We musicians have pretty diverse tastes, but there's no denying the fact that many people get their start singing in their churches and choirs. Here we take a look at the top 11 Christian artists and bands.
This multi-platinum artist has dominated the Christian music charts for the past 33 years and holds the record for the largest solo Christian concert in history, with over 80,000 attendees at his concert in Charlotte, NC. In February of 2013, Carman was diagnosed with Myeloma and was given only a few more years to live. Carman is often featured on TBN and in 2001, he starred in the film Carman: The Champion which is also the title of one of his greatest tracks. Check out The Champion below.
Formed in 1972 this band took its name from the Greek word for “rock,” a fact which we think, well, rocks. Although they disbanded in 2006, Petra leaves a major mark on the Christian Music World. They released 20 studio albums, sold 10 million copies, received 13 Grammy nominations (4 wins!), and won 10 Dove Awards. They were also the first Christian band to have their memorabilia included in the Hard Rock Cafe. Often referred to as the Christian version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, this band is going to be remembered for decades to come.
Christian glam metal band Stryper was one of the first overtly Christian heavy metal bands to gain acceptance in the secular music scene. Need a moment to take that one in? Yes, they are a Christian glam band. And yes, they are awesome. In the 80’s, Stryper signed to the major record label, Enigma Records, and released countless chart topping hits including their platinum album, To Hell with the Devil. Although the band broke up in 1992, they came out of retirement in 2003 for a reunion tour and subsequently signed a multi-album contract with Big3 Records in 2005. Check out this classic from Stryper:
#8: Amy Grant
Referred to as the Queen of Christian Pop, Amy Grant made her debut as a teenager in the early 80’s, but has since sold over 30 million records worldwide. Her duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall,” scored her first Billboard Hot 100 #1 song, but you might know her for the all-time-favorite, “Baby, Baby.” Winner of 6 Grammys and 25 Dove Awards, it’s no surprise that she would earn her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. Check out this blast from the past:
#7: Michael W. Smith
Probably one of the most recognizable names in Christian Music history, Michael W. Smith managed incredible success on both the Christian and mainstream charts. Winner of 3 Grammy’s and 40 Dove Awards, Smith has sold more than 13 million albums and recorded 29 number 1 hit songs. He’s even been named one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People.” We’re more interested in his praise songs than his looks, but either way, we can’t forget the classic, “Friends are Friends Forever”.
#6: Steven Curtis Chapman
American musician, songwriter, record producer, actor, author, social activist, and all around great guy, Chapman has been a household name in the Christian community for over three decades. Releasing more than 20 albums to date and selling 10’s of millions of records, Chapman has also won 5 Grammy Awards and been the recipient of 56, yes five-six, Dove Awards. Chapman has a signature Taylor Guitar series in honor of his daughter Maria Sue who died in an unfortunate accident and features her favorite flower and the word “SEE” on the 12th fret in Maria’s handwriting. Check out this powerful song, “Cinderella”.
#5: Casting Crowns
This Grammy and Dove Award winning contemporary Christian group started as a teen worship band and managed to become headliners within a few short years. With over 5 million records sold, Casting Crowns has maintained their roots at their home church, still scheduling concerts and tours around their commitment to being worship leaders and teen mentors. A pretty powerful commitment to community. They still produce powerful worship music and released an acoustic album this year, rightfully named The Acoustic Sessions: Volume 1.
Hailing from “down-under,” this Australian Christian pop/rock band took the world by storm in the mid 90’s with albums like “Not Ashamed” and “Going Public”. With high band member turnover rates and inconsistent reviews from fans and the media, this band still managed to make it to the top, receiving a number of Grammy nominations and 5 Dove Awards. As a band, they are currently on hiatus but their songs still touch the soul.
#3: DC Talk
This Grammy-winning Christian rap trio met at Liberty University in 1987 and by the early 90s, they were setting the Christian and mainstream charts on fire. They made it cool to be a “Jesus Freak,” as the title of their double-platinum 1995 album claims. Their music videos received regular airtime on MTV and VH1, and they hold the title as the first openly Christian band to perform on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We think that’s an honor? Although they are not together anymore, they get together for reunion shows regularly. Frontman, Toby Mac, has garnered a successful solo career since. Are you still a Jesus Freak?
#2: P.O.D. (Payable on Death)
This American nu metal band has released 6 major label studio albums along with 2 independent albums selling over 12 million records worldwide. They’ve been certified platinum and have contributed to numerous motion picture soundtracks. P.O.D. received mixed reviews from the Christian community due to their edgy sound and tattooed band members, but with their blatant mission of sharing Christ and crossing mainstream and Christian markets, their success is unrivaled. Their album “Satellite” brought them tremendous success with songs like “Youth Of The Nation” and “Alive.” The group formed in 1991 and still headlines tours today.
#1: Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay has been a common favorite among American believers and nonbelievers for the past 2 decades. They take their name from 2 Corinthians 4:7(NIV) that says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” With a successful career in both Christian and secular markets, Jars of Clay have won several awards including Grammy and Dove Awards and have been featured on the soundtracks to motion pictures like “Drive Me Crazy” and ‘Hometown Legend.” Jars of Clay continue to sell out arenas around the world.
Who is your favorite Christian artist? Comment below and let us know!