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Joel Houston on
To call Hillsong UNITED's
"Zion" album a cultural phenomenom is not hyperbole. The
huge single, "Oceans (Where Feet May
Fail)" from the album was #1 on Billboard's Contemporary
Christian music charts for an astounding 50 straight weeks
in 2014. "Oceans" resurfaced to #1 for a few more
stayed on the charts for nearly 200 weeks after its release.
Churches around the world adopted it for worship services.
The followup, "Empires" had large shoes to fill
and won the Dove Award for "Worship Album of the Year."
On top of that,
Hillsong Worship's "What a Beautiful Name" from
the "Let There Be Light" CD, has spent several weeks
at #1 itself.
was the Dove Award Winner for Song of the Year and
Song of the Year
Grammy Winner for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.
Hillsong UNITED's latest CD, "Wonder" debuted at #13. (Click
here) The sixth studio album from the worship music
collective was released on June 9, topping Billboard's Top
Christian Albums chart dated July 1, earning 20,000
equivalent albums (with 16,000 in traditional sales) for the
week ending June 15, according to Nielsen Music.
The launch single from "Wonder," reached the top 15
followed by "So
Will I (100 Billion X)," which entered the charts at #8.
Australian based band, it was their seventh No. 1 on Top
Christian Albums, all of them arriving at the summit.
UNITED's past No. 1s on Top Christian Albums include their
most recent, "Empires" (June 13, 2015, with 47,000
copies sold). Its previous No. 1s: "Zion" (2013),
"Live in Miami" (2012), "Aftermath" (2011),
"Tear Down the Walls" (2009) and "All of the Above"
Joel Houston, founding member of the group sat down with Billboard
to chat a bit about the new album. But first: a crash course
on Hillsong. Firstly, they are the musical representation of
the mega Hillsong Church, with its home base in Sydney,
Australia, founded in 1983. Additionally, there is
significant representation all over the world, including
outposts in New York City, Los Angeles, London and many
In addition to Hillsong UNITED, there is also the more
church-music-centered group, Hillsong Worship, and the
younger brand, Hillsong Young & Free. While the
personnel sometimes mingle amongst acts, they're three
"What a Beautiful Name," the latest hit by Hillsong Worship, has
ruled Billboard's hybrid Hot Christian Songs chart -- which
combines airplay, sales and streaming data -- for 17 weeks,
reaching No. 1 for the first time on Feb. 25 and it remains
atop that chart 10 months after it's release. On the
Christian Airplay chart, "Name" ruled for nine
frames, beginning with the chart dated April 8, 2017.
The "Wonder" album clearly has an optimistic, upbeat feel, both
lyrically and sonically.
Q&A with Houston about "Wonder"
Congratulations on releasing your 6th studio album. In a
couple of sentences, how is this set different from others?
There is always a process when making an album that is
similar to what we have done previously. Words we had
conversations around when writing this album were "bright,"
Nostalgia is an interesting theme as you have to be old
enough for something to be nostalgic -- we talked about
albums, music, television shows, movies that we loved when
we were kids. So we wanted to give reference to [these, and,
at the same time, create something new. It was also
definitely intentional to be more upbeat than our previous
live performance of
"So Will I (100 Billion X)" -
live performance of
live performance of
"What A Beautiful Name"
#1 Christian video
"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
The single is "Wonder," and it's the title
track. What should your fans take
from this song?
was watching the news getting caught up in everything happening
everywhere, the tragedy, the despair and sometimes we can get caught
up in it all -- and there's my son running around, just wanting to
be Batman. I was challenged and inspired at the same time:
When did we lose the "wonder?"
It also ties in to the above thoughts and themes. In our church
environment we are challenged to have childlike faith -- and that
comes back to the nostalgic moments; they feel good, they take us
back when everything was 'wonder.' As for it being the title and
first track, it felt right: We still love the idea of a full album,
12 tracks fitting together in harmony, telling a story. "Wonder,"
the song, is Act One.
