- May 18, 2017
Who are some of your favorite Christian music artists? We started covering some of the big names from the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, but now it’s time to get more modern. Making a list of the fan favorites from the ‘00s and ‘10s is a little hard because there has been such an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Christian talent in the music industry lately. With a more connected world, we’ve been able to find hot new artists more quickly and enjoy their music in all kinds of new ways. There are so many Christian music artists we could have added to this list, but you have to draw the line somewhere and we reached our threshold at 20 amazing musicians. Here are some of the biggest fan favorites from the last 17 years.
With the drop of a debut self-titled album, Casting Crowns quickly became one of the hottest Christian music artists around. The 2003 album featured hit songs like “Who Am I,” “If We Are the Body,” and “Voice of Truth” and went on to win several Dove Awards as well as reaching double platinum status. Since then, the group has earned 15 Dove Awards, two K-LOVE Fan Awards, a Grammy, and sold well over 10 million records. In 2016, the group released its seventh studio album “The Very Next Thing” which features the singles “One Step Away” and “Oh My Soul.”
One of the biggest Christian music artists of all time, Tomlin has been the face of the modern worship movement for many years. Coming onto the scene in the early ‘00s, the singer/songwriter had several worship anthems receive national attention like “Indescribable” and “How Great is Our God.” Tomlin’s music has been so well received around the world that he is often referred to as the “most sung artist on the planet.” All in all, the singer has racked up 22 Dove Awards, a Grammy, and four K-LOVE Fan Awards in less than 20 years making music. Combined with over 7.5 million records sold, that’s not a bad career so far.
One of the Christian music artists that can be seen at the Kick-Off Concert for the 2017 K-LOVE Fan Awards, MercyMe is another group that has been popular since the turn of the century. The group experienced a meteoric rise in fame after the release of the single “I Can Only Imagine” in 2001 and hasn’t looked back since. Some of the group’s biggest hits over the years include “Flawless,” “Word of God Speak,” and “Greater.” MercyMe’s latest project, “Lifer,” was released in March.
Crowder - Christian Music Artists
After spending several years leading a worship band, Crowder went solo in 2012. The only thing more iconic than his one-of-a-kind beard is the passionate music he’s made over the years. Balancing between Southern rock and praise and worship, Crowder has several hit songs that belong in each category. Worship songs like “How He Loves” and “Come As You Are” keep up the singer’s worship leader status while “Run Devil Run” and “Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)” show off a more rock and roll sound. Crowder released “American Prodigal,” his second studio album under the new moniker, in 2016.
for KING & COUNTRY
As one of the fresh new faces in Christian music, for KING & COUNTRY made a name for themselves with their debut album, “Crave,” in 2012. “The Proof of Your Love” was a strong first single for the group and carried them to their next success with 2014’s follow-up album “Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.” The brother duo also has a musical connection through their older sister Rebecca St. James. To date, for KING & COUNTRY has the most K-LOVE Fan Awards of any musical act at six. The group also has three Dove Awards and two Grammys.
One artist that has exploded in popularity over the last few years is Lauren Daigle. The young singer from Louisiana went through several auditions on a couple of seasons of “American Idol” but didn’t become a household name until the release of her first single, “How Can It Be,” in 2014. Upon releasing her first full-length album the following year, the talented singer became one of the most popular artists in the genre. Daigle has won six Dove Awards and been nominated for two Grammys just in the span of three years. At the 2016 K-LOVE Fan Awards, she managed to win Female Artist of the Year as well as Artist of the Year.
Phillips, Craig & Dean
An artist that we really could’ve listed in our earlier piece, Phillips, Craig & Dean has been making music since the early ‘90s. The trio has lasted so long due to their powerful vocals and their ability to adapt to a changing sound. The group’s early hits like “Favorite Song of All” and “Mercy Came Running” sound completely different from its post-2000 work. In the ‘00s, Phillips, Craig & Dean had a number of great singles with song like “You Are God Alone (Not a God),” “Let My Words Be Few,” and “Great I Am.” As the worship movement passes on to a younger generation of musicians, Phillips, Craig & Dean has been one of the biggest Christian music artists that still has a flair for the older worship style.
Another group that got their start in the ‘90s is the West Coast rockers of Switchfoot. The band first tasted success from their second album, “New Way to Be Human,” which featured the song “Only Hope” and a great title track. After achieving mainstream crossover appeal in the mid ‘00s, the group was on fire for several years. The band has several great albums under its belt like 2003’s “The Beautiful Letdown” and 2009’s ‘Hello Hurricane.” In just over 20 years of making music, Switchfoot has garnered 14 Dove Awards and a Grammy.
These South Carolinian musicians have made a name for themselves as Christian music artists as well as mainstream performers. After a couple of great early albums in the mid ‘00s, Needtobreathe hit it big with 2009’s “The Outsiders.” The band has gone on to release a total of six albums, the latest being 2016’s “Hard Love,” and has won 10 Dove Awards. Among the group’s biggest hits are “Something Beautiful,” “Washed by the Water,” and “Brother.”
Coming onto the national scene around the same time as Needtobreathe was singer Francesca Battistelli. The fun, airy sound of her 2008 album “My Paper Heart” made the then-23-year-old a popular name for many Christian listeners. “I’m Letting Go” and “Free to Be Me” were two of the album’s hottest songs. 2011’s followup, “Hundred More Years,” was also very successful and helped launch the singer into a series of big wins at the Dove Awards. Battistelli is a two-time winner of Female Vocalist of the Year from the Gospel Music Association and also took home the Female Artist of the Year award at the 2015 K-LOVE Fan Awards.
