Lauren Daigle, Billboard‘s top female Christian artist of 2015, continued her roll in 2016, as the 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Lafayette, Louisiana, is the overall top Christian artist of the year (and, thus, repeats as top female).
Chris Tomlin is Billboard‘s top male Christian artist of 2016, Hillsong United/Hillsong Worship rank first in the duo/group category and Hillary Scott & The Scott Family reign as the top new Christian artist.
Daigle’s victory as the year’s top Christian artist accompanies a host of other accolades she banked in 2016, including three wins at the 47th annual Dove Awards, held Oct. 11 in Nashville, including the biggest of the night, for artist of the year. She also claimed honors for songwriter (artist) and best pop/contemporary song of the year, for “Trust in You” (more on the track’s year-end chart domination in a moment).
Daigle also received her first Grammy Award nomination, for best contemporary Christian album for How Can It Be. The 2017 Grammy Awards take place on Feb. 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“Wait … what?,” is how Daigle reacted upon hearing the news that she’s Billboard‘s top Christian artist of 2016. “Just so you know, I’m driving, and as you said that, I just pulled over and parked. I had to take my seatbelt off, turn around and just pause a second.
“You know, my goal is always to just do my best and hope that the people who find my music also find God in the process.”
How Can It Be, Daigle’s first full-length, is the year’s No. 2 title on Top Christian Albums. It houses her first Hot Christian Songs No. 1, “Trust in You,” which topped the survey for 18 weeks beginning on March 26. It ranks at No. 2 on the year-end Hot Christian Songs chart.
“Trust” does one better on the year-end Christian Airplay ranking, as it crowns the list following its nine-week reign (which began April 9).
‘HAPPY’ NEWS: In the world of gospel music, Billboard‘s No. 1 overall and male artist of the year is Kirk Franklin. The year’s leading female is Tasha Cobbs. Anthony Brown & group therAPY rank No. 1 in the duo/group category and Todd Dulaney is the top new artist.
Franklin’s “Wanna Be Happy?” is No. 1 for the year on Hot Gospel Songs. It bowed at No. 1 on the chart dated Sept. 19, 2015, and held at the summit for 45 weeks, the second-longest reign in the chart’s 11-year history, after Marvin Sapp‘s “Never Would Have Made It” (46 weeks, 2007-08).
Franklin’s “Happy” is also the year’s No. 2 song on Gospel Digital Song Sales, after logging 19 weeks at No. 1. The chart’s top title of 2016 is Anthony Brown & group therAPY’s “Worth,” which tallied 33 weeks at No. 1 (beginning June 20, 2015).
Meanwhile, Franklin’s Losing My Religion is the year-end No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums, having rolled up 14 weeks at No. 1 (starting Dec. 12, 2015).
‘KING’ RULES: The No. 1 hit on Gospel Streaming Songs for 2016 is Tamela Mann‘s “Take Me to the King.” Mann is the year’s No. 2 female gospel artist and No. 8 overall.
Female gospel artist of the year (and No. 5 overall) Tasha Cobbs owns the Nos. 2 and 3 positions on the year-end Gospel Streaming Songs chart, “Break Every Chain” and “For Your Glory,” respectively.