If you’ve ever been part of a band, or helped with a band, you get an idea just how high the mountain you’re climbing really is. The band Mercy Me released six indie records before signing with a label. Now there’s a film out inspired by one of the songs and the album has been certified triple platinum. None of this would have happened if the band had followed experts’ advice.
The breakout song for Mercy Me is titled “I Can Only Imagine.” The song is autobiographical in a sense, based on lead vocalist Bart Millard’s life including being abandoned by his mother and the premature loss of his father. The album “Almost There” has been out for more than a decade, but the song has bounced its way into the hearts of so many, it transcended the Christian audience to go mainstream.
As someone who is part of band life courtesy of my daughters, I know the incredible work it must have taken for this band to get where they are today. From gigs to songwriting to recording, being a musician requires multi-tasking in abundance.
Mercy Me performed on Fox & Friends this morning. I missed the performance on TV but I managed to catch it on the video at Fox News (shown above). The show does a concert series, and it’s one of the few things I try to catch on any network’s morning show. In the video, you’ll see how industry insiders told Millard to “go home”—he just didn’t have what it takes. That crit didn’t age so well.
Bearing that industry insider’s negativity in mind, based on the band’s official bio, consider what came after Millard didn’t listen to him:
“GRAMMY® nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove Award winners MercyMe have sold more than 9 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered more than 57 No. 1 multi-format 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.” MercyMe made history in 2014 as “I Can Only Imagine” surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. The album containing the hit, Almost There, recently received triple platinum certification from the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s “Word Of God Speak” the No. 1 Song of The Decade and the group the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing them as one of the industry’s most notable talents. They have sold out venues throughout the US and Canada, including Radio City Music Hall, and have appeared on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, FOX New Channel’s FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today and more. MercyMe’s eighth studio album, the RIAA Certified Gold Welcome To The New, garnered two GRAMMY® nods and four radio hits. LIFER, their latest chart-topping, GMA Dove Award winning and GRAMMY® nominated album, includes the RIAA certified gold, GRAMMY® nominated smash hit “Even If” which dominated the Billboard and Mediabase radio charts with a 19-week streak at No. 1.”
Millard was smart to not listen to the experts.
Hat tip to Mercy Me for their hard work, perseverance, and outreach. To stay informed about the band’s appearances, you can follow them on Twitter.
The film I Can Only Imagine is available on digital, and comes out on Blu-ray and DVD June 12.
(Kay B. Day/June 8, 2018)