Only the best music artists reach the national Billboard charts. Check out the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have made it there!
Photo from the Deseret News
Hilary Weeks made Billboard history in 2011 when she became the first Latter-day Saint to ever reach Billboard's Christian Albums Top 10 chart with her album Every Step. Two years later, her album Say Love debuted at #9 on the Contemporary Christian Billboard Charts.
Of these accomplishments Weeks said, "Breaking the top 10 on the Christian Billboard charts for a second time is an exciting surprise! For me, the most important word in the prior sentence is 'Christian.' It has only been in the last two years that I've been able to say that I charted on Billboard, but I've always been able to declare I am a Christian."
Watch this touching video of her song "Beautiful Heartbreak" off her Every Step album, which landed on five Billboard charts, including the #1 spot on the "Top New Artists Indie" chart and #6 on the "Top Current Contemporary Christian" chart:
Photo from Shadow Mountain Records
This "gentlemen trio" from Utah—tenors Casey Elliott, Brad Robins, and Bradley Quinn Lever—met while performing in a production of Les Miserables. Their self-titled debut EP, GENTRI, spent 10 consecutive weeks in the top 10 on two different charts, including three weeks at #2 on both the "Classical" and "Classical Crossover" charts.
Their Christmas album, Merry Christmas,also made a splash when their unique and stunning mashup of "What Child Is This?" with "I Wonder As I Wander" earned GENTRI the #1 spot on Billboard's "Hot Single" chart. Check out their performance of the mashup here:
Bonus: GENTRI's new full-length album, Rise, has just been released. It features their trademark soaring vocals and "cinematic pop" orchestral backing of eight original songs and two cover songs. Their charismatic approach to music comes through in their careful crafting of songs that truly take the listener on a journey, from exciting tracks like "Outbreak" and "In a Blaze" to tender love songs like "More" and "Nothing But You." Their cover of Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" is a moving moment of introspection, and their unforgettable arrangement of "The Rose" revisits a timeless song with a universal message of love and hope.
The Piano Guys
Photo by Josh Rossi, courtesy of The Piano Guys
Who can get millions of views each day YouTube by performing classical music with a piano and a cello? Steven Sharp Nelson, John Schmidt, Al Van der Beek, and Paul Anderson—four Latter-day Saint dads otherwise known as The Piano Guys. Famous for their mashups of classical and pop music, their videos also features breathtaking cinematography. Their first four major-label albums The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys 2, A Family Christmas, and Wonders each reached #1 on the "New Age Albums" and "Classical Albums" charts.
The Piano Guys, who call themselves “brothers in the gospel,” have traveled the world to share their gifts, and recently performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall, an experience they describe as “intimidating, humbling, inspiring, unbelievable—unforgettable.”
“It’s an incredible feeling to dream of doing something so ‘out there,’ then working hard towards it, and relying on Heavenly Father to make up the difference,” Paul Anderson says. “He has answered so many prayers. We owe everything to Him. We consider ourselves lucky and blessed to be along for the ride!”
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Check out their amazing mashup of "Amazing Grace" and "This Is My Fight Song" below!
Photo from MTV
The Osmonds got their start in entertainment in the late 1950s when Alan, Merrill, Jay, and Wayne began singing locally as a barbershop quartet. A few years later, they were invited to perform at Disneyland.
After Andy Williams's father saw them on a televised Disney special, he told his son, the host of the popular variety program called The Andy Williams Show, to book them. The Osmond Brothers appeared regularly on the program throughout the '60s, with younger brother Donny joining the group at age 6. By the time Donny Osmond was a teenager, he had become a worldwide heartthrob and one of the most popular and successful stars in the history of pop music.
During the '70s, the Osmonds shifted to pop music and later to rock-and-roll, playing to throngs of screaming fans. In 1971, the Osmond Brothers earned their first #1 hit with "One Bad Apple." Donny's first solo single, "Sweet and Innocent," also released in 1971 and rose to #7 on the Billboard pop charts. The follow-up, "Go Away, Little Girl," went all the way to #1. Between his own and the Osmond Brothers recordings, he was awarded six gold records that year. The following year, he took home eight, and another four in 1973. Marie also began to build a successful solo career. At just 13 years old, she hit the top of the country music chart with "Paper Roses" in 1973 and continued to have several Billboard hits throughout the '70s and '80s.
Donny's musical career experienced a resurgence when "Soldier of Love," from his album by the same name, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. In total, he has had 18 albums and 32 songs reach the Billboard charts.
More recently, Donny and Marie released Donny & Marie. Donny also released The Entertainer in 2010 and The Soundtrack of My Life in 2015—his 60th album, which serves as a summary of his extraordinary life so far. Each track on the album tells a story, tracing the high and low points of both his professional and personal life from becoming a child star to achieving multiple #1 hits and selling over 100 million records.
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Photo from We Got This Covered
Most people are surprised to learn that one of today's most successful and sought-after DJs is a a member of the Church.
Ryan Raddon, aka Kaskade, is probably the hottest music phenom you've never heard of. In 2011, the New York Times declared the Grammy-nominated DJ/music producer the "new face of electronic dance music." This faithful Church member and father of three married his wife, Naomi, after serving his mission in Japan. Kaskade fills stadiums all over the world and commands a salary of more than $200,000 per night. (Yes, you read that right.)
He's had five songs reach the Billboard "Hot Dance Airplay" chart, including his #1 hits "Move for Me" and "I Remember."
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square
Photo from Mormon Newsroom
We're used to hearing them sing at general conference, but did you know the Tabernacle Choir makes regular appearances on the Billboard charts?
