Jonah, Kobe and the Vapor…

What a sombre day it has been in sports today… Two major figures in the sports memory of my teens and early 20’s of two men in particular who stood out as dominant: Kobe Bryant announced his retirement from the NBA at the end of the season and Jonah Lomu passed away and had one of the most beautiful public sendoffs you’ve ever witnessed; both had their bodies of work celebrated, and in the case of the latter, his entire life honoured.

Kobe – Baller:Interrupted

Firstly, Kobe. He is a polarizing figure to me as an ex-Laker fan. I won’t bore you with the details of why I’m not a Laker fan anymore other than to say, that during the split of Shaquille O Neal and Kobe Bryant, seeing the Laker organization pick Kobe over Shaq was a disappointment. Shaq went to the Miami Heat, and my allegiances went with him. I discovered Dwyane Wade, and the rest is history…

Before Kanye, there was Kobe – brashly confident, but always had the skills to back up his claims. 20 years after his debut in the NBA, he’s deciding to hang up the, well, “Kobe’s”. What is interesting to note was his response though as to why he was quitting the game:

kobe.jpg(courtesy Bleacher Report)

Jonah: From Southside to World

Meanwhile, within the same 24 hours, undoubtably the most famous Rugby Player ever, who grew up in the Southside of the city of Auckland where I grew up, Jonah Lomu, had his public funeral service at the “Mecca of World Rugby”, Eden Park in Auckland. I watched with millions of others across the world today as we mourned the departure of such a brooding and uniquely gifted yet humble figure in world sports.

And what a beautiful tribute it was for Jonah; to see men who I grew up watching avidly as a loyal All Blacks supporter as well as Jonah’s family and friends mourn this legendary sportsmans’ passing, it was sobering for me to think for a moment, remembering that Jonah and I are the same age.



Kobe is younger than me by 3 years. From the outside looking in, we can critique, as admittedly I have done in the past, someone who is so avidly intense in the pursuit of greatness (or coming out of the shadow of Michael Jordan), but primarily in terms of basketball. I can easily point the finger and say that what I’m living for is greater than an inflated ball, whether oval or circular, but then it’s back on me; then I must live my life out greatly to the glory of that which deserves my attention, affection and dedication. I’ve been challenged by both the careers and lives of Kobe and Jonah to remember today that this life is extremely finite, and that it’s to be lived intentionally poured out – there’s no point playing it safe knowing that it will all come to an end sooner or later.

James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Thanks Jonah and Kobe for so many years of being the worlds best, and providing such once-in-a -lifetime entertainment over the last 20+ years. Faafetai lava…

#LiveIntentionally #LiveWithEternalPerspective

Date night with wifey… Orchard Road in Singapore has such a special place in my heart. So many memories from singing to dates to divine conversations over culinary delights. And who can forget the shopping! Most of all, it’s for the 3 years that @tinaatiga and I had the honor of pastoring @encentral that used to meet in a bar on this street as a part of @encs… So thankful for the wonderful friends we met, the people who were reached, the moments of deep worship and the solidification of spiritual family that all happened on this street… I’ll always treasure this place… – at ION Orchard

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Watching Gran Torino

Kids are down, visitors gone out, wifey is speaking at a women’s gathering for church. All of a sudden started missing my dad… Jumped on Netflix to watch this: the last movie that he and I as movie buff buddies watched together in the theater… Just so happened to be a powerful film about Father-Son relationships too… #MissingMyDad

Watching Gran Torino

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Listening to Let Praise Awaken by Planetshakers

#30DaySongChallenge – Song 5

This song for me 3 years ago when I first heard it at a youth conference met my ears with a resounding yes… The synth lines and techno influence took songs of praise to an unfamiliar place that I felt groups like Hillsong Y&F would only develop and further. Proud to be an Australian, well kinda hahaha!

