By Sammi Deem
If I were to begin to talk about arts and music, the subject of this very section, it would be my safe guess that the concept of passion would not be far from your mind. The careful patron of the arts would notice however, that it takes more than passion to make an artist special. Whether its graphic art, rhetoric, or musical art, passion must be met with direction and ambition to be successful.
This is a concept that the band, Blessid Union of Souls, has grasped, leading them to a successful 13-year career.
In 1995, “I Believe,” from their first album, Home, reached #1 single. The most recent addition to Blessids collection is their new album, Close to the Edge. This album features a style that is consistent with the bands identity and familiar to fans from recent or even not-so recent years.
The bands success is similar to that of the 90s in that the album has already landed its first single, “Could Have Been With You.” Eliot, Blessid’s lead singer and main songwriter, comments on the thrill of writing “radio-worthy” songs:
“Everything is really humbling to us, the fact that we have been able to this as a career, through good times and bad, but the fact that we love to play music and write songs has been the thing that has really carried us [as a band][its] Mind-boggling being number #1 to the country [and coming] up with something that was radio-worthy.”
“Could Have Been With You” not only has a musical diversity, but carries unexpected tones that are consistent with the message of the lyrics throughout the song making the song very “radio-worthy.” The single starts out somewhat optimistic and mellows with some piano and acoustic guitar. As the song builds and lyrically takes an emotional turn, electric guitar and string instruments are incorporated to give the song a more abrupt feel. Eliot says that the band aims to create memorable hooks, and this song definitely achieves that goal with this single.
Another great song on the album is the first song, which opens with the lyrics “Close to the edge / Thats where I stand / Dancing with fire / With a match in each hand / And a mind filled with fear / and a heart full of rage / One step from insanity / One step from grave / But Im back from the dead / Starting over now…”
According to Eliot, “Back from the Dead” is “a song about recovery… a song about hope. Its a song about whatever it is you are going through.”
The speaker in the song goes on to talk about how he begs for mercy, but is given grace. This is not just an attitude of this song, or this speaker, but of the entire band. Blessid Union of Souls is a group with strong beliefs in hope, peace, and impact, all of which are themes illustrated in their music.
They dont view themselves as entertainers being paid to do a performance. They see their duty as something much more than a simple job or career. They have a deep relationship with their fans that goes much further than awards, money, or platinum records. Their music has talent, direction, ambition, and hope.
Blessid doesnt simply sing about hope, however. They intend to use their blessings of success to make an impact in a variety of ways. “Id like to get associated with organizations like Passion or World Vision, things of that nature… [the] betterment of kids…” Eliot shares. He continues to explain that the music itself means just as much as their charitable endeavors: “We [dont] want our songs to be pop songs people listen to for a little bit. I believe music can change lives. I think it can enrich lives. Were hoping our songs can get to that point. Its bigger than fame and awards. [We hope] to make our stamp on the world.”
Sammi , age 17, is currently taking classes at La Roche College in Pittsburgh while still a high school student. Next fall she will be a freshman at Taylor University where she will pursue a dual degree in Communications and Christian Education. She works for the Silver Ring Thing and at Target as a cashier.