On the heels of their RIAA Certified Gold and GRAMMY acclaimed "Welcome To The New" (2014), MercyMe released "LIFER" (FAIR TRADE SERVICES) on Mar. 31, 2017.

  The first single from the album, "Even If," reached #1 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian music charts and, six months after its release, still rests solidly at #2.

  The core of "Lifer" is the question of what it looks like to live as followers of Christ that are committed for life. With 2014's "Welcome To The New," MercyMe spoke to the grace and celebrated new life that Christ offers us in entering into faith. With their newest record, MercyMe writes about what it means to live out that faith as a "lifer" in the kingdom of God.

  "This new record is the logical next chapter after our last album, and it carries a new perspective," MercyMe's Bart Millard remarked. "'Welcome To The New' was all about grace and identity in Christ; a welcoming to the life of being a new creation by grace. And it's such an exciting truth to grasp, but then life continues to go on and eventually the newness of that wears off and we need encouragement and support to sustain us. For me personally, I sing about being new every night on tour and I don't always feel so new. So the album title "Lifer" and the theme of the record is all about reminding ourselves and others about the victory we have in the end through Christ. We are all in this for life - even on the days when we don't feel like doing any of it. We want these songs to be a morale boost to remind people of who they are and what Christ has done."

  Filled with positive, uplifting lyrics, along with energetic beats and soaring melodies, this latest offering delivers the massive hits that MercyMe is known for. The debut single "Even If" will serve as a follow-up to the band's four hit singles found on their previous album.

  "The song 'Even If' is incredibly special to me," commented Millard. "My son Sam is 15 years-old, and he's been a diabetic since he was two. When you're a parent of a child with any kind of chronic illness, these things don't go away. You have a lot of good days, but some days you feel like you're losing bad. I was in the midst of one of those bad days when 'Even If' was written. This song is a reminder to people in these difficult situations that don't seem to go away. God was worthy long before any of these circumstances even showed up. It's a foundation that was built long before those difficulties came to be. This song is a declaration to God that even if He went silent and never said another word, He's still worthy to be praised, and He's our greatest hope in the midst of the trial."

  Bassist Nathan Cochran said each song on "Lifer" showcases how the five-person band's faith has changed their lives on a personal level.

  "There's no illusion that we're pastors or theologians or anything like that," he said. "We're musicians trying to be honest about what we're going through in life."

  Cochran said the group - consisting of himself, lead vocalist Millard, guitarist Barry Graul, guitarist Mike Scheuchzer, and drummer Robby Shaffer - collaborates on songwriting to create pieces that ring true for all of them.

  MercyMe has remained almost exactly the same since then, with two exceptions - guitarist Graul joined in 2003 and James Bryson retired in 2014.

  "I've had people ask us before, 'Why did you choose Christian music?' And the truth is we can write about whatever we want, but it just so happens that our faith and our relationship with Christ informs everything about us," Cochran said.

  "So when it comes time for us to be a band and write songs, it's what we write about. It's what we're consumed with. For us it would be disingenuous to write about anything else."

  For past albums, Cochran said the group focused on working together, just the five of them, throughout the writing process. To switch things up, he said the group invited other people to be a part of their writing process for the upcoming album.

 The band wanted their fans to feel a special connection with this newest album, Cochran said, so they created several ways for fans to be involved via pledgemusic.com.

 And the group also is watching for the release of a new film based on the band's first big hit, "I Can Only Imagine," which transcended Christian charts and became a secular hit, as well.
  Click here to see the film's star, Dennis Quaid, talk about the faith-based film.

  Scheuchzer said the song, and the film, are based on things that have happened in Millard's life. The filmmakers were familiar with the song and were determined to tell the story behind it.

  "His dad was pretty abusive until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer," Scheuchzer said. "... He (Bart) had a fear growing up of being like his dad."

  Millard's father died when he was still in high school and at his funeral, a family member told him, "I can't imagine what your dad is seeing right now from heaven." It's what inspired the hit song.

  Scheuchzer said the film is "a redemptive story between him and his dad."

  Dennis Quaid is playing Millard's father in the film, and Cloris Leachman is also in the cast.
Click Here to see Quaid talking about the film.

  "We're really excited about it," he said of the movie. Principal filming has been completed and it's slated for release in 2018.

 Since their debut in 2001, MercyMe have sold more than 9 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered 27 No. 1 multi-format Christian radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with "I Can Only Imagine," (No. 4 AC/Top 25 on Top 40/Hot AC), "Here With Me" (No. 4 AC), "Homesick" (Top 10 AC) and "So Long Self."