Chart Beat

The Year in Christian Charts 2020: Lauren Daigle Extends Her Reign

Lauren Daigle
Kate Sweeney

Lauren Daigle photographed on Oct. 4, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.

Also: We The Kingdom has a royal year, finishing 2020 as the top new Christian artist.

As she did in 2018 and 2019, singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle continues to dominate the contemporary Christian music landscape as she repeats as Billboard’s Top Christian Artist of 2020. She is also the top female artist of the year in the genre.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts dated Nov. 23, 2019, through Nov. 14, 2020. The rankings for Nielsen Music/MRC Data-based year-end recaps reflect equivalent album units, airplay, sales or streaming during the weeks that the titles appeared on a respective chart during the tracking year. Any activity registered before or after a title’s chart run isn’t considered in these rankings. That methodology detail, and the November-November time period, account for some of the difference between these lists and the calendar-year recaps that are independently compiled by Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2020 Year-End Charts

The 29-year-old Louisiana native has not delivered new music during 2020, yet her mega-crossover Christian and pop hit “You Say” continued to reign on the Christian charts in 2020. Daigle has also stayed present through the year of the pandemic, allowing her large fanbase to stay in touch through social media. In May, she posted a “social distancing” video version of “You Say” on YouTube and other platforms.

“You Say,” which was written by Daigle with her trusty collaborators Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, is the No. 1 title on the Hot Christian Songs year-end tally for the second straight year.

Daigle also places two titles in the top five on the year-end Top Christian Albums list: Her latest set, 2018’s Look Up Child, is at the summit, while her 2015 breakthrough album How Can It Be ranks at No. 4. (Look Up Child was the year-end No. 1 in 2019 and 2018, while How Can It Be was No. 1 in 2017.)

Child flew in at No. 1 on the weekly Top Christian Albums chart dated Sept. 22, 2018, and at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200, with 115,000 equivalent album units earned, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Child, which has spent more than 80 frames in the penthouse, broke the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on the weekly chart during its 39th week at No. 1. On the list dated July 20, 2019, Child passed Switchfoot's album The Beautiful Letdown, which ruled for 38 frames in 2004-05.

On Hot Christian Songs, “You Say” has spent the bulk of 2020 atop the chart, which is powered by streaming, airplay and sales. Minus only two weeks in July, “You Say” has dominated the chart all year. On the lists dated July 11 and 18, “You Say” was ranked at No. 2, while Kanye West and Travis Scott’s “Wash Us in the Blood” topped the chart. “You Say” resumed its No. 1 run the next week and continued to roll on.

As for “You Say,” it is now the longest-running No. 1 title on the weekly Hot Christian Songs chart. It nudged past the former longest-running track, Hillsong United’s "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail),” when “Say” rolled into its 62nd week at the apex. “Say” extended its record and has now spent more than 112 weeks at No. 1.

As for its extent into pop, “Say” has also posted a two-week command on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at No. 29 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

During 2020, Daigle extended her top 10 total to 12 on Christian Airplay as one of the tracks from Child, “Still Rolling Stones,” reached No. 5 in July.

The leading Christian male artist of 2020 is Kanye West, who also leads the way as the year’s Top Gospel Artist.

West’s first spiritual album, Jesus Is King, is the No. 2 set on the Top Christian Albums year-end list, and the track “Follow God” is No. 2 for 2020 on Hot Christian Songs. Jesus Is King arrived atop Top Christian Albums, Top Gospel Albums, as well as the Billboard 200 on the tallies dated Nov. 9, 2019, with 264,000 equivalent album units earned in its first week. The set marked the biggest unit week on Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums since Billboard began measuring the weekly popularity of albums by equivalent album units earned in late 2014.

On the Hot Christian Songs chart dated July 11 this year, West’s “Wash Us in the Blood,” featuring Travis Scott, became his second No. 1 when it bowed atop the tally and stayed there for two weeks.

The No. 2 male artist of 2020 is singer-songwriter Zach Williams, whose duet with country legend Dolly Parton, “There Was Jesus,” led Christian Airplay for five weeks starting in September. It awarded Williams with his third leader and the first for Parton. The hit is the No. 8 song on the Christian Airplay 2020 list.

The No. 1 Christian Airplay title and No. 2 on Hot Christian Songs for 2020 is family act We the Kingdom’s debut single “Holy Water.” The act is Billboard’s top new Christian artist of 2020. “Water” reigned for four weeks on Christian Airplay beginning on the survey dated March 14.

The group is comprised of brothers Ed and Scott Cash; the former's daughter Franni and son Martin; and friend Andrew Bergthold.

We the Kingdom have tallied two straight leaders on Christian Airplay; second single “God So Loved” led for a week in October. “Holy Water” and “God So Loved” reached Nos. 2 and 4 on Hot Christian Songs respectively.

Plus, Billboard’s top duo/group of 2020 is the worship music collective Elevation Worship, which wins the honor for the first time.

Elevation Worship’s LP Graves Into Gardens is No. 7 on the year-end Top Christian Albums list. The album opened at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums in May with 16,000 equivalent album units, granting the act its fifth No. 1.

The group’s hit “See a Victory,” which peaked at No. 5 on Hot Christian Songs in June and No. 5 on Christian Airplay, ranks at No. 10 on the Hot Christian Songs year-end tally.