately.  But because I do know her, I’d say that there’s an audience that needs her even more so.

You see, Amanda is a smart girl.  I’m sure she is very well aware of the odds, but she chose to ignore them and put her faith in God anyway.  That, my friends, is winning.  I apologized to her when asking her to do this interview, saying Relate’s reach isn’t that big, but sometimes, even if it is just one person who listens and is inspired, then that is enough.  That one person, me, has already been touched, but it is my sincere hope that a few more listen and are encouraged in much the same way.

Relate:  First memory of music:

Amanda:  When I was younger I used to steal my older brothers cd’s and listen to them in my free time. The Beautiful Letdown by Switchfoot was the first record to really make an impact on me. I can’t even number the amount of times I listened to that record. 


R:  Name one song you wish you had written and why:

A:  Superstition by Stevie Wonder. It has such a simple message and I just love Stevie. That song always gets me on my feet!


R:  Tell us about a favorite song of yours that you’ve written and your source of inspiration.

A:  I’m always very critical of my own writing, but if I had to pick it would be my song called You Know. I had a lot of crazy things going on in my life when I wrote that song. Many crossroads ahead of me and I was super stressed out. The message of the song is just to let go of all your worries. God has it under control. Even if you don’t know the future, it’s all gonna be ok. 


R:  Tell us about your latest single (did you help write it, how does it differ from other songs you’ve done, etc.)

A:  My latest single is called Flight, and I had an absolute blast recording the song. I wanted to step out and do something outside of my comfort zone. So I collaborated with a rapper. I came up with the idea and wrote the song all in one day. I wrote the music to the song, I wrote the lyrics to the hook, and then I left two open verses for the rapper friend of mine to work his magic! It was such a crazy and fun experience. It’s a synth/pop/rap song, needless to say it’s very different from anything I’ve done in the past. 


R:  If you could work with anyone in the music industry, who would it be and why?

A:  NEEDTOBREATHE hands down. Not even a question. I absolutely love love love their style of songwriting and performing. Plus, I kinda have a crush on the guitar player. 


R:  What made you decide you wanted to pursue music?

A:  I honestly don’t remember the exact date, but it just hit me one day. I was fresh out of high school and I remember sitting there one day, thinking about the future and what I was going to do with my life. I hadn’t been writing songs for very long at that point. Singing and writing music was a huge passion of mine and there was a point that I just knew I wanted to keep doing it.  


R:  What has been the best thing about moving to Nashville? What has been the hardest part about moving here?

A:  The best thing has been the PEOPLE! I haven’t been in Nashville for more than 8 months now but it already feels like home. People have been so kind and welcoming. I will forever be grateful for that. The music has been alright too!!

The hardest part has definitely been leaving family behind in New England. I miss my brother and sister in law so much! They are my best friends and I miss them like crazy. I’m glad they are only a short plane ride away. 


R:  How has your faith helped you the most?

A:  My faith is everything. God has been by my side through it all, it’s only because of Him that I’m able to do what I do and pursue my dream!

 

R:  What advice would you give your thirteen year old self?

A: I would tell myself to play piano a lot more! Take practicing more seriously. Work harder. Ignore the haters. Don’t give up. 


R:  What is your definition of success?

A:  Doing what you love to do. Doing what you feel called to do! Always doing your best at whatever you do. 


Just for fun-pick one in each pair:

-beach or the mountains

I love them both! but if I had to pick…beach!

-pizza or hamburgers and fries

Pizza!!

-high heels or boots
Boots!!


-shopping or hiking
Hiking!!


-book or movie

Movie

 

Please visit https://www.facebook.com/Collins-318414765028113 for more information and be sure to get her latest single “Flight.”  Like, right now.

 

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Cimorelli’s New Album Might Be The Best Yet

 

Written by:  Jill Sheets

Cimorelli’s newest album has just been released. Even thought Alive is not their first album, it is their first pop/Christian album. The Cimorelli sisters wrote every song on it. (When you think they cannot get any better, they do!) Personally, I think Alive is their best album so far. It’s catchy and upbeat; it shows off their strong vocals and meaningful lyrics. They have worship songs, but they also tackle hard issues like worthlessness and addiction. These inspirational and uplifting songs will get stuck in your head, especially when you need a certain message.  It is hard to pick my favorite song, as I love them all. Each song speaks to me in a different way, and I’m sure they will for you too.

