The metal world gasped a bit when founding Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch announced he was leaving the band due, at least in part, to his conversion to Christianity and the fatigue he felt from chasing money and success. Korn had sold more than 11 million albums and was in the middle of signing a new deal when Head made the announcement and followed it with a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land and songwriting for his solo debut due later this year.

After scoring one of the biggest hit albums in music history with 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (her first solo project after leaving the seminal urban alternative band The Fugees), Lauryn Hill disappeared from the music scene and buried herself in Bible study and personal discipleship. She re-emerged as an artist clearly more concerned about sharing spiritual truth with her audience than scoring more hits. Her Unplugged 2.0 album was certified Platinum before Hill disappeared from the public eye again. Then, in 2004 she wrote and recorded “The Passion” for The Passion of the Christ: Songs compilation and the following year reunited with The Fugees to release a single.

The Portland-based folk/alternative/ country band Dolorean has been earning rave reviews from mainstream press such as the New York Times and The Onion while believers, like author Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz, Searching for God Knows What), have been trumpeting main lyricist and vocalist Al James as a must-hear. Though frequently dealing with spiritual matters and biblical themes, the “Christian Artist” tag has never stuck to James or his band.

Few bands have had as obvious, and as ignominious a departure from the Christian market as Mute Math. Though three members had been in Sparrow Records’ Christian alternative act Earthsuit, their primary vision for Mute Math had been for the general market from the beginning. As soon as they saw themselves getting pegged as a “Christian band” (thanks to their simultaneous marketing and distribution agreement with Word), Mute Math immediately cut ties with their Christian distributor and actually began legal proceedings.

According to, the unique vocal stylings of Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo came to its founder, Joseph Shabalala, in a dream that he had before becoming a Christian and pastor. The haunting, yet hopeful sound attracted the attention of Paul Simon who single-handedly launched the band to international fame when he featured them heavily on his 1987 album Graceland. The band continues to tour and record music that is both traditional and progressive at the same time.

Few metal bands made it to as many Christian black lists as Dave Mustaine’s Megadeth in the ’80s. The band’s brutal sound and overwhelming heaviness was the perfect soundtrack to a culture in decline. When Mustaine became a Christian, it was probably the most rebellious thing he could do. He has continued to hone Megadeth and has released several albums that reflect his Christian worldview, even if they don’t sound like typical Christian metal.

Though still a relative newcomer, the deep-voiced and warmly traditional Josh Turner scored one of the biggest hits of the last few years with the smash single “Long Black Train.” The lyric, informed by his deep faith and his own personal struggle with temptation, won over Christian, folk and country audiences alike. When Turner visited CCM’s offices three years ago, he told the magazine’s staff his biggest role models of “faith in mainstream music” are Johnny Cash and Randy Travis. Though Turner reportedly investigated some potential deals with Christian labels early on, he landed with MCA Records and continues to rack up awards and nominations from CMT, ACM, the GRAMMY®’s and more. With sales of more than 1.5 million copies, his sophomore effort, Your Man, landed at No. 5 on Billboard’s Best-Selling Country Album of the Year list for last year.