The songs of Christian music artists are probably not what you think they are. With hard-rocking, upbeat, complex melodies and harmonies, Christian music features both musical innovation and the lyrics of the spirit and the soul. Fans of Christian music artists are among the most loyal, keeping their favorite albums on the charts for years.
- Skillet. Memphis has added much to the American music scene far beyond the tuneful stylings of Elvis and the blues. This popular Christian group also hails from Tennessee. Founded in 1996 by husband and wife Jeff and Korey Cooper, Skillet has eight albums to its credit, including 2009's "Awake," which has been sitting on the Billboard charts for more than 100 weeks. The band may not exactly fit the stereotype for Christian music artists—it is known for bringing pyrotechnics and flame jets to its concerts. Skillet recently landed the song "Awake and Alive" on the soundtrack for the major motion picture "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."
- Casting Crowns. A GRAMMY-award winning Christian band, Casting Crowns has released five albums since its founding in 2003. Its most recent work, "Until the Whole World Hears," spent more than 90 weeks on the Billboard charts after its release in November 2009. Casting Crowns' lead singer and songwriter is Mark Hall; he and the band have produced 23 DOVE awards and eight No. 1 singles.
- Sidewalk Prophets. Admit it—you're jealous of this band's name—which, you have to admit, is pretty cool for a musical group of any kind, much less one known for its Christian music. Founded by friends Ben McDonald and David Frey, the group got its start playing mass at Anderson University in Indiana, which they attended together. That was eight years ago, and now the band is one of the hottest performers in Christian music. Their album "These Simple Truths" spent more than 75 weeks on the Billboard charts following its release in 2009. The band mixes traditional worship music and original songs during performances.
- TobyMac. This Christian music artist can truly say he's done it all. TobyMac has embarked on a solo career after an impressive run with the band dcTalk that produced four GRAMMY awards and sales of more than eight million albums. Each of TobyMac's first three solo albums resulted in GRAMMY awards; total sales of those albums have now topped two million. TobyMac's most recent release, "Tonight," has spent more than 71 weeks on the Billboard Christian music charts.
- Sanctus Real. With multiple GRAMMY and DOVE award nominations, Ohio-based Sanctus Real made an impact on the Christian music scene almost as soon as the band was founded. Its music harkens to very personal life stories of lead singer Matt Hammitt and his family—specifically, the struggles of their son, Bowen, who was born with a congenital heart problem. Sanctus Real's album "Pieces of a Real Heart" has spent more than a year on the Billboard music charts.