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Michael W. Smith Earns First No. 1 on Christian Airplay Chart With ‘Waymaker’

Plus, Elevation Worship adds its fifth Top Christian Albums leader.

Michael W. Smith notches his first No. 1 on Billboard‘s Christian Airplay chart (dated May 16), as the format icon’s “Waymaker,” featuring Vanessa Campagna, climbs 2-1.

In the week ending May 10, “Waymaker” increased by 7% to 12.2 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

“I am so honored and blessed that ‘Waymaker’ has reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Christian Airplay chart,” Smith beams of the song, which was written by Osinachi Okoro. “It is even more meaningful knowing that this song is offering people comfort and hope during this pandemic. I think it really shows how powerful the lyrics are and how its message is needed now more than ever.”

Smith scores his first Christian Airplay No. 1 following three prior top 10s: “Silver Bells,” with Amy Grant and Marc Martel (No. 7, 2019); “Christmas Day,” featuring Mandisa (No. 2, 2008); and the non-holiday track “Healing Rain” (No. 5, 2004).

The Christian Airplay chart launched in 2003, long after Smith had established himself as a format cornerstone. He has also enjoyed pop crossover success, led by his No. 6 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Place in This World” in 1991, as well as the top 40 Hot 100 hit, and No. 1 Adult Contemporary single, “I Will Be Here for You” in 1992.

Campagna, meanwhile, tops Christian Airplay with her first entry on the chart.

It’s noteworthy that Smith’s version of “Waymaker” hits the Christian Airplay summit as two other versions reside on the chart. Mandisa’s version bumps 38-36 (576,000 impressions) and Leeland’s rendition ranks at No. 40 (499,000), after reaching No. 31.

Shared hits have occurred at the format before. For instance, Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father” led the chart in March 2016 and Zealand Worship’s version peaked at No. 24 the same month.

BLOOMING ‘GARDEN’ Worship collective Elevation Worship banks its fifth No. 1 on Top Christian Albums, all of which have debuted at the apex, with Graves Into Gardens. In its first week, ending May 7, the set earned 16,000 equivalent album units, including 8,000 in album sales.

The release is the 11th full-length for the group, which is the musical arm of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The act had last led in April 2017 when There Is a Cloud opened with 34,000 units, its biggest weekly sum. The act notched its first No. 1 in March 2013 with Nothing Is Wasted, followed by Wake Up the Wonder (December 2014) and Here as in Heaven (February 2016).