Although Christian music is widely known for its imposing diversity in source, style and theme, contemporary inspirational music aimed at Mormons gives the genre an added dimension, as veteran artist Hilary Weeks becomes the first such act to debut in the top 10 on Billboard's Christian Albums list. With more than 4,000 copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan, the artist's eight album "Every Step" (Shadow Mountain) opens with Hot Shot Debut honors at No. 6. Previously, the highest rank for such an artist happened when Weeks' fellow artist Jenny Oaks Baker peaked on opening week at No.26 in May 2010 with "Then Sings My Soul."
Weeks is headlining the current women and youth tour, "Time Out for Women."
Despite the fact that the internationally renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir has been a staple on Billboard's religious and classical music charts since the 1950s-alongside other well known artists that happen to be members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), such as Marie Osmond and Gladys Knight-Weeks' career has been spent making music specifically for Mormon audiences. Her first solo album was released in 1996, and she has been honored multiple times by the Utah based Faith Centered Music Assn. (FCMA) at the group's annual Pearl Awards. That group reportedly suspended its awards activities last year, and is planning to relaunch at some point in the future.
Worldwide LDS church membership stands at approximately 14 million (a majority of those outside the U.S.), but the Mormon music market is driven by a small but thriving cottage industry, whose major retail arm is the church-owned book publisher and retailer Deseret Book, which has approximately 30 retail locations, mostly in the western U.S.