 

Track Listing:

  1.    Your Name Is Forever
  2.    One More Night
  3.    Alive
  4.    Never Let Me Fall
  5.    The Love Of A Man
  6.    My God Is Here
  7.    Hope For It
  8.    Kick The Habit
  9.    Find Me
  10.    Love Song (Over Me)

I had been waiting a while for this CD, and it was worth the wait. I cannot wait to see what Cimorelli does next. If you are interested in learning more about this sister group you can go to the links below.

https://www.cimorellimusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Cimorelliband/

https://www.instagram.com/cimorelliband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/cimorellitheband

 

Interview with Mason Ashley

It’s been several dry months for me, musically wise.  I’m listening and absorbing, but there hasn’t been much interest in writing about any of it.  So, the second an email piques my interest, I’m all over it, quick, before I lose the motivation.  Fortunately, though, I love “Paper Planes” so much, I am as excited to share this with you now as I was three weeks ago when I first heard Mason.  Straight up great lyrics and lovely voice with no flash and no gimmicks because there isn’t any needed.  Seriously, it’s so refreshing.  And this interview hints at a sense of humor that made me smile; I am as eager to share her responses as I am to tell everyone about her music.  Read on. And then go listen. I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

 

Relate:  First memory of music:

Mason:  I grew up watching the VH1 Top 20 Video countdown every Saturday since I was really little. I used to dance around the living room and reenact music videos and sing along with every song my parents would play in the house. The first song I wrote was on a hotel notepad when I was seven years old about being late for school…. I was homeschooled at the time. 

 

R:  Name one song you wish you had written and why?

M:  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Bob Dylan is a song I always wish I’d written. It is the greatest break up song of all time in my opinion. It totally encapsulates the feelings at the end of a relationship. Each verse takes you through the different emotions; the “who cares” somewhat sarcastic attitude, the feeling of giving up, and the hint of sadness in the last verse. It’s genius. 

 

R:  Favorite song of yours that you have written and what makes it special to you?

M:  I think my favorite song I’ve written is the title track of my new EP, “Strangers”. That song title was in my phone notes for about two years and I just never found lyrics that lived up to the title until last summer. The song just kind of poured out of me and it has some of my favorite and most personal lines in it. It’s about a very complicated relationship I was in last year that taught me a lot about myself and how I deal with different situations. “Strangers” is special to me because it is the song I had always wanted to write and it ended up exactly the way I wanted it to in production. It captures the feeling of getting to know someone, losing them, and realizing maybe you never really knew them at all… and in the end you end up exactly how you started: strangers. 

 

R:  I’ve read that you have traveled a lot. How has meeting new people and seeing different places helped you become a better songwriter and musician?

M:  I always get very inspired when I travel. Something about seeing parts of the world I’ve never seen before for the first time makes me want to capture that feeling in lyrics. Meeting new people is the same kind of inspiration for me.. it’s a reminder of how unique everyone is and how everyone has their own story. 

 

R:  Have you ever been afraid to share a song and did you get over that fear?  If so, how?  And if not, do you think you will always have songs that you keep to yourself?

M:  When I first started writing, I was terrified to share any of my songs. When I started performing my songs, I would hide all my feelings in metaphors in my lyrics to make sure nobody knew how I was feeling. I had been writing a few years when I finally realized that all the songs by other artists that I loved were songs that told a brutally honest story. From then on, I felt confident being honest in my writing…it’s much easier.  

 

R:  What goal do you have for yourself that is so big that it frightens you?

M:  My biggest, most terrifying goal is probably to have my song in a movie. It is a dream of mine and if it happened, I think I would freak out. 

 

R:  Best advice that you have ever been given?

M:  Growing up in church with my pastor being my grandfather, I always have great advice. One of my favorite pieces of advice is actually something my grandpa said about God and how He is in everything in our lives, even the rough times. “He’s the designer of the storm. He doesn’t just get you through it… He is in it.” Those words always calm me down and remind me that there is a plan for my life better than I could ever design for myself. 

