Music for Life: Australia’s Pro-Life Music Competition
Young pro-life people are so positive and energetic, and I love hearing their ideas and being inspired by their enthusiasm.
Grace Kiely, from Melbourne’s Thomas More Centre, is a young person who has a real talent for putting ideas into action and getting things done. She has been the driving force behind the Australian pro-life music competition, “Music for Life.”
The annual event won’t be held this year, since the organisers are taking a break to re-design the competition, but I spoke to Grace about how it has been run in the past and the inspiration behind this great initiative.
Grace, what was the original inspiration for the competition?
Music for Life was inspired originally by the idea that there wasn’t enough positivity in the music industry of today. We wanted to create a competition that had a positive message and a platform or door for musicians that were either starting out, or wanted to produce music that has a positive message or makes a difference.
‘Art has the power to touch hearts and change minds‘ - that quote was the definition of inspiration towards the competition.
What is your idea of a ‘pro-life song’?
The incentive or focus of the song can lie within the instrumental, lyrics, vocal or the overall feel of the song. Listening to a song for the first time, you establish a first impression just like you would when meeting someone for the first time. But the more you listen to the song the more you learn or unwrap the meaning. It doesn’t have to be a boppy song for it to be a positive song. It’s the focus or message and the after-taste of the song that we look for.
Again, ‘Art has the power to touch hearts and change minds‘. Sometimes its not the obvious upbeat songs that capture our attention.
Music takes time to write and to create. Thought behind each process is important and we can definitely tell the difference between music that has been thought through and music that hasn’t.
We didn’t want the pro-life message to be the sole purpose of the competition, as there were other topics we wanted to cover. We wanted musicians to create music that had a positive message, so the theme chosen for the competition was the ‘Celebration of Life‘. We wanted audiences and musicians to think about the competition’s theme and draw from either their personal experiences or how they interpreted the theme. We hoped the competition would open more thought and invite research into the meaning of the ‘celebration of life’. And hopefully touch audiences that heard the music.
Were most contestants already known for their pro-life songs? Were these songs written especially for the competition?
The contestants were know for their music and as their own artist. We had a mixture of professionals and starting-off musicians. Some of the songs were written before the competition and some were written for it.
The contestants have such diverse musical styles: does this make it hard for the judges? What are they looking for in the winning song?
We have a judge for each criteria that is judged at the competition:
Judges are professional musicians or industry professionals; they know the competition’s objectives for the concert and musicians, but they also critique on a professional level as to how the performance and music is delivered on the day. The style doesn’t matter.
What have some contestants and winners gone on to do with their music?
They’ve all continued to work on their music and take on the opportunities and challenges faced in order to continue and develop their music, as well as continue to work towards breaking into the music industry of today. We’ve had contestants go on tour and perform regularly in their state. We’ve had some contestants work towards recording their music or album. Although Music for Life is a starting point or platform for these musicians, and we support them when and where can, they are the ones to do the hard yards.
You are obviously interested in using music to influence culture. What other ways do you think the culture can be changed in ways other than, say, overtly protesting abortion or marches?
Film is another powerful instrument, if done well and correctly. We relate to stories and are touched by the characters’ journeys and experiences. So I personally believe that anything involving art and, of course, used appropriately, has the power to ‘touch hearts and change minds’.
Where do you see the competition going in the future? Would you like to see it become bigger?
The competition has great potential to grow and get bigger. There isn’t anything like it out there in the Aussie scene so it has an excellent chance to offer musicians a starting point or platform for their music career and for the industry itself.
However in order to establish and strengthen the competition’s potential, there are many things that need be changed before we can continue to organise it and make it as special as it is. So we are taking the time out to re-design the competition before moving forward with its re-launch.
If you are interested in getting involved there will be opportunities in the future to assist with the organising and developing of the competition.
I’ll keep you updated about the progress of Music for Life’s re-launch - this is exactly the kind of project I like to get behind, since it has the potential to reach such a wide audience and start to change the culture.
These are some of the musicians from previous competitions, and there are more artists on the Music for Life Facebook page.
Anna Cordell was the winner of the 2014 Music for Life competition.
Elizabeth Kiely & Joseph Simms wrote this song, Fly Bird, especially for the competition.
Ryan K produced a great music video you can find here on Youtube.
There are lots of fantastic pro-life songs out there, it’s just a matter of finding them and sharing, especially with those who may not be open to the pro-life message. They actually have the potential to save lives - from abortion or suicide.
Below is the link to an article by pro-lifer Andy Moore, whose tastes are a little different from my own - he has compiled a list of his favourite hardcore pro-life songs. He’s also included a few that are more to the liking of an old grandma like myself and a link to the wikipedia page listing both pro-life and pro-abortion songs.