I live in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. While I love the place, there are drawbacks. One such drawback I will focus on here, with my version of a solution.
You see, we’re a small provincial city in the 3rd world…and when it comes to concerts, of course the local population cannot afford the big names in the international music world. So what do we have to contend with? Well, if international fare is your thing, you’re gonna have to contend with 60’s, 70’s and 80’s old-timers that have had their heyday before some of us were even born. Good thing if it were The Rolling Stones or U2, but…no. You’ve seen the billboards of the usual fare we’ve had, and with the exception of Color Me Badd and All For One, I am SO not a fan (The Lettermen? Please…).
My suggestion? Event organizers take note: if you guys can get CCM artists over to Cagayan de Oro, that would be the awesomest thing ever. What’s CCM? Well, I’m not gonna tell until the end of this blog entry. Let’s just say that they’re not big-time mainstream artists, so they would likely not fetch the steep price tag. They’d also have a captured audience with many people not only here in the city, but in the Philippines as well, so for sure you’d fill up the Limketkai Atrium if ever you’d have them around. CCM…what’s that? Ah-ah-ah, I said I’m not telling yet.
What I AM gonna do, however, is make a list of THE TOP 10 CCM ACTS THAT I WISH WOULD COME TO CAGAYAN DE ORO. CCM spans many sub-genres, so this list is a mix-up of rap, rock, and soulful tunes…and I’m sure you’ll get what CCM is by the time you reach the end.
So, without further ado: CDO event organizers, if you guys can bring these CCM artists over here, you guys would rule my world!!
Without a doubt, my favorite CCM artist is Lecrae, who just snagged a Grammy a few months back for his album Gravity! He’s a very passionate, not to mention versatile, rapper, and his message is something I’d love my kids to listen to over and over again (which they do, he’s a favorite of theirs, especially my son).
The first video I’m gonna feature is the first song that I liked from Lecrae, called Don’t Waste Your Life. I also feature it because it is the best rap-a-long video of his songs. Check it out.
If you wanna see how he can kill it on the stage, here’s his performance of a medley of his songs in the recently finished Passion 2013 (the coolest conference out there). Many of my favorites are here, like the above song (Don’t Waste Your Life), Dum Dum, God is enough, and it ends with my new favorite song of his, Tell The World. Powerful lyrics, that song. Enjoy.
Oh, and turn the volume up. Way up.
Now, wouldn’t you rather have your teens listen to this rather than rap songs that are full of cusswords and talk about drugs and female body parts?
2. Britt Nicole
CCM has many wonderful female artists, but in my opinion, the current “it” girl is Britt Nicole. She’s quite young, but has been around quite a long time with three albums, Say It, The Lost Get Found, and Gold.
My family members are big fans. Her latest song in the radio, and my middle child, Mesoo's, favorite song on this list, period, is Gold, a song that proves she's CCM's queen by being the #1 song on the Weekend 22 (a CCM countdown show) for one solid month! Here’s the lyric video for your enjoyment.
Also enjoy the magnificent acoustic version of Gold (some say it's better than the original).
Britt Nicole's biggest hit to date (although Gold may soon surpass it) is All This Time (it was #1 for 7 weeks), which was about a traumatic event in her childhood. I love her acoustic version of it, which I feature below.
I used to have a love/hate relationship with TobyMac’s work; but this past year, he really got on my good side. I love his reinvention of his style of music and I now consider him one of my favorites. He’s a lot of people’s favorite CCM artist, too. His song Me Without You (which I feature below) was number one on the Weekend 22 like, forever; and he recently snagged a Grammy as well.
His more current hit is Steal My Show. It’s a great song, too...with a great message about something that many of us Christians struggle with (even more than our struggle with sin). That love/hate relationship is a thing of the past. I’m now a TobyMac fan.
Another “it” girl in CCM. Her voice is SOOOO beautiful and haunting. I always hear my neighbors sing her songs every morning, and it starts my day off on a wonderful note. The song she’s most famous for is Steady My Heart, and instead of a lyric video, I shall post the beautiful official music video here for you. The words come out clear anyway.
Here’s another song of hers, an acoustic version of We Are. If you haven’t fallen in love with her and her voice in the first video, you’d love her in this one. She is one very anointed woman, and it’s no surprise that she’s a favorite to those who also lead worship.
5. Hillsong United
If you give Hillsong United a centavo as royalty fee every time one of their songs is sung in youth ministries and even main worship, they’d be GAZILLIONAIRES by now. That’s how popular their songs are, and a concert by them would fill the Atrium up in no time. Here’s a favorite song that I hear so many times in youth ministry, Your Name High.