What is your overall
hope for what fans both old and new will get
out of this album?
Hope is an interesting word. We believe there is hope in the world,
amidst all of the devastation. But as for our album -- we always
just try and enjoy and trust the process, make music we like and,
hopefully, other people do as well... It is the dream of any artist
that their music reaches new listeners, that the story or message
goes out and impacts more and more people.
Why is "Wonder" the
lead single from 12 very good tracks?
-- thanks for saying they are all good! There are always differing
opinions on which song should be a single -- we went with
"Wonder," as that sets up the theme of the album. It wasn't as
intentional as it may seem, but more where it fit for us in the
album. We feel that different songs will resonate with different
people -- and that is fine.
(from Let There Be
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Rising to global impact as the youth ministry of Australia's
has grown from a modest ministry to
award-winning, platinum-selling artists. Currently fronted by Joel
Houston and Taya Smith, the collective features a shifting cast of
contributors and an eclectic approach to modern worship. Despite the
rotating lineup, the group consistently provides the church body
with fresh expressions of faith, anthems of praise, and captivating
live events. Following their 2015 studio recording Empires and
subsequent live release Of
Dirt And Grace,
Hillsong UNITED offers a bold new set of engaging modern worship
originals. Wonder features
twelve brand-new songs, including lead single
"Splinters and Stones"
"So Will I (100 Billion X),
"Greatest Of These," "Future Marches In," "Water To Wine,"
the title track.
(Let Hope Rise Soundtrack)
Let Hope Rise chronicles
the spectacular and unlikely rise of the Christian band Hillsong.
The film follows the band as they record their next album and
explores the history of Hillsong, a 30-year journey from a church in
the Sydney suburbs to an international ministry. The official
soundtrack features music from the film with new music from Hillsong.
Feet May Fail"
Offering a fresh vision for what they are called to do, Hillsong
UNITED takes steps forward sonically---while retaining the hallmarks
of their worship songs. Includes the #1 song, "Oceans";
"Relentless"; "Up in Arms"; "Scandal of Grace"; "Stay and Wait";
"Mercy, Mercy"; "Love Is War"; "Nothing Like Your Love";
"Heartbeats"; "A Million Suns"; "Tapestry"; "King of Heaven";
and the title track. Deluxe edition includes two additional songs,
three remixes, and the "Welcome Zion" music video.
Hillsong UNITED's previous release, "Zion," was an
enormous success with the hit single, "Oceans (Where Feet May
Fail)" topping the charts for 49 weeks. They follow Zion up with the highlighly
anticipated "Empires." It includes the first single,
"Touch the Sky," plus "Here Now," "Say the Word," "Street
Called Mercy," "When I Lost My Heart to You," "Even When It Hurts,"
"Prince of Peace," "Heart Like Heaven," & "Closer Than You
(There Is More (Live), Special Edition CD/DVD/Hardcover)
The anticipated 2018 release from the Hillsong Worship community strikes the balance of contemplative devotion and powerful declarations of praise for both individuals and congregations alike. There Is More includes lead single "Who You Say I Am" plus "So Will I (100 Billion X)," "Be Still," "The Passion," "New Wine," and more uplifting new offerings. Special edition includes the standard edition CD, digital download card, and live DVD, plus a 35-page hardcover book with lyrics, scripture, devotions, artwork, and more.
(There Is More)
The anticipated 2018 release from the Hillsong Worship community strikes the balance of contemplative devotion and powerful declarations of praise for both individuals and congregations alike. There Is More includes lead single "Who You Say I Am" plus "So Will I (100 Billion X),"
"Be Still," "The Passion," "New Wine," and more uplifting new offerings. Standard edition.
Hillsong Young & Free present their third full length album, and first studio collection of brand new music. III is an energetic set of pop and EDM flavored modern worship originals, including "PEACE," "Let Go," "Every Little Thing," and more.