Chart Beat

Nia Allen Tops Gospel Airplay With 'Wait (2020)': 'It Is My Prayer That the Lyrics Will Provide Healing'

Nia Allen
Shakiria Howie

Nia Allen

Plus, for King & Country adds its 16th top 10 on Hot Christian Songs.

Singer-songwriter and worship leader Nia Allen banks her first leader on Billboard's Gospel Airplay chart (dated May 1), as "Wait (2020)," her first entry on the chart, ascends from No. 4 to No. 1. In the tracking week ending April 25, it gained by 14% in plays, according to MRC Data.

"Wait" is from Allen's six-song EP Every Nation, released last June. She penned the song with her father, Milton Ruffin.

"I wrote 'Wait' many years ago," Allen tells Billboard. "I was in the midst of making a decision and I didn't know what to do. I was walking down the street, and these lyrics came to my mind: 'I'm gonna wait until I hear from you ... I'll wait for you to see me through.' This is a song I've certainly had to live out. I've been singing it for years, and now the world is being exposed to it. So, for it to be No. 1 at Billboard is a huge honor. I'm excited, grateful and humbled all at the same time."

Adds Allen, "We're still in the midst of a pandemic, and people are hurting and looking for hope. It is my prayer that the lyrics of 'Wait' will provide healing and encouragement to all of those who are distressed and searching for answers."

Allen, a graduate of Boston's Berklee College of Music, is currently based in Los Angeles and recently received her doctorate of ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. She is working on her sophomore album.

"Wait" is the second rookie single by a solo woman to lead Gospel Airplay in a span of three weeks, after Jokia's "Yahweh" dominated the April 17-dated chart, marking the narrowest gap between No. 1s by women unaccompanied by other acts in the ranking's 16-year history.

The quickest prior turnaround was the five-month and one-week break between Yolanda's "Be Blessed," which led for three weeks starting in August 2005, and CeCe Winans' "Pray," which ruled for two frames in January 2006.

SWEET 16th: For King & Country, the duo of siblings Luke and Joel Smallbone, rolls up its 16th top 10 on the Hot Christian Songs chart, which blends airplay, sales and streaming data, as "Amen" ascends 11-9.

The fourth single from the pair's Burn the Ships LP gained by 3% to 5.5 million radio audience impressions and holds at its No. 9 high on Christian Airplay. It also drew 1 million U.S. streams and sold 1,000 downloads in the tracking week.

Burn the Ships bowed at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums in October 2018, becoming For King & Country's first No. 1 among six top 10s. First single "joy." reached No. 2 on Hot Christian Songs and led Christian Airplay for four weeks; "God Only Knows" also hit No. 2 on Hot Christian Songs while dominating Christian Airplay for 10 frames; and the title track rose to No. 3 on Hot Christian Songs and controlled Christian Airplay for five weeks.

For King & Country boasts the eighth-most Hot Christian Songs top 10s, dating to the chart's 2003 inception. Casting Crowns, MercyMe and Chris Tomlin share first place with 28 apiece.