All posts filed under: Music

Jordan Smith, 2015 The Voice winner, provides a key to success

You may remember Jordan Smith, he was the believer that won Season 9 of The Voice in 2015. Raised in a Christian home of pastor parents, Jordan who also served as the church’s worship leader, attended Lee University a private Christian university based in Cleveland, Tennessee. It is interesting to note, that his success was due in part to perseverance, because he had previously auditioned for the show and been rejected. But he was accepted the second time and his first song, Chandelier, resulted in a four chair turn by the coaches that resulted in Jordan choosing Adam Levine as coach. During Season 9, he was the first artist from The Voice to top the iTunes pop chart when his song Great is Thy Faithfulness pushed ahead of Adele’s Hello to the number one spot. The song also placed number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on Billboard’s Christian Song chart. His semi-final rendition of Queen’s Somebody to Love would once again send Adele’s Hello to second place on iTunes. Amazingly, it …

Be blessed by ‘The Blessing’

While under lockdown, Christian singers and musicians in the privacy of their homes, joined together to create collaborations from their respective countries. Below are a few of them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”  ‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:22-26‬ ‭NIV From Zimbabwe (377,000 views). I was really impacted by the first person who spoke: From Latin America (3.4 million views). Both our kids were adopted from Latin America, and I Love the Latin American culture: From Singapore (175,000 views). I don’t know why, but Singapore is one of those countries (actually a city state), that I have always wanted to visit: From Ireland (419,000 views). I love the Irish music theme and my mom is Irish. Welcome to the Emerald Isle: From the UK (3.1 million views). My dad’s grandparents are from the Shetland Island off the Scottish coast: From Canada (353,000 views). I am from Canada, and though I did not recognize …

Brooke Simpson Blind audition Credit: Youtube Caputer/The Voice

Church youth leader wows ‘The Voice’

It was a four-chair turn for church youth leader Brooke Simpson on ‘The Voice’ as she sang a song by Demi Lovato called Stone Cold. Entering is sixteenth season, the winner of ‘The Voice’ receive $100,000 and a recording deal. Simpson is a graduate of Lee University, a Church of God University based in Cleveland Indiana. She works for Potential church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this year, Brooke said that she and her husband Ray started a program called ‘Youth in Revolt’ encouraging youth to live as rebels for God in a society that is increasing becoming anti-Christian. Before she was done all four coaches were standing applauding her performance. Pop Singer Miley Cyrus said “You know you’re good because I am a little speechless and that never happens.” Adam Levine called her “one in a million.” I find it more than a coincidence that Simpson is following in the footsteps of another Lee graduate Jordan Smith who won ‘The Voice’ in 2016. All four judges turned their chairs …

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart

10-year-old autistic girl sings Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ with a Christmas twist

A 10-year-old autistic girl from Northern Ireland is wowing social media with her Youtube version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen, a Canadian song writer and singer, died on November 7, 2016 at age 82. Kayleigh Rogers attends Killard House school in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. The school has 200 students from ages three to 16. In the song, that has since gone viral on Facebook with over 1 million views, Kayleigh leads the school’s choir in a moving rendition of the international hit. Since it was part of the Killard House’s Christmas program, the school changed the words to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Kayleigh started school at age 7 and not only struggles with autism but ADHD as well. Though of moderate severity, they have resulted in “learning delays” for Kayleigh. In an interview with BBC, the school’s principal Colin Miller said Kaylee is normally a very shy girl, but when she begins to sing, she shines. Miller told Belfast Live: “She may only be a child but she has an amazing tone …

The Singing Contractors: Facebook

‘The Singing Contractors’ unexpected climb to fame

Two general contractors working in and around Indianapolis, Indiana have taken social media by storm, not by displaying teaching videos on contracting techniques, but by singing. Aaron Gray, 39 and Josh Arnett, 40, have been friends since childhood. Today, they work as contractors — pounding a hammer. Living about an hour apart outside Indianapolis, they often work together on projects. Initially they started out singing together while they worked, but at one point they decided to record the songs on their phones. All their songs are ‘a cappella’ but often have a cathedral type sound as they sing in empty homes. Both Arnett and Gray come from Christian homes, but neither of them had sang professionally. The turning point came last year when pastor Paul Biggar joined them in singing “How Great Thou Art.” They sang it in three-part harmony in the basement of a home they were working on. They shared it on Facebook and within a few weeks the video was viewed 19 million times. Because of their almost instantaneous climb to fame, …

