Quality Christian Music: 17 Artists to Watch
Every summer, I compile a list of quality Christian artists that I think should be on your radar (and your playlists), if they aren’t already (see my lists from 2019, 2020, and 2021) . I try to choose artists who are both musically interesting and unapologetic about their faith – whose music is not ambiguously Christian but explicitly and sincerely, genuinely but not cheesy.
In making these lists, I try to focus on artists across a wide range of genres who are newer and under the radar, and who have released new music in the past year. I’m also looking for artists who make music in different countries around the world. This year’s list includes artists from the United States, Canada, Nigeria, Australia and the United Kingdom, for example.
There’s no shortage of great independent Christian music today, and I’m always on the lookout for who I should listen to. If there are any artists you recommend for future lists like this, please share them on the TGC Arts and Culture Facebook group.
In the meantime, discover the music of the 17 artists below (listed in alphabetical order). I have compiled a playlist sampler on Spotify and Apple Music which will give you a good introduction to their music. Give it a listen and if you like what you hear from a particular artist, dig deeper into their music online.
If Phoebe Bridgers wrote devotional songs, they might sound like Kelsey Breedlove. The young singer-songwriter, who has a powerful Christian testimony, writes authentic songs overflowing with love for Jesus and gratitude to God. She toured as part of One Big Family and she released her first EP, song from heavenin 2020.
Songs to sample: “Hyssop”, “Northern Lights”, “Promise of Life”, “Ravish”
Multitalented Will Carlisle composes refreshing and musically unpredictable songs about God and Scripture. His new EP, SHEMA vol. 1, who sings four Scriptures (Deut. 6:4-7; Ps. 150:6; Prov. 18:10; Rev. 4:8), spoke to me a lot this year. Carlisle, who serves as a worship and creation assistant at Christ Covenant Church in Atlanta, has the combination of strong faith and artistic bravery that makes me eager to see what he does next.
Songs to sample: “Rivers”, “My Father’s Arms”, “SHEMA (DEUT. 6.4-7)”, “PRAISE THE LORD (PSALM 150.6)”
A sort of cult supergroup, Colorvault combines the formidable talents of Eric Marshall of Young Oceans with Alf Bishai and Alex Taylor of Lower Manhattan Community Church. The result is a haunting sound that mixes techno beats, rhythmic electronics and lyrics that sound like psalms. It doesn’t look like it should work, but it does. Discover their first album, Faintreleased in 2022.
Songs to sample: “Dwell in Your House”, “Turn to Me”, “With Us Still”, “So Sure”
Raised in a Catholic family, Chris Cortes (aka Cortes) discovered gospel in high school and now produces gospel-infused lo-fi indie music. A staff member of Hope Church Toronto West, Cortes makes music that is both deeply personal (see 2019 HEADSPACE) and yet uplifting and encouraging for listeners around the world. Her most recent release is the 2021 song “Around”.
Songs to sample: “Daily”, “Tell me”, “Around”, “Feelings”
Canadian songwriter Elias Dummer, a former member of City Harmonic, is now a solo artist based in Hamilton, Ontario. He first came on my radar with a song called “The Gospel Is Rest”, which resonated with me even just in the title. Having collaborated with Sandra McCracken, Land of Color, Citizens and other CCM stars, Dummer’s music is refreshing in both musical diversity and lyrical depth.
Songs to sample: “The Gospel Is Rest”, “Kyrie Eleison (It’s Mercy We Need)”, “Echoing Holy”, “Enough”
If you’ve attended a TGC conference in recent years, chances are you’ve witnessed the cult-leading talents of Houston native Davy Flowers. Resident artist and songwriter at The Worship Initiative and worship leader at Watermark Community Church, Flowers (who also performed at TGC’s 2021 Advent concert) has just released her debut album, I was loveda collection of powerful, faith-filled hymns for the church.
Songs to sample: “Take Everybody”, “Oh But My God”, “To the Water”, “Grateful”
friend of the garden
Kevin Dailey is an extremely talented artist who releases music under the names Boone River (ambient instrumental) and Garden Friend, as well as producing for other artists (like Mark Barlow and his incredible 2021 album, Hymns and Soul). When I first heard Garden Friend’s “On a Cloud” from the 2022 EP of the same name, I was stunned. I can honestly say that nothing in Christian music sounds like that.
Songs to sample: “On a Cloud”, “Shine Shine”, “I Have Nothing to Fear”, “King Kong”
Land of Color is the duo of Gary Rea (from South Africa) and Thomas Ewing (from Colorado). Together they create an intriguing hybrid sound unlike anything I’ve heard in Christian music. Think African and American folk influences, with some echoes of Sting and Vampire Weekend, all in an adoring tone. Check out their phenomenal full album, Show me what it meansreleased last year.
