Art

Quality Christian Music: 17 Artists to Watch

Every summer I compile a list of quality Christian artists who I think should be on your radar (and playlists), if they aren’t already (see my lists from 2019, 2020and 2021). I try to pick artists who are both musically interesting and unapologetic about their faith—whose music is not ambiguously Christian but explicitly and sincerely so, in authentic yet non-cheesy ways.

In making these lists I try to focus on artists in a diverse array of genres who are newer and under the radar, and who have released new music in the last year. I also look for artists making music in different nations around the world. This year’s list includes artists from the US, Canada, Nigeria, Australia, and the UK, for example.

There’s no shortage of excellent indie Christian music today, and I’m always on the lookout for who I should be listening to. If there are artists you recommend for future lists like this, please share them on the TGC Arts and Culture Facebook group.

In the meantime, check out the music of the 17 artists below (listed alphabetically). I compiled a playlist sampler on Spotify and Apple Music that 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.


Kelsey Breedlove

If Phoebe Bridgers wrote devotional worship songs, they might sound something 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 has toured as part of One Big Family and she released her debut EP, Heaven’s Songin 2020.

Songs to sample: “Hyssop,” “Northern Lights,” “Promise of Life,” “Ravish”

Will Carlisle

Multitalented Will Carlisle makes refreshing, musically unpredictable songs about God and Scripture. His new EP, SHEMA vol. 1, which puts four Scriptures to song (Deut. 6:4–7; Ps. 150:6; Prov. 18:10; Rev. 4:8), has been on heavy repeat for me this year. Carlisle, who serves as a worship and creative assistant at Christ Covenant Church in Atlanta, has the combo of solid faith and artistic bravery that makes me excited to see what he does next.

Songs to sample: “Rivers,” “My Father’s Arms,” “SHEMA (DEUT. 6.4-7),” “PRAISE THE (PSALM 150.6)”

Colorvault

A worship supergroup of sorts, 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 spellbinding sound that blends techno beats, up-tempo electronica, and lyrics that sound like psalms. It doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does. Check out their debut album, Finereleased in 2022.

Songs to sample: “Dwell in Your House,” “Turn to Me,” “With Us Still,” “So Sure”

Cortes

Raised in a Catholic family, Chris Cortes (aka Cortes) discovered the gospel in high school and now produces gospel-soaked lo-fi indie music. On staff at Hope Church Toronto WestCortes makes music that’s both deeply personal (see 2019’s HEADSPACE) and yet uplifting and encouraging to listeners around the world. His most recent release is the 2021 song “Around.”

Songs to sample: “Daily,” “Say I,” “Around,” “Feelings”

Elias Dummer

Canadian songwriter Elias Dummer, formerly a 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 cooperated with Sandra McCracken, Land of Color, Citizens, and other CCM standouts, Dummer’s music is refreshing in both its musical diversity and lyrical depth.

Songs to sample: “The Gospel is Rest,” “Kyrie Eleison (It’s Mercy We Need),” “Echoing Holy,” “Enough”

Davy Flowers

If you’ve attended a TGC conference in recent years, chances are you’ve witnessed the worship-leading talents of Houston native Davy Flowers firsthand. A resident artist and songwriter at The Worship Initiative and a worship leader at Watermark Community Church, Flowers (who also performed at TGC’s 2021 Advent Concert) just released her debut album, I Was Loveda collection of powerful, faith-filled anthems for the church.

Songs to sample: “Take All the World,” “Oh But God,” “To the Water,” “Grateful”

Garden Friend

Kevin Dailey is an uber-talented artist who releases music under the monikers Boone River (ambient instrumental) and Garden Friendas well as producing for other artists (like Mark Barlow and his incredible 2021 album, Hymns & Soul). When I first heard Garden Friend’s “On a Cloud,” from the 2022 EP of the same name, I was floored. I can honestly say nothing in Christian music sounds quite like this.

Songs to sample: “On a Cloud,” “Shine Shine,” “Got Nothing to Worry About,” “King Kong”

Land of Color

Land of Color is the duo of Gary Rea (from South Africa) and Thomas Ewing (from Colorado). Together they create a fascinating 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 a worshipful key. Check out their phenomenal full-length album, Show Me What It Meansreleased last year.