 

R:  When you aren’t singing or writing music, what do you like to do?

M:   I’m in cosmetology school right now so when I’m not doing something music related I’m normally doing someone’s hair. I’m a coffee-addict so I’m also usually found in a coffee shop after or before school. And I’ve also started doing a lot of yoga lately. 

 

R:  Tell us about something that has made you laugh in the last twenty-four hours.

M:  Well… I was watching The Office earlier (for the billionth time) and laughing with every episode I watched. 

 

R:  Name one song on your iPod that your friends would be surprised you own.

M:  I normally have pop, rap, or indie music playing when my friends are with me so I think they’d be most surprised at the amount of Jackson 5 songs I have on my phone.. They are probably my guilty pleasure band. 

 

R:  Just for fun-choose one:  Beach or the mountains?

M:  Beach BY the mountains. 

 

R:  T-shirts and jeans or sweaters and skirts?

M:   T-shirts and jeans.

 

R:  Taylor Swift or Beyonce?

M:  T-swizzle.

 

R:  Pizza or Cheeseburgers and fries?

M:   Pizza! (Barbecue chicken pizza specifically)

 

R:  Chocolate or potato chips?

M:  Chocolate chips all the way.

 

For more information about Mason, please visit:  http://www.masonashley.com/

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

 

Interview with Amanda from Ray and Remora

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

amandaI have to be honest-I agreed to review the record Startle it Up simply for the reason that I liked it.  Surprising, I know.  I like to make things complicated and choose albums that have this overwhelming truth that I hadn’t realized before I listened, or it has to inspire me in some profound way.  And while this album may have the potential to do these things if I dissect it enough, I didn’t want to.  I just wanted to enjoy it.  And I did, every time it played.  It even had the chance to pass my “shuffle test:” if a song was randomly picked while I listened to my iPod, would I skip the song?  The answer was a resounding no-instead of hitting next, I turned it up, and I would smile as soon as I heard it.  With all the discord and the chaos in the world, we all need more things to make us smile, right?

Fresh and light without being pathetic and airy, Startle it Up addresses some tensions revolving around various statuses of relationships.  When Amanda begs to be listened to, she doesn’t sound whiny, when she sings “we just have to find it,” you believe that you will, and when the lyrics bleed transparency, there’s still just enough mystique that leave you wanting to hear more.  I adore this album for sounding different, yet familiar.  I love that this album isn’t fluff, yet it doesn’t make me feel burdened.  Startle it Up is an escape that I didn’t even know I needed until I heard it.  

Relate:  What is your first memory of music?

Amanda:  My first memory of music is probably my Grandpa singing lullabies. We moved to Portland shortly after I was born to live with him.  I don’t remember much from childhood, but I do remember him singing me to sleep, “I gave my love a cherry, that had no stone.”

R: 1994 was an EP of covers, and this album, Startle It Up, is a full-length of originals.  Which one was your favorite to create and which one was more challenging?

A:  Startle It Up is definitely my favorite, we really became the band “RAY & REMORA” with this one.

1994 was fun but it was like a “nice to meet you” project with Dan. We were just fooling around in the studio, recording Kazoos with lots of effects and since we weren’t a fully-fledged band yet, it was less serious. We were just two nerds in a basement playing with computers and instruments.

The “challenging stuff” for me isn’t the recording or music making; it’s all the business matters. After an album it’s a lot paper work and emails. That sucks the life out of me. If anyone wants to be my intern, I’m hiring!

R:  How soon did you know that you wanted to create a second album and that it would be your own creations?  Was it right away or did it take awhile for you to decide this?

A:  As soon as the EP was out and receiving some interest, we started playing live shows. Since the EP was only six songs we had to add some material from each of Dan and my prior songwriting repertoire. From then it was inevitable that we would make an album of originals.

R:  In twenty years a young band wants to cover one of your songs.  Which song do you hope they choose and why?

A:  I want to say “It’s Just” or “Soft Brown Heart”, these two are extra close to me, personally. But, as I will not be the young band member in 20 years… Whomever decided to cover one of our songs, I hope they choose whichever song(s) they connect to the most and that they make it their own.

R:  If you couldn’t be a musician, what would you want to be instead?

