What do Katy Perry, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, The Civil Wars and The Jonas Brothers have in common? They are all mainstream acts that are connected to Christian music in some way. Check out our surprising list below!
You know her as Katy Perry. Longtime Christian music fans know her as Katy Hudson. Perry grew up in a conservative Christian home in Santa Barbara, Calif. Her parents were, and still are, Pentecostal ministers, and Perry grew up singing in church. At 15, she started honing her skills and recording demos in Nashville, which led to her first record deal with the now defunct Red Hill Records. In support of her debut Christian album, which didn’t receive much acclaim, Perry toured with Bebo Norman, Phil Joel and LaRue, among others. The Sound Opinion’s own DeWayne Hamby posted a fascinating interview with 16-year-old Katy (Hudson) Perry on his personal blog. If you read nothing else today, read his interview with the young Perry here.
2. Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town)
Karen Fairchild was a part of several notable Christian groups before making it big with GRAMMY-winning country super group Little Big Town. She began her music career as a member of the ever-changing Truth line-up. Then, she became one-half of a duo with Point of Grace’s Leigh Cappillino, appropriately titled KarenLeigh. The duo produced two notable singles: “Save It for a Rainy Day” and “This Love Has.” Check out their moves in the video below.
3. Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts)
You know him as one-third of award-winning country trio Rascal Flatts, but Jay DeMarcus began his singing career in a Christian duo known as East to West. DeMarcus teamed up with fellow Lee University alum Lee Coomer to form the popular band that released two full-length projects in their time together. East to West had a No. 1 hit with “Prince of Peace” in 1994 and went on to achieve several additional Top 10 singles. The duo toured with other popular artists at the time, including Al Denson and 4HIM, before breaking up in 1997.
4. Joy Williams (The Civil Wars)
With the release of The Civil Wars’ self-titled sophomore release came much turmoil as the band is on an indefinite hiatus that looks more like the end than a much-needed break. Either way, the mysterious controversy has stirred up mainstream media for the duo’s Joy Williams. While she’s recently been featured in the pages of Elle, People, The New York Times and Rolling Stone and interviewed on NPR and “The Today Show,” the Santa Cruz-native who now calls Nashville home began her career while still in high school, signing her first record deal with Reunion Records at 17. She was Student Body President and graduated as the valedictorian of her senior class. Williams released three records with Reunion, which garnered her nearly a dozen Dove nominations. With the release of her third and final full-length, Genesis, in 2005, Williams was at the height of her career, with a string of solid radio hits and a loyal fan-base. That’s when she decided to terminate her recording contract to pursue other musical interests. She eventually was set up with duo partner John Paul White during a writing session on Music Row. The rest, as they say, is history.
Before they became a world-wide phenomenon, The Jonas Brothers were a sibling trio signed to INO Records (now Fair Trade Services). Their debut Christian album, It’s About Time, was a flop commercially, but the band of brothers was introduced to the Christian music industry through a showcase at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley, and the band also attended its first GMA Week (back in day!). I actually reviewed their first album when I worked as managing editor at CCM Magazine. The press kit I received for the album included “I heart” Nick, Joe and Kevin buttons. While the boys were polite, kind and cute, no one had any idea what was to come. Although the three siblings have always been vocal about their faith, fans rarely realize they ever had a Christian deal for a fleeting moment.