We finish up our 2004 season of year-end lists with this brief summary of Best Christian Artists. The finalists for Best Female and Male Vocalists were selected for their vocal skills, as demonstrated on albums and in concert. The Best Band or Group and the Best Solo Artist are both chosen based on the whole overview of ability, songwriting, and impact on audiences.
Best Female Vocalist
We're always going to have the memory of Charity singing for us with her guitarist outside our offices on a beautiful sunny summer day, her powerful and soulful rock vocal soaring over the Chicago suburbs like a young Janis Joplin or Ashley Cleveland. Amazing that she never took a voice lesson until the summer of 2004, after recording her self-titled debut. Now if she only had equally strong and interesting songs to match for her next album, we'd have a breakthrough on our hands. If you plan to catch Point of Grace's Spring 2005 tour, prepare to be wowed.
Mullen remains one of the Christian music industry's most dynamic and soulful vocalists, as she's proven again in 2004 with Everyday People. Her voice is more than capable of matching her diverse songwriting—a playful blend of pop, soul, and funk that is both contemporary and retro—whether belting out a classic power ballad or nimbly warbling over some upbeat R&B.
With her latest double album Hymns of Faith … Songs of Inspiration, Patty reminded us once again why she's been long regarded as one of America's greatest vocalists. Classic hymns, patriotic standards, modern worship, pop, gospel, orchestral accompaniment, backing band—it all works for this versatile, professionally trained soprano.
4. Christy Nockels (Watermark)