At the end of every year, I always love to reminisce and look back at all that happened over the past 12 months. A lot of things happened in the world, and a lot of things happened in the music industry. We mourned the loss of several musicians, but we also celebrated new life and success.
2021 was a busy year filled with news and announcements, and 2022 looks pretty promising, too. Today, we're going to be highlighting the top 10 news stories of 2021 as we anticipate the new year.
Amy Grant Performs on The Kelly Clarkson Show
Amy Grant performing on The Kelly Clarkson Show was one of the biggest moments of 2021. Amy has been releasing songs for over 40 years, and she's a six-time GRAMMY Award-winner. She has left a lasting impact on music, so much so that Kelly Clarkson asked Amy to appear on her show. Amy performed her 90s smash hit "Good For Me," and it blew up the internet. Fans went crazy over it, and Kelly Clarkson even loved the performance.
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but the We Love Christian Music Awards is my favorite awards show. Not just because I work for NewReleaseToday, but also because I love how the We Love Awards puts independent and signed artists side by side. It's important to recognize both the big-name artists and the lesser-known ones, and the We Love Awards does that. The 2020 awards show was incredible, and so many great artists performed. Even during a strange time of COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, NewReleaseToday made the best of it, and the result was an amazing show recognizing the best Christian artists in the business.
GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame Member, CARMAN, Dies at Las Vegas Hospital
On February 16, 2021, the world lost one of the most impactful artists in Christian music. Carman passed away in a Las Vegas, Nevada hospital after fighting a series of complications resulting from surgery to repair a hiatal hernia. Although Carman is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through his music. His songs are still available on all streaming platforms, allowing listeners to enjoy his music for many more years to come.
Amy Grant Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame
Amy Grant practically dominated our news page in 2021. Aside from her performance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, she also was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. To honor the big induction, Amy's husband Vince Gill took the stage and sang her song "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)." Even though Amy is over 40 years into her career, this year proved that she still has a lot of ammunition left in her.
This year was a challenging one for the guys in Big Daddy Weave. Jay Weaver had to come off the road to focus on his health, so the band decided to ask their fans for prayer. Initially, his family thought he might need to undergo finger amputation, but he was discharged without needing the amputation. Big Daddy Weave's fans came through and surrounded Jay and his family in prayer. Prayer is a powerful weapon, and it was amazing to see this huge prayer answered.
From American Idol to The Voice, a lot of Christian artists were spotlighted on national television this year. (I'm looking at you, Jeremy Rosado.) One of the many artists who got a spot on TV was Jamie Grace. When Jamie Grace was only 19, TobyMac discovered her music and signed her to his label Gotee Records. She's come a long way since then and even started releasing music independently in 2020. To add to her accomplishments, in 2021, she got to audition for American Idol. Jamie Grace is an absolute force in Christian music.
Another challenging loss the music industry had to face in 2021 was the death of Casting Crowns' former drummer, Andy Williams. Andy was hit by a vehicle on his motorcycle and was in severe condition. On July 9, 2021, he passed away. In the face of the tragedy, Casting Crowns' frontman Mark Hall shared some wise words with their fans on social media, "While we mourn that Andy isn't here with us and that we didn't get to witness the miracle we longed for here on earth, all of our prayers were answered." Andy's life and death showed the world that God still answers prayers, even if it's in ways that we don't expect.
Following up the announcement that Jamie Grace auditioned for American Idol, she shared that she won a golden ticket and would be going to Hollywood to continue the show. Although her time on the show ended during Hollywood Week, it was an experience of a lifetime for Jamie. (She even won in a 1-on-1 competition against Ryan Seacrest!) I know this isn't the last we'll hear from her. Jamie is still releasing podcasts, and she's a blast to follow on social media. We'll have to keep our eyes on her to see what else she has in store!
'The Chosen' Considers New Christmas Special for 2021
The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season TV show series about the life of Christ, and it has become a global phenomenon. People all over the world are talking about it, and fans have fully funded the show. Earlier this year, I fell in love with the show, and I had the honor of talking with Elizabeth Tabish (Mary Magdalene) about it. During our conversation, she hinted that The Chosen was considering a new Christmas special for 2021. What started as a rumor soon became reality, and The Chosen released a beautiful new episode about the birth of Jesus. (Watch it here!)
Luke And Courtney Smallbone Announce Birth Of Fourth Child
On January 8, 2021, Luke Smallbone from for KING & COUNTRY and his wife Courtney welcomed their fourth child, Evie Joy, into the world. After dealing with a previous miscarriage, their baby Evie Joy truly did bring some joy into their lives. "A few years back we lost a baby, so this girl (I'm now holding) redeems so much in our hearts," Luke shared. The birth of their daughter was an exciting way to start 2021, and now in 2022, for KING & COUNTRY will be celebrating the release of their upcoming album What Are We Waiting For? Bring on the new year.
Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is NRT's news editor, and one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author, loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.
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