Another song of theirs that I won’t ever forget is Adonai. It's an older song, but it has a special place in my heart because it was popular during the time I lead the youth group of my church many years ago.
6. Chris Tomlin
Chris Tomlin is most known for the song that has been sung in churches everywhere, How Great Is Our God, but he's had several other great songs as of late.
One of my favorites from his newer songs is Whom Shall I Fear. It's has become somewhat of an anthem for me. With the challenges of life and the perils of keeping it together day by day, it feels good that "I know who goes before me / I know who stands behind / The God of angel armies is always by my side."
Here's his Passion 2013 performance of that song, sharing the stage with Kari Jobe, Dave Matthews Band, Kristan Stanfill, and others.
His other recent hit is White Flag. The white flag, as so well displayed in those old Looney Toons cartoons, means surrender. Indeed, although it's not a nice word, surrender is what we need to do: surrender the control of our lives to God.
Probably the biggest CCM hit last year is God’s Not Dead by Newsboys. It’s such a catchy tune and it became an anthem to so many people. My favorite Christian radio personality loved that song so much that he would sometimes sing along with it to the point that it sounded so comically terrible.
My all-time favorite Newsboys song is Way Beyond Myself. It was also the song that introduced me to these guys.
8. Jamie Grace
Other than Britt Nicole, my daughter’s favorite CCM female artist is Jamie Grace, and she is really popular among the young teen girls of JZone. With good reason, too. Her songs are catchy, and the message is simple yet it expresses the deep trust that the singer has for God.
One of her most famous songs is God Girl, an anthem for Lynn and her JZone friends, and I offer that song here for you. May our daughters be God Girls.
Another favorite song of ours is You Lead. May this catchy tune speak volumes in that the best way we can truly live our lives is to have God at the forefront of it.
This group has also had a banner year last year. Their song He Said was one of my favorite songs of 2012, and it got me through some tough times. I’m so glad I got to hear that song when I did. I just love their chill-out sound so much…and the message of this particular song, focusing on a particular promise of God, spoke volumes to me.
Of all the songs on this list, this song probably ministered to me the most.
Their latest hit, which became #1 earlier this year is His Kind Of Love. It’s quite an apt song as we had Holy Week last month. Unfathomable, indeed, is His kind of love.
10. Matthew West
One of my favorite CCM artists is Matthew West. He’s a tremendous songwriter whose songs have lifted so many people out of desperation and moved them into inspiration. Although it's not his newest work, my all-time favorite song of his is More, and it’s another awesome song to listen to when you feel down in the dumps. I heard on the radio that it has stopped a girl from committing suicide, and that's because it so powerfully shows you how much you are loved.
Another hit he has is called Forgiveness. Matthew West often writes songs based on letters that he receives, therefore these songs have an awesome story behind them. Well, Forgiveness has an AMAZING, almost unbelievable, story behind it: it's based on a letter of a mom forgiving her son's killer, and the forgiveness was so total that she helps him out of jail and they become friends (WOOOOOOOOW!!!).
So, I guess by now you pretty much know what CCM means, right? It means Contemporary Christian Music, and there are many people who are big fans...fans who would be willing to pay if ever any of these guys visit Cagayan de Oro City. If you want to get a daily dose of CCM, and you live in Cagayan de Oro City, you can tune in to The New J 103.3 FM. They play CCM pretty much all day, every day.
Now, the main reason why I turned their names into links is not because I want to make a buck. I mainly did it because I'd like for you to support these guys by buying what they work so hard to produce. Why? Well, because in an age where music glorifies things that you wouldn't want your kids to imbibe (the sex-drugs-rock n' roll lifestyles of the musicians even more so), lo and behold, here we have musicians who exemplify the wholesome opposite. These guys are awesome, not just in the studio, but in their everyday lives as well: true role models, indeed.
I couldn't be happier that my kids are fans of the artists on this list (especially Lecrae, Britt Nicole, and Jamie Grace...probably in that order). Many of my students see the beautiful Kari Jobe as THE model of a worshipful heart. I hear teenagers rock out to Hillsong United every Saturday at my daughter's youth group, JZone.
It also pains me to limit this list to just ten CCM artists. There are so many other great ones, and I'm going to continue to feature them on this blog. Listen to them on 103.3 as well. Stay tuned...and truly, support these fantastic artists.
Now, if you're a CCM fan yourself, who are the artists that you like to come over to our city?
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