The choir, which started recording in 1910, first hit the Billboard charts in 1959 with their rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which climbed all the way to #13 on "The Hot 100." Since then, they have had 13 albums hit #1 on one or more of Billboard's "Classical," "Classical Crossover," and "Christian" charts, including This Is the Christ, Glory! Music of Rejoicing, Heavensong: Music of Contemplation and Light, and He Is Risen.
Did you know? The Tabernacle Choir has also recorded several #1 hits made popular by other artists, including Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and "Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel)" by Billy Joel (both found on Men of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), as well as "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and "What a Wonderful World" by Louie Armstrong.
Jenny Oaks Baker
Photo from Shadow Mountain Records
The daughter of apostle Dallin H. Oaks, Jenny Oaks Baker is one of the world's most successful violinists. She's released albums covering everything from Disney tunes to rock classics, and many of them have ended up on Billboard charts, including her 2010 album Then Sings My Soul, her 2012 album, Noël: Carols of Christmas Past, and her 2014 album Classic: The Rock Album.
Her 10th album, Wish Upon a Star: A Tribute to the Music of Walt Disney, was nominated for the 54th Grammy Awards’ Best Pop Instrumental Album. The album is a compilation of Disney classics such as “God Help the Outcasts” and “Beauty and the Beast,” arranged by Emmy-winning composer Kurt Bestor.
Classic: The Rock Album features classic rock favorites like "Stairway to Heaven" (Led Zeppelin), "Sweet Child of Mine" (Guns and Roses), and "Yesterday" (The Beatles). Her upcoming album, Awakening, will be released at the end of April.
Speaking with LDS Living about her music she said, "When I perform music that is uplifting and edifying, I feel the Spirit very powerfully. I hope that people who hear my music can feel this Spirit and it brings them peace, comfort and joy. I hope my music can touch hearts and help people feel the love of The Lord. My favorite thing to hear from the audience as a performer is not the applause—it is the tears."
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Baker performed as a first violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra for seven years before resigning in 2007 to devote more time to her family. Jenny and her husband have four children and reside in Utah.
Photo from TODAY
After coming in a close 2nd place on the seventh season of American Idol, David Archuleta's first single, “Crush,” debuted at #2 on the "Hot 100" chart and sold nearly 2 million copies. His self-titled debut album also debuted at #2 on the "Billboard 200" chart. His 2010 album, The Other Side of Down, reached #13 on the "Billboard 200" chart, and his 2012 album, BEGIN, reached #28.
In 2012, Archuleta put his music career on a two-year hiatus to serve a mission in Chile. (In the DVD David Archuleta: Called to Serve, you can see the pop star proselyting on the streets of Chile, as well as hear why he decided to serve and how his faith directs every decision in his life.)
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After he returned from his mission, Archuleta recorded "Glorious" for the 2014 documentary Meet the Mormons. Watch him perform it below:
Photo courtesy of Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight's epic musical career spans more than six decades. In fact, over the years, she's had 28 albums and 35 songs reach the Billboard charts.
Knight began singing at age 4, and at just 7 years old had her first taste of fame when she won Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour TV show contest in 1952. The next year, she, her sister Brenda, her brother Merald, and cousins Eleanor and William Guest formed a musical group called the Pips—named after her cousin, James “Pip” Woods.
After some changes in band members, Gladys Knight & the Pips eventually enjoyed several hit singles, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Friendship Train,” “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong," R&B chart-topper and Grammy-winning “Midnight Train to Georgia,” as well as “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The group amicably disbanded in 1989, with the Pips retiring and Knight embarking on a successful solo career. (They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.)
In 1991, Knight released a successful solo LP, Good Woman, which hit #1 on the "R&B Album" chart and featured the #2 R&B hit "Men." She has also won four Grammy Awards.
Knight joined the Church in 1997. Her desire to add “a little something” to Church music eventually inspired her to create an all-volunteer, multicultural latter-day Saint choir that would bring a new level of energy and cultural awareness to traditional hymns. The choir, called the Saints Unified Voices, is comprised of more than 100 people and has a two-fold purpose. First, they aim to spread the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ by providing an opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise enter an Latter-day Saint meetinghouse to feel the Spirit. Second, they desire to help members of the Church embrace the cultural diversity of people worldwide coming into the Lord’s kingdom. “Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would be the director of a choir like this—one that showcases the energy, the fire, and the heart of the music of our culture,” she told LDS Living. Gladys Knight & the Saints Unified Voices won a Grammy Award in 2005 for their album One Voice.
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In 2014, Knight completed a new solo album titled Where My Heart Belongs—a heartfelt mix of gospel and inspirational songs. “This is my testimony,” she says of the album. “I wanted to remind people of Christ and what He’s done for us. We need to be reminded all the time of His grace, His mercy, His love, and the way back home.”
Photo from the Salt Lake Tribune
When Paul Cardall was born in 1973, doctors only gave him days to live.
“When I was born, the doctors said I had half a heart,” he told LDS Living. “And essentially, that was right.”
Cardall, who was born with congenital heart defect (CHD), says doctors didn’t know if he had long to live. His tiny heart was missing the tricuspid valve (a condition called tricuspid atresia), a vital passageway that carries blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Without it, the heart cannot properly oxygenate blood for the rest of the body. Cardall pulled through—when he was 22 hours old, doctors performed an open heart surgery that allowed him to live.
“I knew my heart had problems, and that was always in the back of my mind,” he says. “But my parents used it as a teaching tool. I’d always get priesthood blessings before treatments, and we came to see it as a blessing God gave us.”
Cardall received a heart transplant in September 2009. Now almost 43 years old, Cardall is a highly successful composer and pianist who's had seven albums hit Billboard's "Top New Age Albums" chart, with Sacred Piano reaching #5 and New Life and 40 Hymns for Forty Days hitting #1. His albums have also appeared on the "Top Christian Albums," "Top Independent Albums," and "Top Heatseekers" charts.