Carman…the Elvis of Christian Music

This past week the Christian music world lost a legend. The artist known as “Carman” finally lost his health battles which were complicated due to cancer.

For most of my life in the church, Carman dominated my Christian music playlist. He was very different and always got the message out through his music. I always referred to him as the Elvis of Christian music. Certainly in the 1990s and 2000s, Carman was a household name.

Carman won six Dove Awards which is the Christian music version of the Grammys. In fact, he was actually nominated for four Grammys and sold over 10 million records. It is believed that he holds the record for the largest single Christian concert in history in 1993 with over 55,000 in South Africa. He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2018.

Even with his battles with cancer, Carman was still performing in concerts up until his recent illness.

The thing that made Carman different was his ability to perform in different styles of music. He could perform in rock, country, pop and hip hop. I had the opportunity to attend one of his concerts and it was amazing. He never charged admission but opted for people to give an offering.

Carman took advantage of the popularity of music videos by making his own and being relevant to the younger generation at the time. During the time when I was a youth group leader, Carman’s songs often played a major part in skits and other presentations.

Some of my favorite Carman songs are:

  • The Champion
  • Lazarus Come Forth
  • This Blood
  • Lord of all
  • Great God
  • The Courtroom
  • Jesus is the Lamb
  • Faith Enough

Although I didn’t agree with his politics and was deeply disappointed by his endorsements, I can’t deny the fact that his non-political music over the decades inspired me.