Women in Christian Music: This One's for the Girls
- Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Regarded for the vulnerability communicated in her art, Groves recently released "Just Showed Up for My Own Life" (INO). It’s an engaging, documentary-style DVD that’s a natural extension of "Beauty," illustrating Groves’ personal transformation toward advocacy. She says this “paradigm shift, this heart change” is about being in greater community with the body of Christ. “It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
The writer of 1 Timothy exhorts, “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” Bethany Dillon and BarlowGirl are shining examples.
Dillon resembles a sort of prodigy singer/songwriter whose lyrics belie her youthfulness. A self-described tomboy from rural Ohio, she released 2004’s "Bethany Dillon" (Sparrow) at the age of 15, scoring big at radio with the No.1 single “All I Need” and the Top 10 hit “Beautiful.” Her second record, last year’s "Imagination" (Sparrow), landed her song “Dreamer” in the motion picture by the same name, put Dillon on the cover of CCM and further exhibited that she’s a blue-chip talent.
“I think I’m grateful that I still feel like one of the kids in my family,” Dillon says, reflecting on her achievements. “I’m happy all this has happened, but, if all of it ended tomorrow, I’m glad that family has been maintained.” On the edge of 18 years old, there’s little doubt Dillon’s best is yet to come.
While Dillon may be in good company as a solo pop artist, all-female rock bands remain a rare musical commodity. In the Christian genre, Moses had more visions of God than we’ve had girl bands. So kudos to Chicago’s BarlowGirl. Sisters Lauren (drums), Alyssa (guitar/piano) and Rebecca Barlow (bass) – each in their 20s – were 2004’s best-selling new artist with "BarlowGirl" (Fervent). Earlier this year “I Need You to Love Me” became the band’s second No. 1 cut off its sophomore effort, the Otto Price-produced "Another Journal Entry" (Fevent). Simultaneously taking very public stands for sexual purity and related causes, BarlowGirl has emerged as an example to girls and boys alike.
“I think it’s a given that we are role models for girls,” Lauren Barlow says. “But I think just as many guys who come to our shows say, ‘I look up to you because you’re standing for purity and I’m standing for that, too.’”
Salt and Light
Top female Christian artists work effectively to engage larger culture, too, carrying a hopeful message to the marketplace of ideas.
Sisters Erica and Tina Campbell formed Mary Mary and released their extremely popular debut album, "Thankful," in 2000. The duo has been at the top of the charts practically from day one with what are now signature gospel harmonies and polished urban beats. Their string of major crossover radio hits has included “I Sings,” “Shackles (Praise You)" and “In the Morning.” After taking a break to focus on family life, last year Mary Mary returned with a magical third, self-titled project and two more radio hits – “Heaven” and “Yesterday.” Among a truckload of accolades, the duo recently earned an American Music Award.
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