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Michael W. Smith Hits Hot Christian Songs Top 10 With 'Waymaker': 'It Brings the Audience to a Special Place'

Michael W. Smith
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

Michael W. Smith performs onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XXV on March 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The format staple earns his first non-holiday top 10 in 16 years.

Veteran singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith returns to the top 10 of Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart, as "Waymaker," featuring Vanessa Campagna and Madelyn Berry, lifts 12-10 on the list dated March 14.

The song scales the streaming-, sales- and airplay-based ranking with 395,000 U.S. streams and 2,000 sold in the tracking week, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. On Christian Airplay, it holds at its No. 11 high, with 6.7 million audience impressions.

"Waymaker" marks Smith's fourth Hot Christian Songs top 10 and first since "All Is Well" (featuring Carrie Underwood), which hit No. 6 in December 2014. He earns his first non-holiday top 10 since 2004, when "Healing Rain" reached No. 5.

(The chart launched in 2003, long after Smith had established himself as a format superstar. He has also enjoyed pop crossover success, led by his No. 6 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Place in This World" in 1991, as well as the top 40 Hot 100 hit, and No. 1 Adult Contemporary single, "I Will Be Here for You" in 1992.)

"Waymaker" marks the first chart entry for both Campagna and Berry.

"'Waymaker' is a very special song that moves people," Smith tells Billboard of the song written by Osinachi Okoro. "From the first time I played it at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena in 2018 to now, it just brings the audience to a very special place. I feel incredibly blessed to help people experience this song and am thankful for all of my friends at radio for helping spread the message. It's already made a huge impact on the worship scene, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here. I'm just so very thankful for this opportunity to sing this song across the world."

Meanwhile, it's not uncommon for multiple artists to record versions of the same song in the Christian genre, mainly because they're sung in churches all over the globe. This week, three interpretations of "Waymaker" appear on Billboard's Christian charts.

Along with Smith's collaboration, Christian rock band Leeland's live version ranks at No. 18 on Hot Christian Songs, with 1.7 million streams, 725,000 in radio reach and 2,000 sold, and Mandisa's take places at No. 44, led by 570,000 in airplay audience.

Previously, Chris Tomlin's "Good Good Father" topped Hot Christian Songs for seven weeks starting in February 2016, after worship group Housefires' version peaked at No. 29 in July 2015.

Plus, Aaron Shust took "Ever Be" to No. 3 on Christian Airplay and No. 11 on Hot Christian Songs in August 2016, after Natalie Grant's recording had reached No. 37 on Christian Airplay that April.

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