The Christian music industry is huge. It’s difficult to believe that there are still bands and musicians that haven’t established themselves in the market. However, several Christian musicians have been around for decades, some not known outside the religious community. You’ll learn about the top 20 Christian bands and performers from this blog post!
In 1985, Peter Furler and George Perdikis formed the Christian rock group Newsboys in Mooloolaba, Australia (occasionally spelled newsboys). The band, located in Nashville, Tennessee, has released 17 studio albums, six of which have received a gold certification. Lead vocalist Michael Tait (previously of DC Talk), drummer and percussionist Duncan Phillips, pianist, and bassist Jeff Frankenstein, and guitarist Jody Davis make up the band as of 2019. The band has appeared in the movies God’s Not Dead, God’s Not Dead 2, and God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, in addition to making music.
2. Casting Crowns
Casting Crowns was formed by youth pastor Mark Hall in 1999. Casting Crowns, their self-titled debut album, was released in 2003. The band’s music is influenced by modern worship music, and they have released six studio albums thus far: Casting Crowns, Lifesong (2005), Peace on Earth (2007), Until the Whole World Hears (2009) Until We Have Faces (2011), and The Very Next Thing (2017).
3. For King & Country
Luke and Joel Smallbone, two brothers from New Zealand, established For King & Country in 2007. They are best known for their song “Shoulders,” which was released on their self-titled debut studio album in 2011 and stayed at No. 1 on Christian radio charts for the entirety of 2011 and 2012. Since then, they’ve put out five more studio albums, including Run Wild and Live Free. Love Strong.
4. Chris Tomlin
Contemporary Christian music performer Chris Tomlin has been active since 2001. Most of his songs are written and sung with the Passion movement. He’s played a significant role in the Passion movement and has had several Top 10 singles on various Christian charts. He received a Dove Award nomination for “New Artist of the Year” in 2002 and won a Grammy for his song “Good Good Father” in 2010.
MercyMe is an American contemporary Christian music group that in 1994. Its members are vocalist Bart Millard and guitarist Michael Tait. The two were born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. The band released six studio albums before going on hiatus from 2008 to 2014, with their seventh album being released posthumously after Tait’s death in 2013.
NEEDTOBREATHE is an American contemporary Christian music group formed in Seneca, South Carolina, in 2003. The band currently consists of Bear Rinehart (lead vocals/guitar), Seth Bolt (bass), Bo Rinehart (banjo, piano/keyboards), and Josh Lovelace (drums). The band has released six studio albums: Daylight, The Heat, The Hardway, The Reckoning, Rivers in the Wasteland (2014), and Hard Love.
7. Jeremy Camp
Jeremy Camp is a Christian rock singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, where he spent his childhood attending church and playing sports. In the 1990s, Camp moved to Michigan, where he attended Hope College before starting his music career. Camp has had multiple number-one singles on the Christian charts and has released twelve studio albums now.
8. Third Day
Third-Day is an American Christian rock band from Chicago, Illinois, formed by brothers Michael Tait and Trevor McNevan in 1979. They formed the band in junior high school and released their first studio album in 1991. Their current lineup includes lead singer/guitarist Michael Tait, bassist Monte Wynne, guitarist/keyboardist Joel Houston, and drummer Ryan Talbot. Third-Day has sold over 8 million albums worldwide, including three consecutive platinum releases: Roar (1992), Resurrection (1999), and The Storm (2001).
9. Tenth Avenue North
From Wilmore, Kentucky, Tenth Avenue North is a group of modern Christian musicians who are presently headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The band consists of lead vocalist Mike Donehey, guitarist Jeff Owen, bassist James Mead on bass guitar, and drummer Ben Cissell. They’ve released six studio albums since their inception.
10. Matthew West
Matthew West is a Christian musician and songwriter born in Texas and grew up in Florida. His music style goes towards the worship genre but can be considered Christian rock. He has also released two spoken word albums.
Skillet is an American Christian rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. The band started as a solo endeavor in 1996 for singer/guitarist John Cooper before being joined by guitarist Seth Morrison in 2000. They released their first self-titled album in 2001, followed by the live album Welcome to the Dawn (2002). They have released five studio albums, including Comatose (2004), Invincible (2007), Awake (2011), and Unleashed (2017).
12. Hillsong Music
Hillsong Music Australia is an Australian contemporary Christian music (CCM) group. The group was founded by Brian and Bobbie Houston in 1983 and currently consists of multiple worship teams in Sydney, Australia, as well as international campuses. Hillsong has released 11 live albums, 30 studio albums, and 53 music videos at this time.
American rock group Switchfoot hails from San Diego, California. The group was founded by lead singer vocalist/guitarist Chad Butler and drummer Tim Foreman. They have released eight studio albums, including the best-selling The Beautiful Letdown (2006). Switchfoot has sold over five million albums worldwide.
14. Michael W. Smith
Michael W. Smith is an American contemporary Christian music artist, musician, and songwriter. He has 15 studio albums available, the most successful of which is The Wonder of It All (2002). Smith appeared on the popular “Praise & Worship” album series by Integrity Music. He was awarded a Dove Award for “Worship Leader of the Year” in 2011.
15. Sanctus Real
Sanctus Real is an American contemporary Christian music group from Colorado Springs, Colorado. It consists of lead vocalist/bass guitarist Dan Haseltine, drummer/backing vocalist Chris Sligh, and guitarist/keyboardist Jason Royce. The most well-known of the group’s four studio albums is Souls Aligned (2005), which held the No. 1 spot on “Billboard”‘s Top Contemporary Christian Albums chart for 19 weeks and sold 95,000 copies in its first week.
16. Matt Redman
Christian worship leader, songwriter, and author Matt Redman is from England. At age 15, he began penning songs and has since penned over 100 songs for his albums and other artists. He’s also released three solo albums and several live worship albums.
17. Big Daddy Weave
American contemporary Christian musician Big Daddy Weave is a music group from Nashville, Tennessee. The band was formed in 1999 by James and Leigh Nash as a duo before Ericrate joined the group. They’ve also released two EPs and one-holiday album.
18. Jars of Clay
American Christian rock band Jars of Clay hails from Chicago, Illinois. The band was formed in 1992 and consisted of vocalist/guitarist Dan Haseltine, bassist/backing vocalist Corey Patterson, guitarist/keyboardist Chris Powell, and drummer Nathan Nockels. Their most successful album was The Delay (2003), which reached No. 4 on the “Billboard” 200 charts. Jars of Clay has released 15 studio albums, including three Christmas and two greatest hits compilations.
American Christian rock group Kutless hails from Medford, Oregon. The band’s lead singers started it in 1993, Jon Micah Sumrall and guitarist/keyboardist Danny Kennedy. Sumrall is the only continuous member since the band’s inception, while the others have changed over time. Seven studio albums have been issued by the group, with their most popular one being: Refuge (2001), which reached No. 21 on the “Billboard” 200 charts and five × Gold certifications by the RIAA.
NF is an American electronic dance music project from Bay Shore, New York. The group consists of producers Nicky Fox, Todd La Jaramillo, and Carl Gallagher. Their most successful release was the highly successful single “Let You Go” (2009).