A:  I will never not be a musician! But if I had to have a side gig, which I do, it would be making art. I’m a collagist of objects and images.

R:  Best source of inspiration when you need to write a song? Do you use personal experiences or do you use what you see going on around you?

A:  I draw mostly from personal experience, which is sometimes outside actions happening around me, observing them and then trying to understand all the sides of what’s going on. A lot of the songs that I write are about understanding how people talk to and act towards each other. It’s hard to explain one’s self and actions perfectly all the time, where everyone’s coming from emotionally or physically. I struggle with it a lot, on both the understanding and acting side.

R:  How do you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard you before?  

A:  I keep getting asked this and then I say, “ummm… it’s indie pop rock?” But I’ll let you listen and choose your own words.

R:  What is the biggest hope you have for your music?

A:  My biggest hope is that music will be able to support me and keep me happy till the end of time. If it doesn’t do that then I just may have to find something new. But, it hasn’t failed me yet and I don’t intend on letting it, so watch out world! Ray & Remora & Amanda & Glen are coming for you!

Willow Steps

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins
willow-stepsA little longer than a minute ago, I wrote a review for a band called Dear Indugu.  I didn’t remember right away what they sounded like, but I remembered that their music had affected me.  That almost goes without saying; I generally won’t write a review unless there’s a significant take away.  Regardless, the impact was enough for me to agree to write a review for Jesse’s new adventure:  Willow Steps, music unheard.  Seriously, that rarely, if ever, happens because what if I hate it?  It’s difficult to stay true to Relate’s mission statement, “inspiring teen girls” if I don’t have positive things to say and something of quality to write about.  I mean, right?

The overall sound caught me a little bit by surprise.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t acoustic folk.  Even though that’s exactly the way Jesse described it…it wasn’t what I imagined it would be.  But really, it was better than I could have hoped for. I love a girl and a guy’s voice blending together. It is always such perfection, and I think it’s always such an underused and under appreciated element in today’s music scene.

Now, for the lyrics.  The first song, “Lovers Recipe” is pretty great. I adore the nod at the baggage and brokenness we bring to every relationship.  I agree that no matter how we try to move away from our past, it changes who we are, no matter how minutely, and we bring that to each new partnership that we try to create.  What a great song.  And as the previous band’s musings did before this one, I put this one in my pocket to ponder and consider from various angles and, honestly, these really are my favorite type of songs.

With the second and third, song, though, I felt myself getting a little annoyed that I had so eagerly agreed to write a review.  I considered, several times as the lyrics unveiled themselves to me, of saying nope, nevermind, can’t do it.  Even though I hate backing out of anything.  But there are all these sexual innuendos.  And, wait a minute, is that a drug reference or two…or three?  I can’t condone these things.  They only lead to bad places.

There’s that moment of wanting to turn it off.  Of wanting to hit the rewind button, even if it means an “I changed my mind” email.  To be fair, I don’t.  I don’t quit things.  And certainly, there’s got to be something positive, even if it’s covered by negative.  I just have to work harder than normal to unearth it.

And then the last song plays, and I find that I don’t have to work for it at all.  “A Truth” is the type of song I pray bands would write.  There’s a lot of speculating, a lot of wondering, a lot of pondering.  But then there’s lyrics like “From an airplane window/Looking out on the world/A canvas for some creator”… “Because we all pretend there’s no meaning/Well, there’s meaning.”  There is a conclusion made here with the simple, yet beautiful and profound lyric “I believe in a truth too big to see/Look in any direction/And you’re staring at infinity.”  The song evolves from wondering to a proclamation, and I’m running around with my arms in the air screaming “Yes, yes, that’s what I’m talking about!”  

This song is the face of bravery.

I am reminded as I listen again and again, how much more “A Truth” means because of the songs that precede it.  Rarely, if ever, are we born with faith.  And if we have to meander through darkness, through treacherously rough terrain including drugs and promiscuity and awful choices, how much more profound the light must be once we find it.  I am reminded God can create something positive from even the worst circumstances, and that even though bad choices lead to bad places, that doesn’t mean we have to stay there.  The take away here for me is to never, ever give up on anything or anyone.  How impressive it will be if other listeners can walk away with the same hope.

