Friday, June 29, 2018

How Can It Be Platinum

Lauren Daigle's debut album, How Can It Be, is one of only five albums in the Christian genre to attain Platinum status since 2003, and the first from a female artist since 2001.

How Can It Be was quite an introduction for Daigle, who has received critical acclaim and recognition as the fastest-selling new artist for her genre of the decade. 

Last year she crossed genre lines when she was featured on the soundtrack of  Bladerunner 2049, as well as on country music legend Reba McEntire's album. In addition, Daigle was recognized on two of Forbes' 30 Under 30 lists.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Zach Williams Has a Gold "Chain Breaker"

Earlier this year Zach Williams' "Chain Breaker" became RIAA Certified Gold. Earlier this week in Nashville, Williams was presented with the official gold plaque, surrounded by his family and fellow songwriters Mia Fieldes and Jonathan Smith.

When it released in the early fall of 2016, "Chain Breaker" was an instant hit, holding the #1 spot at radio for an astounding 15 weeks. The song was then followed by "Old Church Choir," which became the most successful Christian radio single in over a decade, maintaining #1 at radio for 20 weeks and was the second longest running #1 single in Billboard's Christian radio history, naming Williams the first debut artist to have two back-to-back #1 singles. His current single, "Fear Is A Liar," continues to stay in the top of the radio charts as well, currently holding at #2. The songs are all featured on Chain Breaker, Williams' GRAMMY Award-winning debut.

Last evening in Nashville, Williams was awarded by BMI with a Citation of Achievement for "Chain Breaker," recognizing the song for its national popularity and reach. Just prior to the BMI Awards, Williams performed at the Historic Ryman Auditorium in front of a sold-out audience, closing out his set with the anthemic hit song.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Former United Pursuit Artist Michael Ketterer Receives Golden Buzzer on America's Got Talent

Former United Pursuit member, current Influence Music member and solo artist Michael Ketterer's America's Got Talent audition. The part-time worship leader and pediatric nurse won the audience with his soulful performance of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody," causing judge Simon Cowell to hit the golden buzzer and automatically advance Ketterer to the live shows.

As the confetti rained down on Ketterer, a husband and father to one biological daughter and five sons adopted from foster care, his family ran out to celebrate with him as Cowell joined him on stage for a hug and words of encouragement: "Something about your voice- I genuinely mean it - is special. Everything was perfect." 

In addition to his place as a solo artist and former member of United Pursuit Band, Michael and his wife recently helped found Influence Music, an independent worship collective and label born out of Influence Church in Anaheim, California, where the Ketterer family now resides. Influence Music's debut album released at the end of May and features several songs from Michael.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The third-biggest movie in America this weekend was I Can Only Imagine

The third-biggest movie in America this weekend was I Can Only Imagine, a movie that shares a title with a Christian song that first charted 17 years ago. It’s a retelling of the story of MercyMe's Bart Millard (played by newcomer J. Michael Finley) and his journey to forgive his abusive, alcoholic father (Dennis Quaid), as well as his father’s movement toward faith before his death.

Directed by brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, whose previous movies like Mom’s Night Out, Woodlawn, and October Baby were modest box office successes, I Can Only Imagine startled many by hauling in over $17 million, making more than $10,000 per screen and beating A Wrinkle in Time in its second weekend. That means it’s the seventh-biggest faith-based film opening ever (the fourth if the Narnia films don’t count), and the biggest since Heaven Is For Real in 2014.

There are a few reasons that I Can Only Imagine did well, and the biggest is the song that inspired the movie. It tells the story behind the most successful  contemporary faith song that was ubiquitous on Christian radio — and eventually crossed over to mainstream radio.

Vox argues that movies for the faith-based audience can be broken into three main categories. One is the inspirational category, more uplifting than specifically evangelistic, to which I Can Only Imagine belongs, along with high-performing movies like Heaven Is For Real, War Room, and The Shack.

Another is stories based on the Bible, with movies like The Passion of the Christ and Son of God. And the third is movies that are essentially political in nature, like the God’s Not Dead movies.

On the Friday before Palm Sunday, Paul, Apostle of Christ will open in theaters and start competing with I Can Only Imagine for the faith-based audience. The film stars Jim Caviezel, who is best known among the faith-based audience for playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ (and reportedly will reprise his role in an upcoming sequel).

And on Good Friday, God’s Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness, the third installment in the God’s Not Dead series, opens in theaters. In this one, a pastor discovers that his church has burned down and that the university on which it was housed is using this as a reason to move the church off campus.

The God’s Not Dead series is hugely popular — and, like I Can Only Imagine, takes its title from a song, this time from the Christian rock band the Newsboys — and will pose stiff competition to the other two films.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

MercyMe, Blake Shelton and Craig Morgan Join Trace Adkins For "Jammin' To Beat The Blues"

Country star Trace Adkins has not only cemented his status as a country music icon, he has also made it his mission to help important causes throughout his career. Adkins serves as a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project and the American Red Cross and has participated in 12 USO tours. Adkins will team up with Craig Morgan, Blake Shelton and MercyMe – as well as previously announced performers Jason Crabb and High Valley – on March 21 at the Ryman in Nashville to benefit Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee.

Adkins is currently on tour with Shelton and collaborated on the No.1 hit “Hillbilly Bone,” which won the 2010 ACM Award for “Vocal Event of the Year” and was RIAA Platinum-certified. One of the most visible and constant ambassadors of country music, Shelton  continues to serve as a coach on NBC’s The Voice, with Adkins currently serving as his team advisor.

A multi-faceted entertainer, Morgan has made a name for himself as a country music star, TV personality, celebrated outdoorsman and patriotic Army veteran. Twenty-five of his hit songs have climbed the Billboard chart, including the four-week No. 1, “That’s What I Love About Sunday.” Prior to his successful career in country music, Morgan spent seventeen years serving our country in the Army and Army Reserves and has since made 14 overseas trips to perform for our servicemen and women.

Rounding out the latest lineup is multi-Platinum selling band MercyMe. The contemporary Christian band made history in 2014 as “I Can Only Imagine” became the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. Almost There, the album containing the hit, recently received triple-platinum certification from the RIAA. MercyMe is currently on a nationwide tour and just unveiled I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best of MercyMe, coinciding with the soon-to-be-released film I Can Only Imagine, in which Adkins plays MercyMe’s real-life manager, Scott Brickell.

“Never have I been surrounded by more talent," says Adkins. "I am thrilled and honored to welcome these three talented artists to the line-up!”

Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee's mission is to connect the community with specialized mental health and wellness resources, provide services that improve the quality of life, and promote effective services where mental health needs exist.