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  • Writer's pictureHilltop UMC

Music Monday

By Hannah Sweet

Recently I have become aware of the growing number of secular artists who have put out worship songs, and no I'm not talking about releasing a holiday album with religious Christmas songs. I am talking about songs that display a powerful, and often times personal, testimony from the recording artist directly. Sometimes I am surprised when a secular artist comes forth as a fellow follower of Jesus, but I shouldn't be. I too enjoy secular entertainment and do not limit my writing to that of a religious nature. Today on Music Monday we will be looking at three different artists, from three different walks of life and the worship songs each has released.

Up first let's take a look at Selena Gomez's song "Nobody". The track is included on her 2015 deluxe addition of her Revival CD. She performed the song at an event at hosted by her church. When asked about the song she had this to say:

" ‘Nobody’ is written about my faith, my connection with God. Anyone can interpret that however they want. It’s a beautiful record, but that was my intention when I wrote the song. No human being can love you the way that your higher power can, and I think it’s beautiful. You have to love yourself. You have to find that within your heart and that’s when I was able to discover myself."

The next artist we will look at in our secular worship series is Chance the Rapper. Now I know that you may be reading this blog and thinking that you already know exactly what rap music is; low slung pants, thug mentality, trash music. You'd be wrong. There are all sorts of artists who make music within the specific genre that is "rap" and one of those artists is Chance the Rapper whose faith plays a strong part in the music he makes. The influence of God within his work is woven throughout his entire album, Coloring Book. In fact the influence of God is so great in his work that Chance feared that it would turn people off from hearing his music and was quoted in an interview with Teen Vogue as saying: "One of my biggest fears with 'Coloring Book' was that it would be labeled. I hate labels. I never sought out for people to recognize it as a gospel album. I don’t make Christian rap, but I am a Christian rapper. When I was going out and trying to fully give glory to God, in my setting, I feared that people would be dismissive of it, like, 'This is Christian rap, I’m not trying to hear it.'"

His fear was unfounded as his album, Coloring Book, went on to win a Grammy for best rap album in 2017. Chance even performed his re-imagined version of the classic worship song "How Great is our God" with a full gospel choir at the event. Just imagine how many people were introduced to God through his inspiring words and creative renditions.

Lastly, I want to highlight Avril Lavigne's newest song "Head Above Water." The track will be included on her 6th studio release later this year. Now I personally connect with this track. I grew up listening to Avril Lavigne's music, she isn't too much older than I am and so her music has always reflected the bulk of the feelings I was having. This track, though very personal for her, made me feel like we had come into our relationships with the Lord at the same time. I felt a kinship with her the first time I heard this track. Sometimes your journey with the Lord isn't on a smoothly paved road. Sometimes there are unforeseen bumps, like Avril's battle with Lyme disease. One night that she felt she was dying, being pulled under and asked the Lord to keep her head above water. That prayer lead to the lyrics of her first song in five years, "Head Above Water." The lyrics she came up with are a prayer in and of itself, one that I personally can relate to. I will play this song on a loop as I meditate with God. Take a listen below and I encourage you to put the track on repeat, especially when you feel like you're drowning in life.

If you have any suggestions for our Music Mondays please leave them in the comments below! Hopefully these tracks will carry you through the week!!

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