Inspiring Artist Of The Week: Jon Foreman


If there’s one person on this earth whose songs have changed my life, it’s Jon Foreman. I, like many people, was first introduced to his songs through the movie, A Walk to Remember (I’m not ashamed to admit that I enjoy a good, sad romance flick). I was about fourteen at the time, and I developed a slight obsession with film’s feature song, Only Hope. I learned how to play it (to an effect) on the piano, and sang it at least seven times a day for a good while. I remember seeing the name “Jonathan Foreman” on the sheet music I was reading from and thinking, “This guy knows how to write a song”.



Although Only Hope made an impression on me, I never fully grasped what it was about until a few years later. I had initially assumed that it was just another boy-girl love song (albeit a really, really good one). I knew that the song was originally by a band named Switchfoot – I’d even listened to their version a few times. I’d also heard that they were a “Christian Band”, whatever that meant.

In 2007, I met my husband, Cuan. When we began dating, he mentioned Switchfoot often. By then, I’d heard a few more of their songs, but not really paid them a great deal of attention. It soon became apparent Switchfoot were Cuan’s favourite band. As such, I started checking out some more of their songs, and listening more closely.

From the very beginning of our relationship, Cuan and I had lots of intense discussions about God, faith and the Bible. I believed in God, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that Jesus died for me (or anyone else). I listened to Only Hope a LOT at that time. I let it play on repeat every chance I got, and let each word penetrate my very soul (which is fitting, considering the opening line is, “There’s a song that’s inside of my soul…”). The more I listened to it, the more I became convinced that the God this man was singing to is real, alive, present and loving. The words, “I pray to be only Yours; I know now, You’re my only hope…” resonated in the empty space in my heart, and I realised that I was not created to live this life on my own.


Of course, Cuan’s prayers and testimony were instrumental in my conversion. God used him, along with this amazing song, to lift the scales from my eyes. I am forever grateful!

When I finally accepted Jesus as my saviour, I knew I wanted to write songs like Only Hope, that could move people and communicate the love and grace of God in a real and tangible way.

Eventually I discovered that Only Hope was not the only inspired (and inspiring) song that Jon Foreman had ever written. It turns out that he has a song for pretty much every profound or difficult thing I’ve experienced. Let That Be Enough is another song that holds particular significance to me. It’s my go-to song. When I’m struggling with something, when I lose sight of the hope that I have, I listen to that song.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing Switchfoot live on two occasions – once in London, and once in Cape Town. After the Cape Town show, I was lucky enough to experience a Jon Foreman After-Show. Every few shows, Jon will meet fans in the parking lot or lobby after the gig, to share a few more songs with those who want to hear (NB: NEVER go home from a Switchfoot gig without checking Twitter first!). At the Cape Town after-show, one of my dreams came true – I got to hear Only Hope, sung straight from the mouth of it’s author.

Mali & Jon

Unable to conceal my joy at experiencing a Jon Foreman After-Show

I’ve thought long and hard about the best way to thank Jon Foreman for all that his songs have meant to me over the years. How could I possibly make him understand the extent to which his words have affected my life? Even this post seems inadequate in truly conveying the extent to which his songs have changed me, both as a person and as a songwriter. I suppose the greatest way we can thank those who have made our lives better through their art is to pray for them. In addition, let me publicly say:


Yep, that's my hand.

Yep, that’s my hand.

Top 10 Jon Foreman/Switchfoot Songs (choosing 5 was just too hard):

1. Only Hope (New Way To Be Human – Switchfoot)
2. Let That Be Enough (New Way To Be Human – Switchfoot)
3. Revenge (Oh! EP – Switchfoot; Spring EP – Jon Foreman)
4. Let Your Love Be Strong (Oh! Gravity. – Switchfoot)
5. Happy Is A Yuppie Word (Nothing Is Sound – Switchfoot)
6. The Blues (Nothing Is Sound – Switchfoot)
7. The Shadow Proves The Sunshine (Nothing Is Sound – Switchfoot)
8. Twenty-Four (The Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot)
9. Up Against The Wall (Fiction Family Reunion; Holiday EP – Fiction Family)
10. Love Isn’t Made (Spring EP – Jon Foreman)

Has Jon Foreman’s music influenced or inspired you in some way? Have you experienced a Jon Foreman After-Show? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


Photos courtesy of Cuan Korsten

Be Slow To Take Offence


When you choose to make a living from regularly baring your soul to complete strangers (as well as family and friends), it can be extremely difficult to swallow “constructive” criticism regarding your art. But being easily offended cannot only damage important relationships (both professional and personal), it also hurts you. If you’re one of those people who is quick to take offence, and don’t work at becoming a bit more resilient, you risk spending your life feeling worthless, victimised, unloved and misunderstood. The good news is that you control your emotions – they don’t control you.

