Staff Voices: The Next Generation of Christian Artists
Exploring the captivating realm of second-generation musicians in the Christian music industry, this article sheds light on the rising talents who have inherited their musical legacies. These artists, connected by familial ties to renowned figures in the industry, are making their mark with unique styles and distinct voices. From heartfelt lyrics to alternative rock sounds, they are forging their own paths while honoring their musical heritage. Join us as we delve into the journeys of these remarkable second-generation artists, celebrating their contributions and anticipating the future of their musical endeavors.
As the daughter of Martin Smith, former lead singer of veteran contemporary band Delirious, Elle Limebear is no stranger to the Christian music industry. The second-gen contemporary artist grew up surrounded by music and concerts. But in 2019, she started her own career and released her debut single, “Holding Me Still.” Following the release, she received the invitation of a lifetime to join contemporary artist Matt Maher on The Roadshow Tour. Far from her native United Kingdom, Elle brought her songs to a new audience as she trekked across the United States.
Elle’s fanbase increased, so she released her full-length album Lost in Wonder. The 20-track album features artists like One Sonic Society and, of course, her dad Martin Smith. Bringing it all full circle, the father-daughter duo recorded the famous Delirious track, “Lord You Have My Heart.” Elle has blossomed into her musical career, and I’m excited to see what the next few years will bring for her. – Grace Chaves
Comprised of iconic Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman’s sons, Will and Caleb, the brothers have released music together for the past nine years as the alternative band Colony House. The duo released their debut album, When I Was Younger, in 2014, and since, they’ve become one of the biggest names in alternative rock.
The Tennessee-based group has an edgy surf rock sound, which they tapped into on their newest album, The Cannonballers. The Chapman brothers’ songs differ from their dad’s contemporary Christian music, but they’ve found ways to blend their genres. Steven Curtis recently joined his sons on stage in Nashville and performed together again at the Grand Ole Opry in May 2023. Will and Caleb’s relationship with their dad is unique, bridging the gap between alternative and Christian music. – Grace Chaves
Alternative rocker Jett Foreman—now under the moniker Jettee—is the eldest son of Tim Foreman, the bass player of the popular alternative rock band Switchfoot. At only 18, Jett is already making waves. He’s found a way to tap into his unique style and sound. He released his first single, “Can We Be the Ocean?,” in October 2022, and since then has dropped his debut EP Dancing Alone.
With every new release, Jett consistently delivers a harmonious blend of poetic lyrics and a west coast alt-rock sound. While his music is comparable to Switchfoot, his voice is distinctive. Every song he writes is uniquely his own. He’s been doing some small pop-up shows in San Diego, California. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear him play live if you’re in the area. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him, and hopefully, some new music and a tour are on the horizon. Keep your eye on Jett Foreman. – Grace Chaves
The Crabb family is very musical. In 1998, they released their first album, igniting their legacy in southern gospel and contemporary music and leaving a lasting impact on listeners. Eva Crabb, a talented newcomer and worship leader, joins the familial ranks of celebrated artists like Jason, Adam, Aaron, and Amanda Crabb. Eva is the daughter of Adam Crabb, one of the lead vocalists for the Gaither Vocal Band, and a pastor and niece of the popular Jason Crabb.
At 15 years old, Eva independently released her first single, “Revive Us,” in June 2022. Despite her young age, this captivating song highlights her beautiful voice and sincere worship. While we await news of future music releases, I highly recommend listening to this fantastic song and allowing its inspiring lyrics to lead you in worship. – Bradden Ford
Bella and Arie Camp
Bella Camp, the eldest daughter of contemporary Christian artist Jeremy Camp, is an up-and-coming singer-songwriter to watch. You can see her singing and playing piano and guitar in videos on her Instagram feed. In 2021, she wrote and released “Carry You Through,” a song Jeremy shared on his Instagram. Jeremy’s second eldest daughter, Arie Camp, recently released a captivating piece, “What We Need,” available on various streaming platforms. I know the Christian music world eagerly awaits more from these two. – Jasmin Patterson
Pop artist Madison Grace Binion, MDSN, is the daughter of worship leaders David and Nichole Binion. The Binions have led worship for over 20 years for churches and gatherings worldwide. Growing up in this environment, MDSN was surrounded by worship and learned the heart of intimacy with God through prayer at a young age. By 16, she was signed to Integrity Label Group, joining her parents, and released her debut pop single “Kerosene” in 2017. Remaining fairing quiet, she returned in 2019 to release two new singles before releasing her self-titled pop and worship project in August 2020.
From her infectious pop songs to her tender songs of worship, MDSN has captured the upcoming generation’s heart and passion for Jesus in a way that both exhales confidence and hunger for His presence. If you love modern pop-infused worship that desires more of Jesus and celebrates the love He has given us, MDSN is for you. – Bradden Ford
Franni Rae Cash Cain
Contemporary artist Franni Rae Cash Cain is the daughter of Ed Cash, a Nashville musical legend. They may be best known for their roles now in the CCM band, We the Kingdom, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for a while, Franni Rae had a solo project, which can be found on Spotify or SoundCloud if you want to dive deep. Growing up in a musical home, she’s familiar with training her voice and talent on multiple instruments. This affinity to the industry most definitely had something to do with her dad, Ed, and his primary role as a producer and songwriter in notable songs like “How Great is Our God” (Chris Tomlin) and “I Am” (Crowder).
A solo career in pop music never quite took off for Franni Rae, though, and eventually, God altered her path to the unlikely collaboration that are We the Kingdom. In addition to her and her dad, her uncle Scott Cash, brother Martin Cash, and family friend Andrew Bergthold are also a part of the group. Her stellar voice shines through in many of their songs; watching them grow in popularity has been an honor. I highly encourage you to check out their music; you won’t regret it. – Selena Schulz
Alvin Love III
Gospel artist Alvin Love III is the son of gospel greats Ce Ce Winans and Alvin Love Jr. He has been quite busy lately, preaching and singing at Nashville Life Church. Alvin is familiar with the music scene and even carving out his own niche. He traveled the world for a few years singing background with his mom and even releasing a pop EP, The Strawberry Project, in 2010. Two of my favorite songs were “Strawberries” and “All Night.” In 2019, Alvin released the single “Hold Tight” after a long while of not releasing new music. Not to worry, Alvin has been featured on such Nashville Life songs as “Worthy One,” “Shine on Us,” and “More Than Words.” There’s something about the Winans’ lineage; Alvin Love is just one more family member to prove this true. – Dwayne Lacy
One of the fastest upcoming artists on this list is Haven Madison. The daughter of Building 429 frontman Jason Roy released her first single, “Already Gone,” independently in 2020. That same year she joined her father with Building 429, singing on their single “Different,” which she also co-wrote. She released several more pop-acoustic singles before her debut project, All The Things I Didn’t Say, highlighting her vocal and songwriting talents.
In February, Haven hit national attention when she auditioned on the 21st season of American Idol. Accompanied by her father on guitar, she sang her original song, “15,” which gained her the golden ticket and a growing fan base. Finishing up as one of the final eight contestants, we cannot help but be more excited for Haven and what’s in store for her. – Bradden Ford
Assembled from the four corners of North America and many other corners in between, the NRTeam comprises staffers whose energy is equally dispersed towards loving and writing about the music they love.