In 2010, NRT's Founder, Kevin McNeese, wrote about the bleak situation of female artists in Christian music (read that article here). While an update on the charts is still being written, the overall consensus is that female-led music is enjoying its best years in the industry. In fact, since that article was written, there have been some incredibly stellar performances from female vocalists both new and established.
I've purposely composed this list based on the impact of these 10 female vocalists who have stood out over the past year. If you haven't checked them out already, I highly recommend listening to the vocal performances on the songs listed below, released in 2017 and 2018. These songs will bless you in your time of worship to our Lord as you "sing to the Lord a new song" (Psalm 96:1) with amazing offerings by all of these artists. God bless!
2. Kari Jobe Kari Jobe's version of "Revelation Song" alone puts her on the list. Her contributions with Gateway Church and Bethel Music ("Forever"), her Grammy-nominated Majestic (2014) and her most recent release The Garden (2017) keep taking her music ministry up a notch with each release. Watch Kari singing "Let Your Glory Fall:"
3. Tiffany Lee (Plumb)
In listening to Plumb's journey over the past few albums, you can hear how her life and faith is reflected in her art. On her 2015 album Exhale, you can hear Tiffany's vertical expressions of relying completely on God for His breath and Holy Spirit to sustain her. Plumb's eighth release God Help Me EP (2017) follows the success of her previous albums Need You Now and Exhale. Those albums featured the hit songs "Need You Now," "Don't Deserve You," "Lord I'm Ready Now" and "Exhale." The songs on God Help Me continue with similar high caliber declarations of dependence on God. See a video of Plumb singing "God Help Me" below.
4. Amanda Cook Bethel Music's Amanda Cook has a deep desire to create worship music that goes beyond the usual boundaries of the genre. You can hear Amanda's anointed, emotive and prophetic worship in Bethel's "I Will Exalt" from Be Lifted High, "You Make Me Brave" and "Shepherd" from You Make Me Brave and "You Don't Miss a Thing" from We Will Not Be Shaken. Amanda's debut solo worship album Brave New World is also an excellent set of songs that focus on asking God to truly inhabit our inner being. Recent release "Starlight" expresses the heart cry and hope of the believer: "You come in close, oh, even as I wait, You come in close." Here's a video of Amanda leading "Starlight:"
5. Kristene DiMarco
From "Break Every Chain" to "It is Well" and "I Will Follow You," Bethel's Kristene DiMarco has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. Her name means "be steadfast for Christ," and her new album beautifully captures that sentiment. The theme of Jesus being found in the waiting and reigning as the King of our hearts weaves its way through many of these compelling songs on Where His Light Was (2017). Kristene sings "Take Courage" in the video below.
6. Melodie Malone
Melodie is a worship leader and a member of Passion Music. Melodie demonstrates her passionate singing in the songs "Forever," "Simple Pursuit," "Holy Ground" and "Reckless Love." Here's audio of Melodie singing "Reckless Love" from Passion's new album Whole Heart.
7. Emily Hamilton (For All Seasons) For All Seasons' Emily Hamilton has pure and strong vocals that remind me of Christy Nockels and Plumb. I consider Emily someone to watch based on For All Seasons' debut album Clarity (2018) with the standout songs "Higher," "Bigger Than" and "No Other." Here's the lyric video of Emily singing "No Other:"
8. Hannah Kerr
New artist Hannah Kerr displays the strongest vocals I've heard in years on her debut Overflow (2017). Her passionate pop vocals are pure and exciting in her standout songs "I Stand Here," "Your Love Defends Me," "Radiate" and "Warrior." Watch Hannah singing "Warrior" below.
9. Kerrie Roberts Kerrie Roberts is a uniquely gifted singer/songwriter with a big voice that is memorable and dynamic yet intimate. Kerrie Roberts has once again captivated me with her worshipful songs and created one of the top worship albums I've ever heard with Boundless (2017). This album brings me closer to God and provides offerings of praise and worship rooted in His love. It was one my top 10 worship albums of last year. Here's the lyric video of Kerrie singing "Echo of the Ages:"
10. Kim Walker-Smith
For many years now, ever since the first album We Cry Out, the ministry of Jesus Culture and Kim Walker-Smith has been a way to put Scripture into the minds, hearts and mouths of believers everywhere in a fresh and creative way, ushering us into a place of reverence and awe of God. On My Side (2017) is loaded with that type of adoration, leading listeners into God's presence with the standout songs "Brave Surrender," "Throne Room," "You Define Me" and "Fresh Outpouring." Experience Kim singing "Throne Room" below.
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.
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