Music spreads a message for all people. Christian artists use it to spread the Gospel. Despite their own beliefs, many use their music to bring people together.

Music spreads a message
Music spreads a message
Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Musicians share stories through melodies. They write ballads accompanied by songs. Once released to the world, this music speaks to the masses. Christian artists have used this talent to spread the word of the Gospel. Whether they categorize their genre as Christian or not, most all want their music to touch everyone. That’s the beauty of music. 

A few Christian artists to add to your playlist include NF, Shane and Shane, Skillet, Red, and For King and Country. Songs by several of these bands and artists are for Christians and non-Christians alike—music is to be enjoyed by everyone. This variety of artists covers rap, contemporary worship, rock, and pop. 

NF—A Christian Who Raps

Mansions: one of NF's most vulnerable albums
Mansions: one of NF’s most vulnerable albums
Photo by Mithun V on Unsplash

NF is a rapper who was first known for his Christian albums at the start of his signing. Religious radio stations like KLove play his music, recognizing him as a Christian artist; however, NF does not think of himself to be a Christian artist. He considers himself a rapper who happens to be a Christian. His music is for people of all faiths.

Often, his songs are raw with emotion and easy to relate to. Everyone goes through their struggles and finds the light. He raps about his conflicts, being completely open with listeners in the “Mansion” album. This kind of vulnerability in music is crucial to convey the message.

NF writes for everyone
NF writes for everyone
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One of his notable songs, “Let You Down,” has lyrics that paint a picture. NF raps, “Feels like we’re on the edge right now/I wish that I could say I’m proud/I’m sorry that I let you down/Let you down” – an internal monologue a lot of us experience. Most everyone has felt that sinking feeling when we let someone down. It doesn’t feel great, but the mistake is easier to accept when we hear others share their story. 

If you’re looking for a more religious song, check out, “Oh Lord.” It’s directly about God. Most importantly, it’s about the internal battle many religious folk experiences during hardship. In the chorus, he raps, “Oh Lord, oh Lord, do You see us down here?/Oh Lord, oh Lord.” The song perfectly captures the clash. While he asks God if he’s there, NF later shows his frustration with those who only turn to God when it suits them, and his aggravation is heard in his tone. It’s about having faith in God on good days and bad.

Other Songs to Check Out:

  • “Mansions”
  • “If You Want Love”
  • “Lost in the Moment”
  • “When I Grow Up”

Shane and Shane—a Contemporary Duo

Shane and Shane's acoustic music allows for easy listening
Shane and Shane’s acoustic music allows for easy listening
Photo by Derek Truninger on Unsplash

This pair of Contemporary artists, Shane Everett and Shane Barnard, are from Texas.  Their melodies never fail to be relaxing and soft with the beauty of an acoustic guitar. It’s easy to get lost in and great after a stressful day.

Music by the duo focuses on the Gospel, putting the stories into song. Other songs are more traditional. The Biblical Book of Psalms inspired both the “Psalms 2” album and the “Psalms Live” album.

Each song in “Psalms 2” focuses on a different story and allows listeners to experience it in a new form. In “Psalms 23”, “Surely goodness, surely mercy/Right beside me all my days/And I will dwell in Your house forever/And bless Your Holy Name” is sung in an ever-calming voice. With minimal instruments, the song embraces listeners in clarity. 

Other Songs to Check Out:

  • “Lord of Hosts”
  • “Though You Slay Me”
  • “I Will Wait For You”
  • “Psalms 139”

Skillet—Christian Metal Band

Skillet's songs are great for lovers of rock
Skillet’s songs are great for lovers of rock
Photo by Luuk Wouters on Unsplash

This hard-rock, Christian band recently released its newest album, “Victorious. Like most of their songs, those on “Victorious” carry the hard beats that entice many rock lovers. After years of writing music, their goal continues to be bonding with all people through music.

While they’ve gone through various band members, they continue to be successful and write enjoyable rock songs. Over the course of releasing ten studio albums, the band has won platinum, silver, and gold records. Many of their singles have also earned different awards.

Some songs have music videos that illustrate a story just as much as the lyrics do. Music videos breathe life into the lyrics. The animated music video to the song “Not Gonna Die” from the “Rise” album depicts a lion helping a young girl battle a hydra. Symbolism was critical to the power of this video. The girl represents humanity, the hydra being problems and the lion is Jesus. Skillet uses this to tell listeners that even when our problems seem monstrous, God will help us through all our hardships.

Other Songs to Check Out:

  • “Rise”
  • “Hero”
  • “Feel Invincible”
  • “Legendary”

RED—Christian Rock and a Dash of Acoustic

Red has a variety of music
Red has a variety of music
Photo by Caleb George on Unsplash

Like Skillet, Red is a Christian-Rock band, but they also release a fair amount of acoustic music. The band came together in the early 2000s as Michael Barnes befriended Anthony and Randy Armstrong (twin brothers) then added Jasen Rauch to their group. While they’ve gone through several drummers over the years, their beat remains unchanged.

Interestingly, the band has taken some of their hard-rock songs and made them acoustic. This creates an entirely different emotion for listeners. A favorite example is “Nothing and Everything” and “Fight Inside.” Both songs have the same lyrics, but the band considers these two different songs and gives them separate titles.  While “Nothing and Everything” seems to have a mysterious feel, starting with piano and adding string instruments, contrastingly, “Fight Inside” uses electric guitar and drums with a dash of the piano. 

Like many of the discussed artists, Red has released songs inspired by the Gospel, but it tends to be allusive. In “Let it Burn,” Barnes seems frustrated as he questions his relationship with God while also discussing the Book of Revelation. The repeating lyric cries out, “Will you just let it all burn down?” A question many have asked when things seem bleak, especially in a year like 2020, that’s been unkind.

Other Songs to Check Out:

  • “Breathe Into Me”
  • “Pieces”
  • “Hymn For The Missing”
  • “Darkest Part”

For King and Country—Christian Pop

For King and Country always has an upbeat feel
For King and Country always has an upbeat feel
Photo by William White on Unsplash

Brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone are from Australia but were raised in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2012, Billboard said For King and Country was among the “New Artists to Watch.” The pair has won four Grammy Awards since then. 

Their music has a fun beat that invites listeners to sing along. They fall into the alternative-rock genre, but their music is much softer than bands like Skillet and Red. The two have also done songs with some well-known artists like Dolly Parton in the song “God Only Knows.”

Their song “God Only Knows” remains one of the duo’s top hits on Billboard. It begins with a reverb effect before a steady beat comes in. The lyrics remind listeners that they’re never alone: “God only knows what you’ve been through/God only knows what they say about you/God only knows how it’s killing you/But there’s a kind of love that God only knows.” The song creates a sense of comfort in the understanding that no matter what, they’re loved. 

Other Songs to Check Out:

  • “Burn The Ships”
  • “Fix My Eyes”
  • “Priceless”
  • “It’s Not Over Yet”

Harmonies bring people together. In the same way, the stories we read do. Even though the listed artists all sing songs about God, none consider themselves to be for one group of people. Most of these sings aren’t direct about how their religious songs are Christian, and all have they want their music to find all people. The beauty of music is that there are infinite ways to interpret it.