Songs to sample: “Show Me What It Means,” “Morning Song,” “Running,” “Warriors”

Joshua Leventhal

An American-born, Canadian-raised worship artist and songwriter, Joshua Leventhal creates music for church congregations that’s also musically rich and diverse—blending rock, folk, and black gospel sounds to form”unapologetically cross-centered, hope-awaiting works.” He serves as the director of worship at Main Street Church outside Vancouver. Be on the lookout for his forthcoming LP, All Ye Leperslater in 2022.

Songs to sample: “Lion|Lamb,” “Washed,” “Jealous,” “L EP ERS”

Limoblaze

Samuel Onwubiko (aka Limoblaze) is a Nigerian pioneer in Afro hip-hop on the global scene. Having collaborated with the likes of Lecrae, Da’ TRUTH, and Andy Mineo, Limoblaze creates fresh, creative Afro-gospel songs that inspire young people all over the world. With five studio albums under his belt, the award-winning Limoblaze is as prolific as he is passionate. Check out his latest album, God’s Favorite Baby (2021).

Songs to sample: “Jireh (My Provider),” “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 “honest-to-God local music” and “lyrical rescue boat pulling souls from the meta-modern wreckage.” Father of 11 children and pastor of Christ the King Church in Belfast, Maine, Garrett is also a writer for publications like Plow and Theopolis. That the liner notes of their most recent album reference Marshall McLuhan and were published at Modern Reformation He tells you much about how singular this band is.

Songs to sample: “Diamond in the Cheek of a Woman When She Speaks,” “Wholesomeness Not Deprived of Pleasure,” “Love Like the World’s Never Known,” “No American Savior”

James Paek

After spending 15 years in ministry—including being on staff at Willow Creek during the painful season when the Bill Hybels scandal unfolded—James Paek is ready to”start again” as an artist exploring healing and raw honesty through faith-oriented music. Last fall you might have seen him as “Kingston Sol” on the Fox reality show Alter Egoand now Paek is now readying his debut EP, Exit Us (a nod to Exodus), produced by Tyler Chester (Jon Foreman, Madison Cunningham) and James Krausse (Half Alive).

Songs to sample: “Start Again,” “Young Love,” “Exit Us,” “Life’s Reward (Hymn for the Wear)”

PEABOD

The “happy rapof Isaac Peabody (aka PEABOD) is a breath of fresh air. His bouncy wordplay and infectious joy might give off 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 Universityreleased a four-song EP, Mad!earlier this year.

Songs to sample: “Alive,” “Heavenly Father” (feat. Cochren & Co. and Resound), “Love Everybody,” (feat. Tedashii), “Ok” (feat Hollyn)

Leslie Perez

I discovered Leslie Perez through my Spotify “Release Radar” playlist, and the algorithm delivered! The 20-year-old Perez, a Twin Cities native, has a voice that immediately stands out. It’s like Amy Winehouse meets Lana Del Rey, but with lyrics oriented around God. Like Kelsey Breedlove, Perez has recently toured as part of One Big Family. Her debut EP when will we learn to let go? released earlier this year.

Songs to sample: “remedy,” “let go,” “loved me more,” “river” (Leon Bridges cover)

Pyramid Park

Pyramid Park—self-described as “deep indie pop”—is the musical moniker of Pete McAllen, who started his music career at 11, after the death of his father. Though homespun (literally in his garage in the UK), McAllen’s music is slickly produced, with spacey electronica/dance/80s vibes that occasionally evoke Pet Shop Boys, Gorillaz, and MGMT. His most recent release is a 2021 EP, /əˈnɒm(ə)li/.

Songs to sample: “You Got Me,” “Never Let Me Down,” “Lead Me,” “Bright Heart”

Tekoa

This Australia-based trio consists of Nathan Staggers, Rory McKenna, and Sam Adebajo. Formed in 2019, the band takes its name both from the wilderness of Tekoa 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 just released their debut EP, Hymns + Disparity.

Songs to sample: “Yahweh Elyon,” “Altar,” “To Be Known,” “None Like You”

TEMITOPE

Raised in San Diego by Nigerian and British immigrant parents, TEMITOPE is a worship artist, educator, and activist who now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. The name originates from the Yorùbá tribe in Nigeria and means “mine is praise”—fitting for an artist whose songs are energetic, highly singable anthems of unabashed worship. Check out his new EP, MẸRINreleased earlier in 2022.

Songs to sample: “THAT’S WHAT I BELIEVE,” “GREAT IS YOUR FAITHFULNESS,” “COME DO WHAT YOU DO,” “BE THE ONE”

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