I went running today and I was listening to Marc Broussard and JT. I came up over the top of a hill and it hit me. I listen to secular music about 75% of the time. Why? Well, one, I like to be up on culture. But another reason is that it is just straight up better. There are so few Christian musicians today who are doing innovative things, making music that moves my soul. A handful of bands come to mind, but nothing like the bands in the secular market. I realize some may disagree with the bands I’m about to name but Imogen Heap, Sigur Ros, John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Justin Timberlake, Appleseed Cast, Ray Lamontagne, Keane, Coldplay, Bjork, Death Cab for Cutie, Talib Kweli, Common, Jurassic 5, Daughtry, Fall Out Boyetc.
Now, there are some notable Christian acts – David Crowder Band, Third Day, Switchfoot, Leeland, Further Seems Forever, Downhere, Big Daddy Weave, Future of Forestry, Relient K, Salvador, Bebo Norman, etc. But so much of the Christian music that is made today is horrible. Either horrible musically or lyrically. Where are the musicians who are able to create incredible acoustic experiences while maintaining integrity in their lyrics? Even Switchfoot and Relient K can be very shallow in their lyrical content. Chris Tomlin’s latest offerings are, in my opinion, so trite they’re unlistenable. Hillsong even gets into much triteness. There are other artists who are Christian, but you’d have no idea by listening to their albums. They’re Christian in label only.
What I’m saying is this. I know that Jesus has given gifts to kids in our generation to make rich music. Where are you? I know you’re out there. I even know a couple of you personally. Brothers and sisters, we need you. I’m serious. Please start dreaming. Catch a vision of producing music independently. Talk to ME about your vision. I will encourage and help you. If you put a vision out in front of you and believe it’s in line with God’s will, it’s going to happen. He doesn’t care what you do – except glorify His name!!! Let that sink in. He wants His glory to be seen – in creation, in Christ, in our lives. Whether that’s at Target or Citi Group or McDonald’s or wherever. Are you leveraging the gifts He’s given you to glorify Him?
If you want someone to wrestle through issues with or make plans with, talk to me. My ears and my soul long for your tunes. There are thousands just like me out there. Music is a language of our generation. You speak it. So speak. I want to go running and be compelled to listen to your music.
Listen, there are thousands of things that are vying for your attention – many of those things are good. But if you are convinced that music is the GREATEST good and you’re not moving toward it, start asking yourself why. CS Lewis, in an essay he once wrote said, “every preference of a small good to a great, or partial good to a total good, involves the loss of the small or partial good for which the sacrifice was made.” That’s a pretty tricky sentence. Here’s an example. Suppose alcohol is the small good you enjoy. You decide to make this your life’s goal (they’re called alcholics). What happens? The alcohol is no longer good. Or what happens when you rearrange all of your life for a girl/guy? Most often, without balance, that small good that we elevated ends up becoming what we loathe. We end up not liking that person. The point? Stop elevating the small good in life. There are better things for you! It means you’ll need to say no to those other activities sometimes – even though they’re good. After all, you have a craft to perfect and songs to write and theory to study and bandmates to find, if you’re to be the real deal.
BREAK OUT of the mold you’re in. BREAK OUT of the conventions. THROW DOWN normalcy. Let your life get insane. Let your heart dream. Write it down. And then email me because I want to talk to you!
As a post-script…If you’re NOT great at music, find something at which you’re great. I’ll just be straight up…the last thing we need is mediocre music. But I know there are people out there who are just hiding!