The first thing you have to realise is that not everyone is going to love what you do. That’s just life. Don’t let it steal your joy. If you write folk music and your classic-rock-loving friend isn’t in love with your latest song, don’t let it rock your boat.

Secondly, some people really are just trying to help. When your uncle tells you that you “should” do XYZ to become more successful, appreciate the fact that he’s trying to help, even if his advice is misguided. You may even find that it’s not as misguided as you think, if you take the time to properly listen.

I don’t speak from a place of ignorance. My producer, recording engineer and band-mate also happens to be my husband. He is very honest, and has no trouble saying what he thinks, if he feels it will benefit the overall product. In the past I would routinely storm off or cry if I felt that I was being criticised as a songwriter, singer or musician. Then I would get over myself and realise that he’s not being mean – he’s trying to help me make the best album possible. The opinions of others (particularly those who have a vested interest in you for one reason or another) can be very important and helpful.

Of course, non-constructive, “I-hate-you-and-your-music-and-everything-you-stand-for”-typed comments should be dismissed without a second thought – they’re not worth your time or energy. But next time a friend, family member, creative partner or fan offers some advice – or an opinion – that you don’t immediately love, don’t let it anger you. Know who you are as a person and as an artist, and don’t let the opinions of others shake your identity. You may well find you learn something really valuable when you don’t let your emotions interfere with your ability to hear.


Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Play “Am I Lost”

Mali & Me

Here’s a tutorial on how to play “Am I Lost” by Mali & Me. I’ve included the video for the original song (as well as the lyrics) below the tutorial video.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!


Original Song:


Am I lost? Could it be?
Did the liar finally get to me?
Am I still free?

My mind is like a prison cell
Feels like I’m standing here with one foot touching hell
Can you tell

And did I walk, or was it You who left?
Am I lost, or did I just forget
What it means to love You unto death?
Maybe I’m going, going
But I’m not gone yet.

There’s a noise in this room
Must be the sound of my heart breaking right in two
In front of You

Did You see, oh, did You hear?
Just say the word and I will know that You are near
Living here

And did I walk, or was it You who left?
Am I lost, or did I just forget
What it means to love You unto death?
Maybe I’m going, going
But I’m not gone yet

Did I fall away?
Or am I just in an arrested state?
God, I wanna move, know I need to change
Don’t wanna sit around and wait for better days…

And maybe there’s still hope for me yet
And Lord, this time, don’t let me forget
What it means to love You unto death
I was almost gone
I was almost lost
I was almost gone
But You held on
You held on
Yeah, You held on.

The Butterfly Circus

A friend showed us this beautiful short film today, starring the ever-inspiring Nick Vujicic. I wanted to share it with you all. I hope you’ll find it encouraging!

Other News

Last week I did an interview with fellow blogger, DJ Deb. Click the image below to check it out!












Video: Caught In The Wire

Today I thought I’d share this video of Caught In The Wire (from Atlases & Astronauts) that I recorded a couple of years ago in our old house.

If you enjoy the song/video, please share it!


Time won’t stop for anyone
It doesn’t stand and wait
For the ones who run so fast
Yet always get in late

I wanted to be an astronaut
So I could learn to fly
And dance in the moonlight
And watch the world go by, from up high

Now I’m caught in the wire
That stretches between all I am and all I could have been
And I stand in the fire
This taster of hell that says heaven was just a dream, not for me

The air is warm tonight
But somehow I feel so cold
The night is young
But I’ve never felt so old

I wish my faith was strong
Didn’t fail at times like these
When Hallelujahs
Don’t come so easily

And I’m caught in the wire
That stretches between all I am and all I could have been
And I stand in the fire
This taster of hell that says heaven was just a dream, not for me

I always try to be quick to listen and slow to speak
But I open my mouth and words come falling out
But I’ll try tomorrow, on the time I’ve borrowed
To get it right, before I lose the light

I know that You’re still here
It’s only me who walks
When the sound of my own fear
Is the loudest voice that talks

But there’s power in me yet
I’ll get up and take a stand
Against this old enemy
And I’ll wait for your hand…

To pull me out of the wire
That stretches between all I am and all I could have been
Get me out of this fire
This taster of hell that keeps heaven away from me
Away from me.

Atlases & Astronauts








Download the song from iTunes or CD Baby.