Contemporary Christian music is an interesting phenomenon. Few subjects have generated more conflicts than the kinds of music one should listen to or the kind of music best suited for church music.
Arguably the single biggest alteration in the life of the average Christian congregation within the last 30 years has been the sweeping change in the music that is played on during church service.
Where formal choirs and vocal soloists along with organ and piano once held sway, a flood of guitars and “praise choruses” suddenly came rushing in during the 1980s. An irresistible, grassroots, pop-culture-driven force met the immovable object of tradition and sentiment, and the ensuing years saw no shortage of conflict and controversy as a result.
In telling this history, people often conflate the rise of “praise music” with the rise of “Jesus Rock” and its later avatar, “Contemporary Christian Music” (CCM).
While the Jesus People movement faded by the early 1980s, the impact of its musical innovations continued to reverberate throughout the Christian church. Hundreds musicians evolved into professional songwriters and “worship leaders” and created their own praise-and-worship publishing entities. Seminars and worship workshops crowded the landscape, and many churches across the continent replaced hymnbooks with overhead projectors and—by mid 1990s—big-screen video projectors.
A New Era of Worship
“It is clear that Protestant musical expression has irrevocably changed.”
“Worship Wars” have become a fact of life as traditionalists battle champions of the new music. But the existence of Christians who are constantly creating inspiring songs out of their convictions about God and Christ is both an amazing and unique thing often resulting in separate worship services for the youth or the uneasy compromise of “blended worship.”
Once a well-meaning Christian leader said “Ahh, music is so overrated. We don’t need music in Church? However, we need music and it’s important to offer worship and gratitude to God, not only through our thoughtful expressions and notes, but also through music. Consider this passage from Ephesians 5:15-21:
Do you notice how the Scriptures instruct us to worship? “With psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”
With that, here are some of the current most popular Christian songs. May these fill your heart and mind with glorious, awestruck thoughts of our God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Music video by Tasha Cobbs Leonard performing Your Spirit. (C) 2017 Capitol Christian Music Group, Inc.
The accompanying music video released on July 28, 2017 on Lecrae`s official Vevo account. the video is in support of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and was directed by Mike Mihail. It was shot at Glendale Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles and a studio in Memphis, and featured the two artists and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patients. "For me, this video is my heartbeat. It's me showing my own pain, hope and passion for others. I want people to see there's hope in the chaos," Lecrae told People. The video has amassed 28 million views as of November 2017, 19 million on the official video, and 9 million on the lyric video, Also, both videos landed on YouTube`s "Trending" list, peaking at #3 and #2, respectfully.
Travis Montorius Greene is an American gospel musician and pastor. Greene began his music career in 2007 with the release of The More via Greenelight Records. Greene was born, Travis Montorius Greene, on January 17, 1984, in Delaware, to mother, Charleather Greene and was raised in Warner Robins, Georgia Greene's father died of an aneurysm in 1989. Greene was originally a still-born, but was resuscitated, and at the age of four was resuscitated after a four-storied building fall, while he was in Germany.
Music video by Tauren Wells performing Hills and Valleys (Official Lyric Video). (P) 2017 Provident Label Group LLC, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.
Tauren Gabriel Wells is an American Christian rock and pop artist and the former frontman for the American Christian pop rock band, Royal Tailor which produced two albums over a five-year career, which garnered two GRAMMY nominations and a New Artist of the Year award from the Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards. In 2014, Wells, along with his wife, launched the Prisma Worship Arts School, a private music academy with multiple locations in the Houston area.
GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter and producer, Tori Kelly, recorded this song, along with an exclusive 4-day YouVersion Bible Plan called “A Heart of Worship.” Enjoy this acoustic version of ”So Will I“ (written by Hillsong United).
Kortney Jamaal Pollard (born January 12, 1988), who performs under the stage name Mali Music, is an American recording artist, singer-songwriter and producer. His two independently released albums, The Coming (2008) and The 2econd Coming (2009), earned him much critical and underground acclaim. In 2011, he was the first inspirational artist to be a part of BET's acclaimed "Music Matters" series. Signed to RCA Records in 2013, Mali released the single "Beautiful" in anticipation of his first major album release Mali Is..., which was released on June 17, 2014 and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Given Mali's announcement that his next musical project would not be a "gospel" CD, we were a little hesitant to list. It is true, Mali does not mention the name of Jesus, something very present in previous offerings, yet, you can still hear his Christian foundation shine through. We do hope he realizes that much of his "fame" came because there are Christians who want to hear a "new song" with a pure gospel beat, flavor, and message. Along with biblical references, Mali appears to stay true to his Christian roots.
The powerful lead singer for funk legends the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson fronted 15 Top Ten R&B singles, four of which -- "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)," "Early in the Morning," "Outstanding," and "All of My Love" -- went to number one. Active for over 40 years, the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Gap Band were most successful during the late '70s and early '80s. Four of their albums from this period went either gold or platinum in the U.S. The impact of Wilson and his group was lasting, exemplified by Guy's faithful cover of "Yearning for Your Love" and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," the latter of which credited the Gap Band as co-writers. Additionally, they were a popular source for rap and R&B producers, as heard in Nas' "Life's a Bitch," Soul for Real's "Every Little Thing I Do," and Ashanti's "Happy," among dozens of other tracks.
