About Hillsong Worship
It’s impossible to chart the growth of contemporary praise & worship without looking at the influence of Hillsong Worship. The many radical developments the Australian group have undergone both artistically and commercially have rippled throughout the entire genre. When Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston set up the band (then called Hillsong Live) in the ’80s, the focus was on simple, predominantly acoustic hymns geared toward church services. Over the course of their 25-plus albums, however, this approach has given way to immaculately produced anthems that, drawing inspiration from the latest trends in pop and rock, are big enough to fill the arenas the band regularly plays. A key driver behind Hillsong Worship’s decades-long rise has been their ability to consistently refresh their ranks with unique new voices and composers (often sharing them with the church’s other music projects). Throughout the ’90s and into the early 2000s, the band’s popularity rested upon worship pastor Darlene Zschech’s gift for gospel-infused songs like “Shout to the Lord,” covered by church bands throughout the world. In the 2010s, the ascendance of singer/songwriter Brooke Ligertwood to lead vocalist led to Hillsong Worship refocusing on a deeply ethereal style captured beautifully on the platinum-certified “What a Beautiful Name.” Not only did the 2017 single net Hillsong Worship their first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song, but its significant crossover success serves as a sign that praise & worship in the 21st century possesses a broad appeal, one that transcends its beginnings as communal religious music.