Editorial: If you truly believe…

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Love may still be the most popular theme for the lyrics of a song. But an increasing amount of artists use their faith as the most important subject – and their music is reaching an audience that is bigger, broader and not always religious them self. In the Eurovision preselection of The Netherlands, there’s a band with Christian roots trying to enter. Therefore it is time to take a closer look at this phenomenon.

The choice has not been made yet. But until the announcement of the 6 songs that will enter the Dutch national final, websites and fans are speculating about the entries a lot. Artists that have entered the open selection sometimes already publish their songs on the internet, in order to promote themselves before the actual start of the competition. One of those artists is the reli-rockband Till Seven, trying to enter with their song Nothing but you.

If you would look at the song text, Nothing but you seems like quite a regular love song. Most of the fans therefore probably don’t even know that last summer, Till Seven stole the show on the big Christian music festival Flevo. But their official website, www.tillseven.com , explains something about their true motivation. “Our songs deal with the emotions of daily life, to show that our brokenness cannot heal without the love of God.”

Christian music, or should I say religious music, is an upcoming trend within the world of pop music. It may have started a little bit odd with The Kelly Family in the 1980’s, but in the years after that, bands like Hillsong United and Delirious got more and more broadly accepted. These bands however still found their biggest crowd among a very certain target. They may both have sold millions of CD’s- nonbelievers from outside the United States or United Kingdom still had no idea who they were.

The current situation is even beyond that. Bands from Christian origin regularly score hits in the bigger circuits, and their song texts are usually very clear. Owl City gave a great example with songs as Fireflies and Vanilla Twilight, and the Dutch band Handsome Poets scored a big hit with the devotional lyric: “I’m blinded, show me the way”. My most recent discovery is Brooke Fraser, whose most famous song is Something in the water; but she also wrote songs titled The C.S. Lewis song and Hosea’s wife.

The Eurovision Song Contest has already been in contact with this phenomenon. In 2007 Marija Serifovic won the contest with a song titled Molitva, the Serbian word for ‘Prayer’. Three years after her, the Jewish singer Harel Ska’at directly called for God in Milim, in which he sang: “God, why have you left me with only words?”. In 2008, Azerbaijan was the country that portrayed the battle between demons and angels with Day After Day. But we can even look further back in history. Love shine a light, the winning song of 1997, is a popular song in protestant churches. A year ago it was almost included in an important Christian songbook.

Believing as a theme for songs. It has found its way in the wonderful world of pop music. And as usual, the Eurovision Song Contest has joined, if not leaded in this trend. That does not mean that religious songs always score a hit. Molitva won the contest not only for the great song text, but also because of the amazing performance of Marija Serifovic. Believing in a god will not help you any further in this competition.

But what would help: an audience truly believing the artist on stage. The song he sings, the story that is told, should be real. Tom Dice (Belgium 2010) is the best example of that. He explained the audience the doubts he had about his own career, and he received the appreciation he deserved for that. Artists who are brave enough to testify of a certain belief, could be rewarded, and that there is hope and belief for Till Seven to reach the Dutch national final.