Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
‘I don’t like to listen to Christian music because it all sounds the same.’
Okay, so I’m not going to stop writing either way, but it gives me no small amount of delight to prove this statement wrong. If this is how you feel about Christian Music, please watch the below video, a song from Jalen Thomas. (Okay, so I want all of my readers to listen.)
Isn’t it refreshing just to know that there are some artists who truly want to bring us worshipful music with a unique and different sound?
Jalen’s voice reminds me of the newest king of The Voice, Jordan Smith. Some men are made to sing tenor, and Jalen is clearly one of these gents. His unique voice finds a logical fit in an alternative sound, and there is no doubt that Jalen’s work so far does not fit with your typical Contemporary Christian Music. To listen or….BUY… his first project, use this link.(Bandcamp linked, he can also be found on NoiseCloud.)
One of the traits that intrigued me when I first listened to Jalen’s album is that he does a great job of assuring that you are able to listen to the lyrics while providing some nice music. This is not always something a newer artist is able to do, so at the very least Jalen is working well with a decent producer. Jalen also is clearly very passionate about his music, and his vocals convey this very well.
As is the case with many up and coming artists, song length can be a detractor. My favorite song is the second track, ‘Beautiful & Mighty One.’ This song is just shy of 4 minutes, but it is the shortest track other than his intentionally simple tunes. I think this is just a skill that comes in time. When I was in my preaching class at Brewton-Parker College, the professor reminded us that is is harder to preach for 15 minutes than it is for 45. This is because you have to intentionally condense your message while not losing the full meaning. As Jalen develops like any artist, this should come naturally.
My other note for consideration is not a positive or negative, but rather of just putting it out there. The alternative sound he brings will take more work to build a substantial following. I think Jordan Smith again illustrates how to work with his tenor sound. Jordan did nor limit himself to one sound, but rather showed he can handle just about anything. This may be worth considering with regards to Jalen as well, and to consider occasionally employing more traditional sounds to assist in building the fan base. It would be impressive to see a Christian Musician master more than one sound, and it would be a shame if Jalen lost the unique sound in the long run.
I’ll wrap up by saying that Jalen is talented enough to get this old school CCM type listener to try and enjoy an alternative sound. He has been very kind to speak with so far, and has asked that I share his facebook and twitter links to make sure listeners can interact with him. Jalen, I am looking forward to the next project. – Timothy