For more information, please visit www.WillowSteps.com

Hollis Creek Revival: In the River

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins
hollis creek revivalI was drawn to Hollis Creek Revival immediately; ten seconds into my first listen of  “Wildfire,” I knew this was a band that I wanted in my daily musical rotation.  A somewhat tamer version of Needtobreathe, they are in that same southern rock, earthy, organic vein.  This is music I can’t get enough of.  And while they sound great, even more importantly, their lyrics are treasures; morsels of truth that both comfort me and inspire me to live closer to Him.

Their press release explains that the band recorded In the River with the intent for the first half of the album to have a more modern feel while the later half to have a “more vintage, retro” sound.  Overall all, the record is cohesive, and there isn’t necessarily a fine line where they flipped a switch from one approach to the other.  At least, that wasn’t audible to my ears, anyway.  But what I did notice is the first half of the album has a general, upbeat motivational perspective, like a bird’s eye view of the world, and the second half has more of an introspective and personal feel to the songs.  It has a “hey, world, this is who we are as a band and how we feel” introduction to a “and, hey, by the way, since you are still listening, this is WHY we feel the way we do.”  It’s pretty ingenious, actually.  They’re so forthcoming, and I feel like I could be friends with these guys since we have so much in common.  I adore that transparency.

“Wildfire” is brilliant.  Both the song and the video are both so seriously good.  Anyone who has a smidgeon of wanderlust will love the song; anyone with a call to missions will understand the embers they speak of.  While understanding this earth is not our true home, God reveals himself in the sunrises and the sunsets, the majesty of a waterfall, the constancy and power of ocean waves.  He’s everywhere.  Anyone who says miracles don’t exist anymore hasn’t taken time to wonder at the complexity of butterfly’s wings, the act of breathing… But once that perspective of amazement has been adopted, it’s just so overwhelming; the desire to get out, see more, to share more, to tell others!  This song tells of that passion.

“Home” and “Violin” stand out to me as well.  They’re both slower songs, one near the beginning and one near the end of the album, but they tell stories in the great way that timeless songs often do.  “Home” is not what you might expect-it’s about being in the presence of heroes and ancestors and legends who set a precedent, and without them, your life would look completely different.  The name Hollis was the name of the lead singer’s grandfather, and this song is another bow at reverence for lineage that made an impact.  “Violin” tells the power of music and the bonds it can create.

Whether it is learning trust over time and realizing God is never late (“You’re Right on Time”), learning to let the pain go by turning burdens over to Him (“Weightless Yesterday”), or realizing God is always waiting for us to seek Him (“Like Brand New”), Hollis Creek Revival use their gifts to create an album that brings both comfort and inspiration.  The last song, the hymn “What a Day That Will Be,” reminds us of the bigger picture…getting to heaven, but all the other songs do an amazing job of encouraging us find joy in this life by remaining connected to the truth.  With that as our focus, there is no reason we should let not live our lives like a “Wildfire.”

For more information, please visit:  www.holliscreekrevival.com.

 

Kina Grannis:  100 Days in Jakarta

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

KinaWhile I haven’t written a review for Kina since 2011, I’ve remained a fan; following her on Facebook where I appreciate her love for animals, and loving every time a song from Stairwells shines a bright light in what might otherwise be a cloudy day.  I concluded the one review I wrote for her by cautioning to “not just dismiss her as a pleasant voice.”  And I still stand by that.  Her lyrics and her kind, happy spirit will still stop me in the midst of whatever I am doing.  She can break me free from a melancholy mood with one syllable, and I am always grateful for those kinds of artists.

So I was saddened to see that she’s been though a tribulation of sorts: while embarking on a tour in Indonesia, she completed one performance and then was detained, facing possible imprisonment for not having the proper work permits.  For 100 days, she did not know what was going to happen to her or her band mates.  They faced an uncertain and undecided future with frustrations I can not even imagine while away from her loved ones, her country, and her dreams.

She wrote two songs in the midst of the storm;  “California” and “For Now.”  “For Now” is about finding contentment in the now.  “California,” however, is my favorite.  I love the longing in her lyrics and her voice, and I understand the yearning to go home.  She takes what can be painful to the soul, wraps it in a precious melody, and makes it beautiful.

