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The Year In Christian Charts 2021: Kanye West Rules, Lauren Daigle Is Top Female

The hip-hop superstar is also the Top Gospel Artist of 2021.

Kanye West reigns as Billboard’s 2021 Top Christian Artist as well as the top male artist. The hip-hop superstar is also the Top Gospel Artist of 2021. West wins the day on the muscle of his second faith-based album, Donda, which is No. 1 on the year-end Top Christian Albums tally.

In 2020, Lauren Daigle was the Top Christian Artist with West the runner-up, so basically the two stars play musical chairs this year with Daigle finishing second. She’s also the top female artist.

Concurrently “Hurricane,” from the Donda set, ranks at No. 2 on the year-end streaming-, airplay and sales based Hot Christian Songs chart for 2021 as well as the No. 2 track of the year on Christian Streaming Songs.

Billboard’s year-end music recaps represent aggregated metrics for each artist, title, label and music contributor on the weekly charts dated Nov. 21, 2020, through Nov. 13, 2021. The rankings for MRC Data-based 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 MRC Data.

Explore All of Billboard’s 2021 Year-End Charts

Let’s summarize: On the Billboard charts dated Sept. 11, Donda blasted in atop the all-genre Billboard 200 with 309,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Sept. 2, according to MRC Data. It marked West’s 10th Billboard 200 leader.

The set also scored the biggest unit week on Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums since both charts adopted a multimetric methodology in February 2017.

On Billboard’s faith-based surveys, Donda awarded West with his second No. 1 set. His first spiritual LP, Jesus Is King, crowned both lists, plus the Billboard 200. That album opened with 264,000 units, which was a record at the time on the two faith-based tallies. It led Top Christian Albums for eight frames and Top Gospel Albums for 67 weeks.

Plus, ever since West transitioned to spiritually themed music, he’s pretty much managed a takeover of Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs.

The week of Donda’s entrance, 23 of its tracks made history for West by monopolizing the top 23 spots on both the weekly Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs surveys.

As mentioned earlier, the No. 2 Christian artist of 2021 is 30-year-old singer/songwriter Lauren Daigle. Plus, she leads the female artist category for the third consecutive year.

Daigle’s crossover smash “You Say,” which she wrote with her longtime collaborators Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, is the No. 1 title on the Hot Christian Songs year-end tally for the third straight year.

“You Say,” which hit No. 1 in July 2018, has spent more than 130 weeks atop Hot Christian Songs and was in the ranking’s top three for the entire year.

“Say” is the only title to spend more than 100 weeks atop any of Billboard’s hybrid lists. On the chart dated Sept 5, 2020, as “Say’ hit its 100th week atop Hot Christian Songs, Daigle told Billboard: “When I was a little girl, I would dream of moments like this and upon hearing the news, I called my family. We laughed. We cried. We made jokes. We celebrated.”

“Say” is also the No. 1 title of the year on Christian Streaming Songs.

Meanwhile, Daigle’s “Hold on to Me,” which became her fifth Hot Christian Songs No. 1 in June, ranks at No. 1 on Christian Digital Song Sales for 2021.

The No. 2 Christian female artist is country superstar Carrie Underwood, who finishes at No. 3 in the overall artists column.

In April, Underwood’s My Savior LP bowed atop Top Christian Albums, as well as Top Country Albums, opening with 73,000 equivalent album units. Savior was Underwood’s second leader on Top Christian Albums, following the holiday album My Gift, which launched atop the survey last October.

On the 2021 Top Christian Albums list, My Gift is No. 2 and My Savior is No. 4.

Plus, Billboard’s top duo/group of 2021 is the worship music collective Elevation Worship, which wins the honor for the second consecutive time.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based act earned its first Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay No. 1 in February when “Graves into Gardens,” featuring Brandon Lake of Bethel Music, ascended simultaneously on both tallies.

That week, “Graves” completed a record-setting 46-week trek to the Hot Christian Songs penthouse. It passed Jeremy Camp’s “Let It Fade,” which crossed the finish line in its 34th week in May 2008.

“Graves” is from the same-titled album which is the No. 5 album of the year on Top Christian Albums. The set debuted atop the chart in May with 16,000 units.

Elevation Worship produced two No. 1 albums in 2021. Its second was a collaboration with the gospel group Maverick City Music, Old Church Basement. The LP entered at the apex on Top Christian Albums and Top Gospel Albums in May with 2,000 units. The coronation awarded Elevation Worship with its sixth leader on Top Christian Albums and its inaugural leader on Top Gospel Albums. For Maverick City Music, it was its first and second leader, respectively.

Finally, 19-year-old Anne Wilson from Lexington, Kentucky, is Billboard’s Top New Christian Artist of 2021.

The singer/songwriter’s debut song “My Jesus,” which she co-wrote with Jeff Pardo and Matthew West, led both Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay this year.

On the latter survey, Wilson became the first female soloist in a lead role to hit No. 1 with a first entry since the chart began in June 2003.

“My Jesus” dominated Hot Christian Songs for four weeks beginning on the Aug. 14-dated tally and Christian Airplay for six frames beginning Aug. 28.

The hit is the No. 5 song of 2021 on Christian Airplay and No. 6 on Hot Christian Songs.

“I’ve been blown away by how God has been using ‘My Jesus’ to impact so many lives,” Wilson told Billboard after hitting No. 1 on Hot Christian Songs. “I’m so honored that He chose me to be His vessel for this specific time and season. I would’ve never dreamed that God would use this song in such a mighty way.”

“My Jesus” is from Wilson’s Aug. 6-released freshman EP My Jesus: Live in Nashville, which debuted at No. 17 on the Top Christian Albums chart dated Aug. 21, then reaching No. 12 (its high point so far) on Oct. 16.