As a solo artist, Wilson recorded sporadically while the Gap Band were still together. After You Turn My Life Around (1992) and the Snoop Dogg-supported Bridging the Gap (2000), Wilson became a major stand-alone concert draw and a staple of urban adult contemporary radio, sustained by a streak of successful Sony-distributed releases that began during the mid-2000s. Although the albums were dominated by affectionate ballads, each one included a funk jam or two. Charlie, Last Name Wilson (2005) was the first of several solo Top Ten R&B albums. Follow-up Uncle Charlie (2009) reached number two; the album, as well as "There Goes My Baby," were nominated for Grammy Awards. Just Charlie (2010) landed in the pop Top 20, with "You Are" was nominated for two Grammy Awards. Love, Charlie (2013) and Forever Charlie (2015) added to Wilson's pile of Top Ten R&B albums and Grammy nominations as he continued to be a major arena-level headliner. In It to Win It (2017) coincided with a tour for which Fantasia and Johnny Gill were the supporting acts. ~ Ed Hogan & Andy Kellman
Lauren Ashley Daigle is an American contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Louisiana.
Zoe & Grace Kimvuidi are English artists aged 17, twins born on the 17th Of October 1999. They were born and raised in South West London and they perform as a Pop / Gospel duo under the name ‘Zoe Grace’. Their name ‘Zoe Grace’ which means Life / Grace represents the Life that we get through the Grace of Jesus Christ. Zoe Grace were raised in a Christian home and have ever since embraced & held on to their Christian Faith.
Zachary Stephen "Zach" Williams is an American Christian rock artist from Jonesboro, Arkansas. From 2007-2012 he was a member of Zach Williams & The Reformation (acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals). He was also the lead singer of the Christian groups Brothers of Grace, and Zach Williams and the Brothers of Grace.
Matthew Joseph West is an American contemporary Christian musician, singer-songwriter, and actor. He has released five studio albums and is known for his songs, "More", "You Are Everything", and "The Motions".
The Walls Group is an American urban contemporary gospel group signed to RCA Records. The group consist of, four siblings, two sisters, Rhea Walls and Ahjah Walls, and two brothers, Darrel Walls and Paco Walls. In 2012, the group broke through on the Billboard charts with their album The Walls Group that was released on June 11, 2012. On September 2, 2014, they released their debut studio album, Fast Forward, with RCA Records and Fo Yo Soul Recordings, and it charted on the Billboard 200.
Elevation Worship is a contemporary worship music band from Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This week’s featured song story comes to us from Blanca. We’re excited to share with you the story behind her brand new single “Real Love,” a song written in the wake of her mother’s battle with cancer.
“There is nothing you can do that can make God love you more. There is also nothing you can do that can make Him love you any less. He loves you because He loves you because He loves you because He loves you because that is who He is, that is what He is like. It is His nature to love and you will always be the beloved. His love is unchanging and He loves you one hundred percent. He won’t love you any better when you become better. He loves you one hundred percent right now. And even if you have no plans to become better, He still loves you one hundred percent because He loves you, because that’s the way that He is. What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. What comes into my mind when I think about God is real love.” – Blanca
Hammond has been active both as a member of the gospel performing group Commissioned, and as a solo artist (currently for Verity Records). He is a multiple Grammy-, Dove-, Stellar-award winner and nominee as a performer, producer and writer.
Joshua Micah grew up in Manchester, Connecticut with his mom and dad and two brothers. At eight-years-old, after waking up one morning and seeing black and blue spots covering his entire body, he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura).
"I remember seeing my mother crying heavily next to my dad who was completely beside himself," Joshua wrote in a blog when he was twenty. "I was so blessed to have a family and a church who were praying for a miracle. And, sure enough, God came through ... I walked out of that hospital in stable health."
Even then, Joshua knew God had something more for his life. Something related to music. Initially though, he preferred playing drums to singing. However, his mother noticed a quality in his voice she believed would resonate with others and encouraged him to start singing, she turned out to be right and others noticed too, Joshua recalls...
"Ever since I was little, my family and friends told me I had an unusual musical ability to play instruments, sing and write songs. Guest preachers and pastors that would visit our church would call me out of the congregation and speak over me that I was to do something incredible with music." By the time he was twelve Joshua was playing drums and guitar at church. He was in a rock band with friends from school too. And, after the band broke up, he prayed for more direction from God for his career.
As doors started opening in the music industry, fear about whether he was good enough crept in. And, once again he turned to God, Joshua writes...
"I was just honest with him. I told him all the fear I was facing and how I feel I can't be as good as these artist in the industry now. I prayed for that fear to leave me, and it did."
Stepping out in faith, Joshua recently moved to Los Angeles. In 2016 his song "Parachute" came out and in 2017 he released "Who Says."
Capitol CMG recording artists/songwriters Ryan Johns, McKenna Johns, Kyrsten Johns, and Luke Johns are the young escape from Southern California. The siblings grew up watching bands like Audio Adrenaline, tobyMac, and Hawk Nelson at festivals, dreaming that one day, they could do the same thing. The band has always had a love for upbeat, exciting live concerts, which is why they try to craft high-energy sets that inspire people to get out of their comfort zone, and to break free from the currents of culture.
Ranging from 20 to 14 years old, the young escape hopes that their EDM/Alt-Pop/Rock music inspires people to escape from whatever is holding them down, and to dream like they’re young again.