Contemporary Christian singer and songwriter
One of the most successful artists and activists within contemporary Christian music, Chris Tomlin is a Dove- and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and worship leader who has sold over seven million records. Emerging in the mid-’90s, Tomlin began his domination of the CCM charts in 2004 with the release of Arriving, which included the compositions “Holy Is the Lord,” “How Great Is Our God,” and “Our God” — three of the most popular contemporary songs in the world’s churches, sung by millions of Christians at worship services each week.
Born in Grand Saline, Texas, in 1972, Tomlin grew up listening to country music and learned to play guitar from his father (Tomlin has cited Willie Nelson’s Stardust as a key influence). At the age of nine, Tomlin accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, and at 14 wrote his first song of praise. He enrolled at Texas A&M in the early ’90s to study medicine, but as he heard the call to bring himself and others closer to God, he grew active in a campus Christian group called Breakaway. Tomlin was a worship leader with Breakaway when he began attending Bible study sessions with Louie Giglio, who led a Christian group at Baylor University in Waco called Choice.
In 2002, Tomlin moved to Austin, Texas, and became a pastor at Austin’s Stone Community Church, where he helped guide a congregation of 1,500. As Tomlin’s songs and recordings found a wider audience — his 2004 release Arriving took home the 2005 Dove Award for Praise & Worship Album of the Year — he was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2006 album See the Morning (which rose to number one on Billboard’s Christian albums chart and number 15 on the overall Top 200), but the songwriter continued to emphasize that his mission was more important than his own music.
Tomlin’s mainstream success continued in 2016 with a Grammy nomination (his eighth overall) and the release of a new studio album, Never Lose Sight, which reached number six on the Billboard 200.