Lee University choral group wows Delta flight with an impromptu hymn

A choral group from Lee University were recently on a Delta flight and entertained the people with an amazing rendition of “I Love you Lord.” As the jet waited on the tarmac, hearing they were a choir, a flight attendant asked them to sing a song. The group that was heading on a mission trip to the British Virgin Islands gladly agreed. A person captured the song on video and posted to a Facebook page for the university’s choirs. Lee University started in 1918 as a Bible school with 12 students and one teacher. Today, it is a liberal arts college with nearly 5,000 students and a 120 acre campus. Based in Cleveland, TN, it is operated by the Church of God and is famous for its music program that includes a number of singing groups. The video that is now going viral has sparked many comments. One of my favorites speaks of the storied history of the school. It was written by a man who now pastors a Church of God  in Chesapeake, Virginia: Rodney Vickers: That’s my old choir. To think, I’m old enough to …

Audrey Assad’s haunting song of martyrdom

You have to read the story behind this song, Even Unto Death, just released by Christian singer Audrey Assad. It is part of her new album, Inheritance, scheduled for release on February 12. She wrote this song after watching the martyrdom of 21 Egyptian Christian men on the shores of the Mediterranean by the Muslim extremist group ISIS. In the video, ISIS led the 21 men, dressed in orange, to the beach where they were beheaded simply because they believed in Jesus. To live, all these Coptic Christians had to do to was renounce their faith in Christ. Audrey wrote: “You must remember that night, months ago, when I saw the video of those 21 precious Egyptian men kneeling on a Mediterranean beach. I stared at the procession … I knew that I was looking into the sickening, quaking black hole that is death. The captives prayed, their lips moving silently, their eyes closed or raised to the heavens. What were they whispering, in those last, fast-fading moments of their lives? Were they afraid? What …

Thiago Brado: YouTube Capture

New Brazilian worship song “Minha Essência” (My Essence)

I encourage you to listen to this video by Thiago Brado, a worship singer from Brazil.  The song sung in Portuguese, entitled My Essence in English, has nearly 4.3 million views on YouTube. Thiago, 25, whose real name is Thiago Oliveira da Silva started singing at the age of 10. At 14, he attended a musical conservatory for further training after his grandmother gave him a guitar. Three years later in 2007, Thiago encountered the Holy Spirit at a Catholic Charismatic meeting in Brazil that transformed his life. He has been attending ever since. During these gatherings his attention was drawn to worship and today Thiago says: “I sing what the Lord wants me to sing.” Several years back, my wife and I met a young couple involved in the Catholic Charismatic movement in Peru. I was genuinely impressed with their faith. We spent an evening with them and our discussion eventually turned to doctrine. Ok I confess, I asked them their views on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though they were still Catholic in …

Another Christian on ‘The Voice?’

Shy, unassuming Korin Bukowski was in battle with Mark Hood on The Voice tonight (November 17, 2015) for the last spot in the show’s Top 11. She and Mark had finished last in the audience voting and were forced in to a sing off where the viewing audience would vote live using Twitter. Mark sang an energetic version of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” After he was finished, I thought Korin was in tough to move on. But her haunting version of “Don’t Know Why” clearly impressed the judges. Korin was still in the running. After counting the Twitter votes, Korin was declared the winner. Korin is pre-med student and during blind audition only one judge, Gwen, turned around to choose Korin to be part of a team. During the discussion after her initial tryout, judge Adam Levine said to Korin “You are so cool” and immediately Korin blurted out laughing “I’m not cool.” Of all the contestants, Korin seems to be the most awkward and lacking confidence. After tonight’s sing off, both Mark and Korin …

Jordan Smith stuns ‘The Voice’ with “Great is thy Faithfulness”

Jordan Smith is among the Top 12 on this year’s The Voice. Last night playing at the piano, Jordan stirred the audience with his rendition of “Great is thy Faithfulness.” It not only affected the crowd but even the judges were awed by his performance. Blake Shelton said: “Man, Jordan, you know, coming off the weekend, the horrible things that happened over in Paris, and just having a heavy heart over the last few days, thank you for that. That was beautiful.” Jordan’s coach on The Voice, Adam Levine added: “Sometimes, there’s so much about the world that can be so confusing and sad. Then you come along, and make us feel there’s a lot of hope.” The judges were not the only people moved by Jordan’s performance. Once the video was posted to YouTube, Kimiki Wolf commented: “Jordan Smith sang his song so well that I almost converted.” Jordan is a Christian and attended Lee University, a Liberal arts college operated by the Church of God. Based in Cleveland, Tennessee, Lee University is renowned …

2008 American Idol contestants singing “Shout to the Lord”

Next season will be the last year for American Idol. It started airing on June 11, 2002, and over the years has discovered some incredible talent. In 2008, the Final 8 of American Idol wanted to sing a Christian song in their finale. They chose — “Shout to the Lord” — one of my favorites. I am not sure who was behind the choice of this song, but the group did a tremendous job. Though I did notice that the blonde girl, third from the left, seemed she was going to raise her hand in praise at the 1:15 mark, but then pulled it down when she realized what she was doing. I hope you enjoy it.