One of the most famous Christian music artists of the last 25 years is TobyMac. Everyone knows about his early days in DC Talk, but the performer has also had incredible staying power as a solo artist. In recent years, TobyMac has played a big role in helping cultivate new Christian talent like Jamie Grace and Hollyn. Known for putting on a great live show, the singer has a long string of popular songs like “Me Without You,” “Move (Keep Walkin’),” and “Love Broke Thru.” The only thing more jaw-dropping than his performances is the fact that he’s racked up 33 Dove Awards and 7 Grammys when you factor in the DC Talk days.
Starting out right at the turn of the century, Jeremy Camp first made waves with the 2002 album “Stay.” Featuring a mix of rock (“Take My Life”) and worship (“I Still Believe”), the album launched one of the newest male singers in Christian music. Camp has kept up the rock/worship balance over the years and delivered a number of great songs along the way. Among his other hits are “Let It Fade,” “There Will Be a Day,” and “He Knows.” The singer has picked up several big accolades during his career, including two Male Vocalist of the Year honors at the Dove Awards and four Songwriter of the Year awards from ASCAP.
Mandisa has become synonymous with encouragement during the ten years since she appeared on American Idol. With songs like “Overcomer” and “Stronger,” the singer has been a motivating voice for her fans as she provides support and shares her own battles. The artist has taken a little break from recording since 2013’s “Overcomer,” but her new album drops May 19th. Judging from its first single, “Unfinished,” Mandisa has no plans to stop her singing style any time soon.
When you talk about the way worship music has evolved over the last few years, it’s impossible to not mention Hillsong. No matter which musical offshoot of the famous church is your favorite, there’s no denying that modern worship has been impacted by its work. Hillsong United is arguably the biggest act under the umbrella of Hillsong Church and has delivered many powerful worship songs like “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” “Hosanna,” “Mighty to Save,” and over a dozen more. On top of selling millions of albums, Hillsong United has been awarded eight Dove Awards and a K-LOVE Fan Award.
Mainly known as a rock band in the ‘90s, Third Day has embraced worship music a lot more since about 2000. Singer Mac Powell’s Southern rock sound has always leant the group to a more rock and roll style, but the group has put out several worship albums during a 20+ year career. On the worship side, songs like “Love Song,” “God of Wonders” and “Your Love Oh Lord” have shown a softer take on Third Day’s music. For those with more of a hunger for some classic rock can check out “Consuming Fire” and “My Hope is You.”
Although Christian music has had a few rappers and hip hop artists over the years, none have really had the same kind of success as Lecrae. When you can earn praise from non-believing rap critics, you must have the gift. Lecrae has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon several times and his music can be found in a number of places across mainstream pop culture. The rapper has seven studio albums, all of which have been highly acclaimed, including “Rebel,” “Gravity,” and “Anomaly.” Lecrae has won seven Dove Awards, one of which was Artist of the Year in 2015.
Like Lecrae, Switchfoot, and Needtobreathe, Skillet is one of the Christian music artists who has gathered a large following outside of religious circles. A hard rock group started in the ‘90s, Skillet has changed their sound several times over the years. In the early ‘00s the group adopted a techno sound that lasted two albums. The band returned to a more traditional rock sound with their sixth album, “Collide,” in 2003. Since then, Skillet has been consistently releasing new rock music and finding new fans across the globe. The group has 10 albums in all, 2016’s “Unleashed” being the most recent. Skillet has won five Dove Awards and been nominated for several Grammys.
Big Daddy Weave
Somewhere between traditional worship music and country rock is Big Daddy Weave. The group has been growing its fan base exponentially since the release of its third studio album, “Fields of Grace,” in 2003. Big Daddy Weave has put out several well-received singles that have inspired millions like “Redeemed,” “What Life Would Be Like,” “The Lion and the Lamb,” and “Overwhelmed.” The band has received one Dove Award and two K-LOVE Fan Awards.
A five-time Female Vocalist of the Year, Natalie Grant has a voice unlike any other. Releasing her first album in 1999, the singer quickly made a name for herself. By the mid ‘00s, Grant had released several strong albums in “Awaken,” “Relentless,” and others. The artist has covered many classic Christian songs and recorded a lot of great originals. Her more iconic songs include “Held,” “In Better Hands,” and “Your Great Name.” Grant has acquired seven Dove Awards and six Grammy nominations.
We easily could’ve slid this classic Christian band in with our earlier list of favorite Christian Music Artists from the ‘70s to ‘90s, but they’ve technically released more work since 2000 than before. Not to mention how the band’s members have hopped around through the years. No matter which era of Newsboys has been your favorite, the group as a whole has been one of the most popular in Christian music history. In the early years, songs like “Shine,” “Something Beautiful,” “I’m Not Ashamed,” and “He Reigns” were all the rage. Having been formed in the late ‘80s, Newsboys has gone through a lot of changes in the kind of music it makes. The more recent albums have taken a more straightforward worship/rock angle. Some memorable songs from this time period are “Born Again,” “God’s Not Dead,” and “We Believe.”
There are so many other great Christian music artists we could’ve added to this list, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. You can find a lot of variety between these musicians that is indicative of the diverse sound being found in Christian music today. At the K-LOVE Fan Awards we aim to celebrate all that God is doing in the field of Christian entertainment. The K-LOVE Fan Awards brings together the biggest fans and the hottest Christian artists to create the ultimate fan experience. Find out how your family can attend by clicking below.