Photo caption: Eliot Sloan of Blessid Union of Souls
By Andy Argyrakis, senior editor, www.watchgmctv.com
By this point in January, many New Year’s resolutions have likely been broken, though that doesn’t mean a series of fresh starts can’t still be right around the corner. After all, for those of faith, every day is indeed a chance to begin again, and as several artists told www.watchgmctv.com, it often takes a little time to truly turn over a new leaf. So sit back, relax, and have a note pad ready to go as several top musicians (plus a handful of up-and-comers) share tidbits about what they’re currently pledging, the best advice they’ve ever received, how you can chart a new destiny, and above all, why keeping God at the center of any goal is so essential.
What would you tell someone who’s trying to start fresh in life?
"Think big and act small. I think sometimes we think we need a stage or a pulpit or a platform of some kind in order to make a real difference in this world. To me, we’re missing the trees for the forest. Find something you’re passionate about, which is 75 percent of the journey, and then find a way to act on that passion in your immediate surroundings. I think we spend a lot of time looking out at how to tackle the big bad world out there and forget to see the people and opportunities right in front of us.” –Bebo Norman
“Forgive yourself. Remember that if you ask God for forgiveness, He gives it to you so it's OK to forgive yourself.” –Eliot Sloan, lead singer of Blessid Union of Souls
“I suggest that we really silence everything else in our lives that is distracting us and start pursuing Christ like we never have before. I mean abandon everything thing you think you know and ask God to reveal Himself to you. Start reading His words, start praying and talk to Him about everything.” –Sam Hancock, lead singer and guitarist of Luminate
“Be intentional – if you are starting over, know God has a plan and a future for you.” –Aaron Gillespie
“Learning is always important, no matter how far up on the knowledge ladder you’ve come. Establishing yourself as a constant student is the one thing that will set you apart from the crowd.” –Callann Lane
“Pacing yourself is an important lesson that I am still learning. Don't burn yourself out. You can't ‘get there’ over night. It takes years of hard work. This is real important in ministry because your work never stops.” –Jason Crabb
“Learn from the past, so not to repeat it. Live every day to the fullest and surround yourself with people you respect.” –Josh Engler, lead singer of Abandon
“Don't ever do anything with half of your heart. Give it all you have. Don't carry your baggage from one place of life into the next. Look at your life with an honest scale, accept your part of the responsibility, forgive when necessary and move forward remembering only the good character that has come from your experiences.” –Sheri Easter, co-lead singer of Jeff & Sheri Easter
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
"If you fail...get up and keep going.” –Greg X. Volz, lead singer of Classic Petra
“Life is short. Don't ever settle for mediocrity. Live your dreams! Reach for the stars!” –Jason Dunn, lead singer of Hawk Nelson
“My piano teacher sat me down when I was about 11 and gave me a talking to about not getting a big head...you know, not having an ego. That's something that has stuck with me. My dad always challenged me to love the people who I sing for. I think not taking myself too seriously helps me to focus on and love others more!” –Yancy
“Smile.” –Sheri Easter
“Our neighbor is 100 years old and was married for 72 years. When my wife Becca and I asked him the secret to staying married that long, he said ‘Give a little. Take a little. You can't do everything.’” –Josh Wilson
“I was once told ‘you haven't failed until you've quit,’ and that has stuck with me forever. That phrase has inspired me numerous times not to give up hope and to finish what I started.” –Katelynne Cox
“Stop chasing the thought of being perfect and start chasing the One who is perfect.” –Sam Hancock
“Keep going even when it's terrible.” –Aaron Gillespie
“Sin will take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you were willing to pay.” –Ben Richter, lead singer of The Museum.
What are you pledging for 2011?
“I always think it's good to challenge yourself to be better; but be realistic so that you don't set yourself up for failure. In 2008, I battled breast cancer and every day now is an opportunity to eat right, exercise and take care of my body.” –Sheri Easter
“To get back to running every day and reading through the Bible by the end of the year.” –Greg X. Volz
“All the guys in the band love to drink our fair share of Coke and Dr. Pepper, so we decided to give up all soft drinks for the month of January. I've gone a few times where I give up caffeine for 40 days. It's just always nice to know you can do it!” –Ben Richter
“My resolution for 2011 is to reconnect with old friends who I've lost touch with over the years.” –Jason Dunn
“Every year I say, ‘I'm gonna do this better or take care of that.’ ‘Get in the gym’ is always on the list. Yeah, well, we will see how it goes this year.” –Jason Crabb
“I make a New Year's resolution every day to be better than I was yesterday. January 1st is always a good, clean slate, so to speak, but the Bible says every day is a chance for a fresh, new start.” –Eliot Sloan
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).