MercyMe

MercyMe is a contemporary Christian band founded in Greenville, Texas. The band consists of vocalist Bart Millard, keyboardist James Bryson, percussionist Robin Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul.

The band formed in 1994 and released six independent albums prior to signing with INO Records in 2001.   The group first gained mainstream recognition with the crossover single, “I Can Only Imagine” which elevated their debut album, Almost There, to becoming certified double platinum. Since then, the group has released five additional studio albums, three of which have been certified gold, and a greatest hits album. MercyMe has won numerous Dove Awards and has had various Grammy Award nominations.

Formation and Early years

Born into a family as the son of Southern Methodist University All-American player Arthur Millard and the brother of a football player,   MercyMe’s lead singer, Bart Millard wanted to become a football player, yet his football career ended when he injured his ankles in a high school football game.   As a result of his injury, Millard took choir as an elective.   During his freshmen year in college, Bart underwent the death of his father.   His youth pastor, who had moved from Texas to Florida, invited Bart to work with a youth group’s worship band.  Millard accepted his invitation and went on to work on the video and sound systems for the group.   On a day when the band’s lead singer got stuck on stage, Bart took the challenge of singing for the group.   James (Jim) Bryson played piano for that band and later went on to play with Bart Millard and the worship band on a trip to Switzerland.  This trip became the cause of Millard and Bryson’s consideration of playing music full-time. Millard and his friend, guitarist Mike Scheuchzer, moved to Oklahoma City to form MercyMe with Bryson. The trio set up a studio and a “living area” in an old abandoned day-care center. Bassist Nathan Cochran and Drummer Robby Shaffer joined the band later on, accompanying the band on releasing six independent projects before signing with INO Records in 2001. Unlike their first three major label albums, their earlier indie projects tended to orientate more towards rock rhythms.  The group’s name, “MercyMe”, originated during Bart’s time as a youth ministry intern in Florida. Concerned that her grandson was home whenever she called, Bart’s grandmother would exclaim, “Well mercy me, why don’t you get a real job?”

Discography

Independent releases

Pleased To Meet You

  • Released: 1995
  • Label: Independent

Traces Of Rain, Vol. 1

  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Independent

Traces Of Rain, Vol. 2

  • Released: 1997
  • Label: Independent

The Need

  • Released: 1998
  • Label: Independent

The Worship Project

  • Released: 1999
  • Label: Independent

Look

  • Released: 2000
  • Label: Independent

Studio albums

Note: All certifications based on current data from RIAA’s website: RIAA.com.

Almost There

  • Released: August 14, 2001
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #37 (Billboard 200), #1 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian), #1 (Billboard Top Heatseekers)
  • Certification: 2x Platinum (RIAA)
  • Singles: “I Can Only Imagine”

Spoken For

  • Released: October 1, 2002
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #41 (Billboard 200), #2 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)
  • Certification: Gold (RIAA)
  • Singles: “Word of God Speak”, “Spoken For”

Undone

  • Released: April 20, 2004
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #12 (Billboard 200), #1 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)
  • Certification: Gold (RIAA)
  • Singles: “Here with Me”, “In the Blink of an Eye”, “Homesick”

The Christmas Sessions

  • Released: September 27, 2005
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #64 (Billboard 200), #3 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)

Coming Up to Breathe

  • Released: April 25, 2006
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #13 (Billboard 200), #1 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)
  • Certification: Gold (RIAA)
  • Singles: “So Long Self”, “Hold Fast”, “Bring the Rain”, “No More No Less”

All That Is Within Me

  • Released: November 20, 2007
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #15 (Billboard 200), #1 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)
  • Singles: “God with Us”, “You Reign”, “Finally Home”

Compilation albums

  • Released: April 7, 2009
  • Label: INO Records
  • Chart position: #18 (Billboard 200), #1 (Billboard Top Contemporary Christian)

DVDs

Release
Year
Video RIAA Certification Label(s)
2004 MercyMe Live Platinum INO Records

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Christian US US AC US Country
2001 “I Can Only Imagine”A 1 71 5 52 Almost There
2002 “Spoken For” 1       Spoken For
“Word of God Speak” 1      
2004 “Here with Me” 1   12   Undone
2005 “Homesick” 3   9  
“In the Blink of an Eye” 1      
2006 “So Long Self” 1   16   Coming Up to Breathe
“Hold Fast” 6   27  
2007 “Bring the Rain” 1      
“God with Us” 1       All That Is Within Me
2008 “You Reign” 2      
2009 “Finally Home” 3   17  
  • A“I Can Only Imagine” peaked on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 2004.

Other Charting Songs

Year Album Single Chart Positions
US Christian US AC
2005 The Christmas Sessions “Joseph’s Lullaby” 1 33
“Silent Night” 30 6
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” 37 25
“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” 9 34
“Drummer Boy” 10  
“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” 22  
“Gloria” 27  

Awards and accolades

GMA Dove Awards 
  • 2002 Song of the Year – “I Can Only Imagine”
  • 2002 Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year – “I Can Only Imagine”
  • 2004 Song of the Year – “Word of God Speak”
  • 2004 Artist of the Year
  • 2004 Group of the Year
  • 2004 Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year – “Word of God Speak”
  • 2005 Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year – Undone
  • 2005 Special Event Album of the Year- The Passion of the Christ: Songs
ASCAP Awards
  • 2003 Bart Millard awarded Christian Songwriter of the Year at the 25th annual ASCAP Christian Music Awards.
American Music Awards
  • 2004 Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist

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