With a performance that began virtually unnoticed in a New York City subway station, violinist/dancer Lindsey Stirling crowns multiple Billboard charts with her stirring version of Leonard Cohen’s 1984 classic “Hallelujah.”
The video of Stirling’s cover, posted Dec. 7, quickly went viral, spurring the song’s 3-1 rise on Hot Christian Songs (dated Jan. 9) and its No. 21 bow on the Holiday 100 and No. 81 entrance on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100; the song is Stirling’s first hit on each chart.
Propelled by 3.3 million U.S. streams (up 234 percent), according to Nielsen Music, in the tracking week ending Dec. 24, “Hallelujah” bounds in at the summit of Christian Streaming Songs. It also flies 15-3 on Christian Digital Songs (8,000 downloads sold, up 174 percent).
With Stirling appearing as a street performer, the video opens with her placing a miniature nativity scene in front of her as she begins to play the violin. Commuters are seen passing by, hardly noticing the artist. Shots from past concerts and fan greetings are laced in, showing the contrast between the popularity she’s attained and her subway station anonymity. The clip closes with a holiday message from Stirling to her fans about the meaning of the enactment.
Released on her own label, Lindseystomp, Stirling debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in May 2014 with Shatter Me. Her eponymous debut entry reached No. 23 in November 2013.
Meanwhile, “Hallelujah” tops Hot Christian Songs for the second time in a month: Jordan Smith, who won the latest season of NBC’s The Voice, debuted at No. 1 with his version on the Dec. 19 chart; it currently ranks at No. 11.
‘CHRISTMAS’ PRESENT: On Top Christian Albums, MercyMe’s Mercy Me, It’s Christmas! rises 2-1 (22,000, up 34 percent), marking the group’s ninth No. 1. Since the band first led with Almost There (its first chart entry) on Aug. 23, 2003, MercyMe trails only Hillsong (13) for the most leaders on the list in that span.
TOMLIN’S TOPS: Chris Tomlin, Billboard‘s top male Christian artist of 2015, has already set a record in the early goings of the 2016 chart year, as, for a second week, he commands the top two spots on Christian AC Songs. “He Shall Reign Forevermore” becomes his eighth No. 1 on the chart (2-1), dethroning his own “Noel,” featuring Lauren Daigle, (1-2) after two weeks on top.
Tomlin’s two-week double-up marks the first instance of an act commanding the Christian AC Songs chart’s top two positions as a lead artist on both titles. Previously, only Mandisa had monopolized the top two, although not as lead on both: on Jan. 5, 2008, she ranked at No. 1 as featured on Michael W. Smith’s “Christmas Day” and at No. 2 with her own “Christmas Makes Me Cry,” featuring Matthew West.
Both of Tomlin’s top-two tracks (which he co-wrote) are from his album Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship, which dips to No. 2 after six weeks at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums. Tomlin’s second seasonal set (following 2009’s Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship) has sold 150,000 since its release.