Reasons this song is great:

1) it come with “moves” – now watch me whip!
2) the original is in F… A flattened key… Gives it a bit more “soul” than the normal bright E…
3) no tonic chord until the bridge, and when it hits the bridge, the tonic appears, but it shifts to the minor
4) the syncopated bass line naturally makes you want to nod your head (or frustrate non syncopated bass and keyboard players)
5) lyrically challenges the singer to let praise awaken in light of His awesomeness… The music assists by being about as funky as Australian worship teams can get.
6) it came from my favourite planet shakers album post-Henry Seeley… Loved this album! (Limitless? Anthem? also Classics…)

Listening to Let Praise Awaken by Planetshakers

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Listening to Oceans (Where Feet My Fail) [Acoustic Version] by Hillsong UNITED

#30DaySongChallenge – Song 3

This song is a bit more of an obvious choice for me to study as a worship songwriter. It is probably my personal favorite worship song to come out of the body of Christ for the last 5 years. And it doesn’t just resonate with me, at the time of writing it sits at number 3 on the CCLI charts, which in most cases, is a slower climb, but once a song breaks the top 5, it’s pretty much considered having staying power in contemporary church worship liturgy. Why? Here’s some reasons:

1) unifying thematic lyrics around people’s familiar circumstances: “In Oceans deep, my faith will stand” – everyone has been in circumstances where they’ve felt like they’ve been in oceans deep, where feet may fail, but God gives us faith to stand.
2) consistent oceanographic imagery – keep eyes above waves, oceans deep, oceans rise, walk upon the waters
3) female vocal range – in the last 10+ years, men have been prominently writing songs for our ranges. Although there are songs for female range, there hasn’t been as many.
4) poetic lyrically not esoteric
5) memorable melodic lines arching from lower verse to declarative bridge.
6) many repeatable lines (eg bridge, chorus, tag “I am yours, and you are mine)
7) A reminder to centre on Christ, and His strength being made perfect in our weakness “wherever you would call me”, “my soul will rest in your embrace”
8) That bridge though – wrecks me everytime… The melody and lyric combo, with the chord progression change? Just gold…

Could go on and on, but these are a few reasons why Oceans stacks up as a great contemporary song for the ages.

Listening to Oceans (Where Feet My Fail) [Acoustic Version] by Hillsong UNITED

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Listening to Watch Me by Silento

30 Day Song Challenge: Song 2

So I’m supposed to study 5 songs intricately. I don’t think they need to be great, just effective at what they do.
This song is self explanatory, and super effective at what its intentions are… Great at it? well kinda…

LYRICS – no rocket science to this songs lyrics at all! this is obviously to support particular mentioned dance moves. To be honest, I’ve only become familiar with this song because of nephews posting videos of themselves doing the aforementioned whip/nae nae dance moves. Only to find on YouTube that this is 2015’s HarlemShake.

MUSIC – definitely a danceable use of the 808 snares and kicks, and finger clicks with a simple pattern, with glock hits that follow the main 2 note melody… Obviously to support the dance moves that are mentioned throughout the song… Contrasting that lower 2 note melodic vocal with a squeaky assistant voice in the flavor flav role. Quite simple really.

CONCLUSION – this song has inspired me to dust off my NI Maschine… For sure… Now to find some kids that will invent dance moves for my accompanying viral videos… Any ideas on what I should call my new dance?

Listening to Watch Me by Silento

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Listening to By Fire by Hiatus Kaiyote

Just attended #W3 Songwriters Workshop and my bro @aaronlucas challenged us songwriters to analyze a song we consider great every day for the next 30 days (amongst other things) so here goes day 1:

Day 1 Song Analysis:

This track is from Hiatus Kaiyote’s latest album “Choose Your Weapon” – by far a graduation from their last album. I would consider Hiatus Kaiyote’s music as experimental funk, and this is one example of where it works very well:

Lyrics: just like the music, the lyrics always come off a little esoteric with references that ring out in the phrase “you had to be there”. I’d love to sit with them to ask what the lyrical references were pointing towards.

Music: just listen to the introduction, the phrasing and feel change thrice within the first 20 seconds of the song. But what’s amazing is that during the bridge, all three pieces of the intro come back in a juxtaposed mosaic of beauty. Love the way they think!

Final Word: this song challenges the musical side of me: don’t be afraid to go the route of unconventionality if it sounds great in your head… Love this song!

Listening to By Fire by Hiatus Kaiyote

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