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Corrinne May: Great Catholic listening from Singapore

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One of the most celebrated musicians from Singapore shows her Catholic faith in each song.

Corrinne May just came onto our musical radar, and we couldn’t wait to share her wonderful brand of Catholic music. With a voice like Sarah McLachlan, but with a warmer tone and a bit of a country twang, May’s tunes are marked by a clearly trained musicality and a stalwart faith.

We first heard her sing on her version of “Be Thou My Vision,” a traditional Catholic hymn that has become very popular in Christian recordings. We were as taken with her introduction as we were by the music; she said:

When I sing “Be Thou My Vision” I think about having God there as my compass and to try to keep Him in everything I do. To have in mind that I want what He wants for me and I know that if I keep Him in my vision, I won’t stray too far.

The performance that followed supported this sentiment, as May passionately gave herself over to the music, which featured a beautiful piano arrangement and even a daftly executed modulation in the last verse, really giving this song a victorious feel.

Corrinne May is one of the most celebrated musicians in Singapore, where she was born and raised in a Catholic household. She spoke about her Catholic upbringing in an interview with Juleen Shaw of Salt and Light. She said:

I was born Catholic, so I was a “cradle Catholic.” As a kid you sort of follow your parents to church, but you don’t really own your faith.

It was when I went to college and joined the music ministry that I realized that God is in so many more things than I thought He was. My eyes were opened to the fact that my faith could be lived out in many more ways than I thought it could …

It still is a mystery but I’m growing more towards it and seeing that if you look at people, even the people you love, through the Lord’s eyes, it’s easier to love them. Because if you love God, you’ll want to love what He loves.

On her website, she describes her musical style as “uplifting songs of hope,” which often lean on her Catholic faith in lyrics and tone. She routinely sells out tickets to all of her concerts and when she visits smaller venues, she even packs the standing-room section.

While “Be Thou My Vision” is a cover of a popular hymn, the vast majority of her music is original compositions. Her best-selling album, 2007’s Beautiful Seed, was certified platinum in Singapore, and her newest album, 2012’s Crooked Lines, topped the charts in Singapore. One of our favorite of May’s songs is “Five Loaves and Two Fishes,” which tells the story of the miracle of Christ feeding the multitudes through the eyes of a boy who was in the crowd.

In 2015, Corrinne’s faithful style led the Catholic Church to commission a Catholic anthem for Singapore, titled “Bless Our Singapore.” The music is touching and gentle, written in a similar style of “Be Thou My Vision,” but with wonderful orchestration and vivid Catholic imagery. The music is lovely, but even more so are the testimonies and prayers from Singapore Catholics at the end. In the video’s description. the Archdiocese of Singapore writes:

In the song, Corrinne gives thanks for the many blessings that have been showered on Singapore and prays for God’s continued blessings on our nation Singapore. This music video also invites its viewers to become “salt and light” to the nation by showing how the mission of early Catholics continues to be carried out by the Church today, as depicted by acts of service given to the people of Singapore.

Corrinne May has five albums that are packed with great music and religious lyrics, both overt and thematic. Click here to explore Corrinne May’s discography. 

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