If you feel adventurous enough to read of her experiences, go to www.kinagrannis.com.  The backstory provides a perspective for the songs she penned in the midst of her tribulation, but it doesn’t validate them; they have poignancy and relevance standing on their own.  I would, however, encourage you to read the backstory simply to understand the importance of her list of the twenty five lessons she learned throughout the experience.

My favorites are:

Lesson 1-“If you’re breathing, you have something to be grateful for.  Gratitude is the key to everything.”

Lesson 11-“Getting to exist at all is something to be grateful for, and being alive is the greatest adventure.”

Lesson 25-“You have to choose happiness.  Every day.  Over and over again.  Don’t wait for it to find you.”

I knew before that I love her music, but now I am certain that I adore her.  Because her life lessons are spot on.  We all face struggles and difficult circumstances, but with perspective like this in tact, the days become less of something we simply try to get through and become a life celebrated and a life lived well.  We only get one to journey through, and since we can’t always chose our conditions, we can at least choose happiness.

Please visit her website and download “California” and “For Now” today.  You can thank me later.

Jordy Searcy: Seasons

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

jordyWhen I googled Jordy, his Youtube channel was the first to pop up.  I had already been listening to his EP and was more interested in information about him, so I didn’t click on it, but the description made me stop for a second:  “a singer-songwriter and a cover artist with a great passion for songs sung honestly.”  I wonder how many times I’ve read similar descriptions about other artists…I guess the saying “if I had a dollar for every time…” fits perfectly here.  But, rarely, I think, is it ever more true than with Jordy.  At twenty, Jordy knows more about who he is and what he wants than most forty year olds that I know.  After listening to only four songs, I know without a shadow of a doubt that if a producer/manager/whoever asked him to sing a song that went against who he is or what he believes, Jordy would say no, no matter the risk.  I have crazy,  mad, immeasurable respect for that.

So how did I come to that conclusion?

Jordy begins Seasons with the song “Don’t Talk to Me.” As the most upbeat song on the EP, it reveals two things about him:  Jordy likes lyrics (lots and lots of words!), and when he recognizes he has a weakness, he knows it’s best to just stay away.  The song is playful, but he isn’t kidding; he’s telling the girl who tore his heart in two that she has to stay away so he can move on.  Favorite lyric:  “Don’t try to drink me dry/And get what you won’t keep.”

“Birdie” is my personal favorite, although out of a solid four songs to chose from, this wins by only a hair.  This one is all about encouraging someone to go for their dreams. What I love best is the encouragement comes at a personal cost; sometimes watching someone else’s dreams come true comes at the cost of letting go of personal feelings.  That’s true love.  Favorite lyric(s): “She’s not perfect/She knows that’s alright” and “Fear is a fable that ties you down/And no one will have wings like you now.”

“Seasons” is a masterpiece for two reasons; the song is poetry, and it perfectly captures all that is true and pure about a love that lasts a lifetime.  Set in contrast to the following track “Real Love,” Jordy crushes all that popular culture romanticizes and holds up an ideal worth fighting for.  While the song goes through the four seasons, I love the visions of what a marriage may like through the course of fifty plus years.  The song is flawless in itself, but the fact that someone so young wrote it makes it all that much more exhilarating.  You have to listen to this one; whether the acoustic or regular track, it doesn’t matter.  Favorite lyric:  To isolate any of them would not do justice to the song; it takes all of them to create the beauty of this track.

Jordy restored a lot of faith in humanity for me with these songs.  It’s so incredibly refreshing to me to discover young artists who still seek what is pure and beautiful and what may be difficult yet incredibly rewarding over what is easy and instant and fleeting.  I love him for his talent-he has heaps to boast about, and to me, he sounds very similar to Kris Allen, another musical hero of mine. And I pray that his talent takes him amazingly far; the world will be a far lovelier place if more songs like these touch people’s souls.  But, really, and I don’t say this lightly, his beautiful heart is an even more precious commodity.  Seasons proves he is much better than just another singer songwriter in a world overflowing with good musicians.

Sister Singers to Keep an Eye On

Written By: Jill Sheets

cimI would love to talk about a couple of new musicians that I have come across. Both of these groups are made up of talented sisters!