Songs to sample: “Show Me What It Means”, “Morning Song”, “Run”, “Warriors”
Worship artist and songwriter born in the United States and raised in Canada, Joshua Leventhal creates music for religious congregations that is also musically rich and diverse – blending rock, folk and black gospel sounds to form “resolutely centered on the cross and awaiting hope”. He is worship leader at Main Street Church outside of Vancouver. Be on the lookout for his next LP, All of you leperslater in 2022.
Songs to sample: “Lion | Lamb”, “Washed”, “Jealous”, “L EP ERS”
Samuel Onwubiko (aka Limoblaze) is a Nigerian pioneer of Afro hip-hop on the world stage. Having collaborated with Lecrae, Da’ TRUTH and Andy Mineo, Limoblaze creates fresh and creative afro-gospel songs that inspire young people around the world. With five studio albums to his credit, the award-winning Limoblaze is as prolific as he is passionate. Discover his latest album, God’s favorite baby (2021).
Songs to sample: “Jireh (My Supplier)”, “Your Love”, “Sound of Victory”, “For Me”
Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Soucy
There are no categories for the music of Mr. and Mrs. Garrett Soucy (Garrett and Siiri Soucy), variously described on their website as “local honest-to-God music” and “lyrical lifeboat pulling souls from the sea”. ‘meta-modern wreck’. .” A father of 11 and pastor of Christ the King Church in Belfast, Maine, Garrett is also a writer for publications such as Plow and Theopolis. That the liner notes of their most recent album refer to Marshall McLuhan and were published on Modern reform tells you a lot about the uniqueness of this group.
Songs to sample: “Diamond in a Woman’s Cheek When She Speaks”, “Health Not Deprived of Pleasure”, “Love as the World Has Never Known”, “No American Saviour”
After spending 15 years in ministry, including on the staff of Willow Creek during the painful season the Bill Hybels scandal unfolded, James Paek is ready to “start over” as an artist exploring healing and life. raw honesty through faith-based music. Last fall you may have seen him as “Kingston Sol” on the Fox reality show alter egoand now Paek is preparing his first EP, leave us (a nod to Exodus), produced by Tyler Chester (Jon Foreman, Madison Cunningham) and James Krausse (Half Alive).
Songs to sample: “Start Over”, “Young Love”, “Exit Us”, “Life’s Reward (Anthem for the Weary)”
The “happy rap” of Isaac Peabody (aka PEABOD) is a breath of fresh air. His dynamic wordplay and infectious cheer may give off some youth group vibes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Positive rap isn’t always cheesy. I want fun music like this, not only for my kids, but also for me. Seattle-based PEABOD, who also works at Northwest University, has released a four-song EP, Mad!earlier this year.
Songs to sample: “Alive”, “Heavenly Father” (with Cochren & Co. and Resound), “Love Everybody” (with Tedashii), “Ok” (with Hollyn)
I discovered Leslie Perez through my Spotify playlist “Release Radar”, and the algorithm was delivered! Perez, 20, from Twin Cities, has a voice that immediately stands out. It’s like Amy Winehouse meets Lana Del Rey, but with God-oriented lyrics. Like Kelsey Breedlove, Perez recently toured as part of One Big Family. His first EP When will we learn to let go? released earlier this year.
Songs to sample: “cure”, “letting go”, “loved me more”, “river” (cover by Leon Bridges)
Pyramid Park, which describes itself as “deep indie pop”, is the musical nickname of Pete McAllen, who began his musical career at 11, after the death of his father. Although homemade (literally in his garage in the UK), McAllen’s music is brilliantly produced, with spacey electronica/dance/80s vibes that sometimes evoke Pet Shop Boys, Gorillaz and MGMT. Her most recent release is a 2021 EP, /ənɒm(ə)li/.
Songs to sample: “You Got Me”, “Never Let Me Down”, “Ride Me”, “Shining Heart”
This Australian-based trio is made up of Nathan Staggers, Rory Mckenna and Sam Adebajo. Formed in 2019, the band takes its name from both the Tekoa desert in 2 Chronicles 20:20 and the Hebrew word for trumpet (tekoa)—an instrument that figures prominently in the band’s eclectic sound. Citing influences from Bon Iver to Billie Eilish, Tekoa has just released their debut EP, Anthems + Disparity.
Songs to sample: “Yahweh Elyon”, “Altar”, “To Be Known”, “No One Like You”
Raised in San Diego by Nigerian and British immigrant parents, TEMITOPE is a cult artist, educator and activist who now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. The name originates from the Yorùbá tribe in Nigeria and means “mine is praise” – befitting an artist whose songs are energetic, highly singable anthems of unapologetic worship. Discover his new EP, MẸRINreleased earlier in 2022.
Songs to sample: “THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE”, “GREAT IS YOUR LOYALTY”, “COME DO WHAT YOU DO”, “BE THIS ONE”