Tori Kelly & Avril Lavigne Segue From Pop to Gospel, Christian Charts

David Needleman; Myriam Santos; Design by Tracy Allison
Avril Lavigne and Tori Kelly

Kelly's "Hiding Place" launches at No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums & Lavigne's "Head Above Water" debuts in the Hot Christian Songs top five.

Tori Kelly's first faith-based album, Hiding Place, arrives as her first No. 1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart (dated Sept. 29) with 15,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Sept. 20, according to Nielsen Music.

The LP is Kelly's second, following 2015's pop release Unbreakable Smile. She co-wrote four of the new album's tracks with gospel music stalwart Kirk Franklin, who also co-produced the set.

"This album is so close to my heart and a huge dream of mine," Kelly tells Billboard. "Hearing the responses to Hiding Place, and how it's touching people's lives, has moved me so much. My hope is that people continue to be encouraged and feel loved when they hear it."

All eight songs on the set chart on the airplay, streaming and sales-based Hot Gospel Songs survey, led by "Never Alone," featuring Franklin (6-2). As "Psalm 42" debuts at No. 3 and "Help Us to Love," featuring The Hamiltones, surges 18-4, Kelly joins Lecrae (in 2014) as the only artists ever to boast three of the chart's top five simultaneously.

A fellow pop singer-songwriter segues to the religious charts, as Avril Lavigne's "Head Above Water" launches at No. 5 on Hot Christian Songs, fueled by 10,000 first-week downloads sold, good for a No. 2 start on Christian Digital Song Sales. Co-written by Lavigne with Travis Clarke and Stephan Moccio, the song recounts Lavigne's battle with Lyme disease.

Lavigne makes her first visit to the Christian charts after banking 19 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 since 2002, including five top 10s, led by 2007's pop-punk No. 1 classic "Girlfriend."