- So many of today's worship musicians, and even secular artists, got their start in the church.
Josh Baldwin is no stranger to writing worship songs, but did you know that his Dad was one of the first “rockers” to bring a guitar into the sanctuary? So many of today’s worship musicians, and even secular artists, got their start in the church. The American music scene would look a lot different if the American Church weren’t such a large part of our cultural makeup.
Anna Golden spoke on the importance of being rooted in the local church and how most of her music still comes out of that local community.
And I think that there are certain seasons where the worship leader side of me is more pulled on and the worship artist side of me is more pulled on, but to keep the balance of pure in heart is I’m never not planted in church. I think that this separation from a worship leader and a local house of worship is detrimental to your heart, to your spirit, to your mind, your soul and body. – – Anna Golden
A Devotional Podcast from Josh Baldwin
Here’s a list of top American Musicians that grew up in the church. Some of them may surprise you!
Top Music Artists That Started In The Church
- Aretha Franklin – Known as the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin began singing gospel music in her father’s church before transitioning to secular music.
- Whitney Houston – Houston grew up singing in the church choir and her gospel roots were evident in her powerful vocals and soulful performances.
- Stevie Wonder – Stevie Wonder started his music career in the church, playing piano and singing in the choir. Gospel elements can be heard in many of his songs.
- Marvin Gaye – Gaye’s early exposure to music was through singing in his father’s church. He later became a Motown legend, blending gospel, soul, and R&B in his music.
- Ray Charles – Charles grew up in the church and his musical style was heavily influenced by gospel music. He is known for his unique blend of soul, R&B, and jazz.
- Beyoncé – Beyoncé began singing in the church choir and credits her gospel background as a major influence on her music and vocal style.
- Kirk Franklin – A prominent gospel musician, Kirk Franklin’s upbringing in the church shaped his career. He is known for his contemporary gospel sound and uplifting lyrics.
- John Legend – Legend started his musical journey singing and playing piano in his church. His soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics have made him a popular artist.
- Alicia Keys – Keys began playing piano at a young age and was involved in her church’s music ministry. Her music incorporates gospel, R&B, and soul elements.
- Usher – Usher sang in his church choir as a child and later became a successful R&B and pop artist, incorporating gospel influences into his music.
I grew up in church and I grew up- my dad’s a pastor, but he also was our worship leader. He was like, he was this rock and roll seventies guy that got saved. And then, you know, gave away his- or traded in his electric guitar for an old acoustic guitar because he thought, maybe I couldn’t play my electric guitar at church in a- and maybe you couldn’t in the early eighties.
But so I grew up- I actually grew up playing drums for my dad as he led worship at church. And he- I mean, he was really like my first mentor in worship and he wrote songs. I think- I didn’t realize back then we were leading- when we were leading songs at our church that my dad wrote and I didn’t know they were his.
I just- I just played drums and I was just there. And then later on in my teens, realizing like, oh, my dad writes songs. And just even that that’s a thing like- that you don’t- you don’t have to just sing songs that like you hear on the latest worship album or whatever. Like, we can actually, like write songs that are kind of birthed out of this house.
And so, I mean, I learned a lot from my dad. I learned a lot from just playing drums for him. I played drums for Rita Springer, and I went to this ministry school in Charlotte called Morningstar. And that’s where I really started growing in worship leading and in songwriting. And I kind of got pushed out into songwriting. I didn’t- I didn’t necessarily want to do it.
It wasn’t- well, it’s not that I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t- I just didn’t think about it. I didn’t- I just wanted to lead worship. And I remember at that school, one of the- to lead worship on- in the chapel, you had to actually- you could only lead your own songs, which is kind of crazy and mind blowing even now to think about it, like, if you were gonna lead worship, you had to actually sing a song that you wrote, which was mind blowing.
And so honestly, I knew, okay, I have a calling to this, so I guess I’m just going to have to write a song so I can like lead worship. I wrote a song simply to get on the stage, which is maybe not what you want to encourage people to do, but I did. And what it did, it just lit this fire in me.
And I realized, oh, I was not just put on Earth to like lead worship and this is my calling, but I have songs inside of me that need to get out and this is what I want to do with my life. So that’s where I- that was my early mentorship, came from my dad and playing drums for these worship leaders and then just kind of being pushed out into writing and leading at this ministry school that I went to in Charlotte.
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Josh Baldwin is a songwriter and worship leader who joined the Bethel Music Collective in 2014. He began his journey in North Carolina where he was a worship pastor for 10 years before joining the collective and is now a resident of Franklin, TN with his family. Josh loves writing corporate worship songs for the global church, and his music is an expression of who God has been for him in every season. Josh’s newest album, Evidence, released in the fall of 2020 featuring anchor song and radio single, “Evidence”. Josh released “Stand in Your Love” in August 2018 which is also featured on Bethel Music’s album VICTORY (2019). This song reached #2 on Christian Billboard charts, garnering Josh’s first nomination for the 2019 K-Love Awards in the “Breakout Single of the Year”, and “Worship Song of the Year” categories. Josh is featured on Bethel Music’s most recent album Homecoming (2021) singing, “My King Forever”, as well as Bethel Music En Español (2019) singing “Adorar Sin Cesar” and “En Ti Estoy Firme”. In May 2017, Josh released his debut solo album with Bethel Music titled The War is Over, and his song “Praises” is featured on Bethel Music’s album Have it All (2016). Both “Praises” and “You Deserve It All” (from his solo project Rivers), have become popular worship anthems among churches around the world. As a worship leader Josh enjoys creating space for people to feel seen, encouraged, and invited into intimacy with God where true peace and hope is found. Josh lives with his wife, Sheila, and their two children, in Franklin, TN, and continues to tour domestically and internationally.