Haunting 800-year old Icelandic Hymn

[by Dean Smith] The 800-year old Icelandic Hymn “Heyr himna smiður” sung as the back drop on the opening credits for a documentary on the 1973 volcanic eruption on Iceland. Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) wrote the words to the hymn. A devout Christian, he spoke about hope in times of hunger, sickness and fear. The music was written by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013). Kolbeinn was a powerful chieftain or goði on the island in the 12th century. He reportedly wrote this poem on his death-bed after he was injured during a battle. Part of the hymn includes a plea for healing, perhaps his own. The words in English are:

American marines singing “Days of Elijah”

Days of Elijah, based on Psalm 91, is one of my favorite worship songs. When I came across it being sung by a group of American marines, I had to post it. It involves marines based at Camp Pendleton in California. The video was posted by Merrie Pardee Baldwin to her Facebook page. Merrie attends Arbor Christian Fellowship in Lake Forest, California. She and her husband Jim volunteer every second Sunday for worship services at Camp Pendleton. The video was taken during the service held Sunday, September 14, 2014. In an interview with Christian Post, Merrie said:

Spontaneous praise at the Atlanta airport

Members of Harmony Hill Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas were on a return leg of their trip from a pastor’s restoration conference in South Carolina. They had a three-hour hold over in Atlanta before their flight to Shreveport. Included in the group were members of the Classic Worship Praise of East Texas. As they were waiting, a lady sitting nearby asked the group: “What do y’all do?”

Oceans by Hillsong United

Hillsong United is a music-ministry of Hillsong, a church based in Sydney, Australia. The mega church considers itself a multi-site church — one church that meets in different locations throughout the city. It has four other locations and 9 extension services around Sydney. There are about 30,000 people attending the church at its various locations. Hillsong started in 1983 under Brian and Bobbie Houston, who moved to Sydney from New Zealand. Hillsong has expanded from its Sydney base and now has churches around the world including Copenhagen, Kiev, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Paris and Barcelona. In the video, Hillsong United sing their popular song “Oceans” for Relevant Magazine. Relevant Magazine describes itself as “twenty- and thirtysomething” group of Christians reaching out to “twenty- and thirtysomething” people. The ministry which started in 2002 has an outreach to about 2.3 million people monthly through its various media platforms — print and online.

Second Chapter of Acts: The “Easter Song”

“The angel up on the tombstone said He has risen just as He said. Quickly now go tell the disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead.” Second Chapter of Acts is one of my favorite Gospel groups. They were prominent during the 70s and 80s. They had a unique style that set them apart from many groups at the time. There is not a lot of archival video footage of the band, so I was delighted when I came across video of live concert in California from 1987. The “Easter Song” is one of my favorites by the band. The group, which disbanded in 1988, is composed of two sisters Annie Herring and Nellie Greisen and brother Mathew Ward. I wrote a previous article on the group, which you can read here if you are interested in a bit of their history.

Wess Morgan sings “You Paid it All”

Wess Morgan is a relatively unknown gospel singer. He serves as both worship leader and an associate pastor at Celebration of Life Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His parents Joseph and Yolanda Morgan pastor the church. As a boy, John Wesley (Wess) Morgan traveled with his parents and two siblings in their singing ministry across the U.S.. However, things began to derail for Wess. He became involved in drugs and alcohol, discovering cocaine at age 15. He ended up in juvenile detention after police charged Wess with armed robbery at age 17 and was again jailed for threatening people with an axe.

Irish priest surprises couple at their wedding with a personal rendition of ‘Hallelujah’

Father Ray Kelly was marrying Chris and Leah O’Kane at the Roman Catholic church he pastors in Oldcastle, Meath Ireland. Half way through the ceremony, Father Kelly had a surprise for the couple and began to sing a hit song by Leonard Cohen called “Hallelujah.” He changed the words to sing about their marriage. The first line of the song was: “We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together.”

Keith Green — Asleep in the Night

Keith Green (1953-1982) and his wife Melody were products of the Jesus People movement as the Holy Spirit swept through the Hippie generation during the late 60s and early 70s. Keith and his wife, both Jews, were radically transformed by the Gospel of Christ in 1975, 18 months after their marriage on Christmas Day in 1973. Keith was one of the most radical Christians I knew at the time — he and his wife were totally sold out to the Kingdom of God.