The first one is Cimorelli. This talented sister group is made up of six sisters: Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren, and Dani. I first found this singer-songwriter band on Youtube.  Not only do they sing covers, but also original music. This fun loving sister group is a role model to all. I was blessed to met them at a concert and the way they treated their fans was amazing.  They really appreciate their fans. They are working on a new album “Up At Night, which I hope will be available soon.  But, you can pre-order it.

They are going to make it far.

Here are a few of their songs that are on you tube:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FktDDKNrWjk (original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DcuV_GtVak (original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGZq9QdEMOA (original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UDknCNL8aI (original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5Il2Mx1Wrw (cover)

 

no Frills TwinsThe No Frills Twins, Vanessa & Arna Rogers, are the next up and coming singers that I noticed.  These unique twin sisters from Australia caught my attention by how they dressed.  I love their fashion sense, but unfortunately I could not pull it off!  The first song that I heard from them was “God Bless the Internet.” I found the song catchy and could not help play it every chance I had!  Their next release was “Dying to be Thin” and I think that this song has a wonderful message for everyone.

 

Here are some of their videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9VSml19h80 (Original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpNDxhWRr9s (Original)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89pWfow2ycM (original)

Zeke Duhon: Zeke

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins
zekeduhonThe lyrics “You want to move at the speed of light/I’ve got somewhere to be tonight” open Zeke’s song “Gravity” and his six song EP.  And that it is all it takes; in less than six seconds I am absolutely in love with his voice and his charm.  Zeke sounds instantly familiar, but I’m demanding to know why my iPod isn’t chock-full of music like this.  He stands out yet he fits in; I swear I’ve heard “Gravity” a million times in my life, but every time I listen, I love it as much as I did the fist time I’ve heard it.  It is absolutely inexplicable, which creates quite the conundrum because it’s my responsibility to explain, and I can’t. I just know that I am beyond smitten with this release.

“Faith and Hope,” the first single, and “Always is Now” are my two favorite songs to listen to, but all six tracks are incredibly solid.  While “Gravity” and “Best Mistake” help him fit in with the crowd (besides his exceptional musical talents and songwriting skills, Zeke seems pretty normal-these songs prove it, but more on that later), “Faith and Hope” makes him stand apart.  He does a fantastic job of pointing out the ironies of the world and begs to have “something I can believe in.” It is that searching and wanting that gives me hope simply because he isn’t looking inward and believing the only thing he has to believe in is himself.  Also, that guitar solo.  It’s solos like that that make me love music more than poetry; the instrument conveys all his confusion and all his searching and all his longing…it could have been the entire song, and I would have understood it all; he wouldn’t have had to sing a single lyric.  And, if I needed another reason to adore this song, and I didn’t, but he gives it anyway, he asks “what is hope without faith?”  Think about that, will you?  The song lingers, as it should; I can only pray it spawns more than thoughts.

“Always is Now” is kind of depressing.  It focuses on the now.  And loving with all intensity and purpose and focus in the immediate moment.  It’s about not thinking about tomorrow because that isn’t promised to us.  It’s a pretty intense song, and I say it’s depressing only because I wonder what had to have been lost before this song could be birthed. While it may be a warning to us who haven’t experienced something incredibly painful, it’s songs like these that are more meaningful once that hurt has been felt.  I love the maturity of this song.  I adore its intentions.

So, back to “Gravity” and “Best Mistake.”  These are songs about relationships; about realizing feelings aren’t always mutual or even-matched and needing to flee. Or about knowing something isn’t good for you and wanting it anyway.  I call them “normal” only because we’ve all been there, that confusing space of hearing both the heart and the head and ignoring reason. Ironically, these songs are like gravity to me; I love listening to them even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of the lyrics.

These songs stick with you.  Instantly.  They’re embedded in your head for all time, I promise, and it only takes one listen.  This isn’t a bad thing, especially when the songs travel to your heart where they belong.  Because it is there that the lasting impressions can do some good (“Faith and Hope,” I’m looking at you).  Zeke may be a newcomer, but he’s like an old friend, and it’s just a matter of time that his talent makes him a friend everyone knows.

For more information, please visit www.zekeduhon.com, and be sure to download a copy of his ep today.