Bart Millard is an American singer and songwriter best known as the lead member of the Christian music band ‘MercyMe’. He is also a solo vocalist in his own right who recorded and released the hymns his late grandmother sang to him as a child as a promise to her. His solo albums ‘Hymned, No. 1’ and ‘Hymned Again,’ brimming with devotion and uniqueness, are unarguably amongst the most enjoyable hymns albums ever recorded. Born and raised in Greenville, Texas, Millard’s first love was sports which he hoped to pursue professionally. However, a sports injury shattered his dreams of a sporting career and landed him in the school choir instead. Following the death of his father, he formed the Christian rock group MercyMe and moved to Oklahoma. Since then, Millard has been developing music that continues to appeal to the audience. Till date, the singer-songwriter has recorded numerous albums that have achieved either gold or platinum status. Some of the band’s songs like "I Can Only Imagine" and "Spoken For" are still listened to today with great enthusiasm. He received the title of Christianity Today’s ‘Best Male Vocalist’ of 2005. Talking of his personal life, he is a happily married man and the father of five children.
Bart Millard’s band career started after the death of his father when the former was in his college’s first year. He initially worked with a church's youth group worship band. He toured with the band to Switzerland and then decided to pursue music full-time. Soon after, Millard, along with his friend Mike Scheuchzer, moved to Oklahoma to form the band MercyMe with James Bryson. Drummer Robby Shaffer and bassist Nathan Cochran joined the band later on.
The group worked on a number of independent projects before signing to INO Records in 2001. With the record, they released their first major debut album titled ‘Almost There’. The album’s single "I Can Only Imagine" went on to top the Billboard 200 sales chart for seven weeks, ultimately earning the album a certified double platinum status. Soon after this, MercyMe released their second album ‘Spoken For’ that included the singles "Word of God Speak" and "Spoken For". The album itself went on to achieve a certified gold status by the RIAA.
In 2003, guitarist Barry Graul joined the band, contributing to the band’s third studio album, ‘Undone’. This album spawned three hit singles: "Homesick", "Here With Me" and "In the Blink of an Eye". A year later, MercyMe released a live video album titled "MercyMe Live” which eventually was certified platinum. After this, they recorded their album ‘The Christmas Sessions’ that came up in September 2005. The group next released the album ‘Coming Up to Breathe.’ This album was a hit and it spawned three radio singles namely "Hold Fast", "So Long Self" and "Bring the Rain", two of which became highly successful.
On November 20, 2007, Millard, along with his group, released ‘All That Is Within Me’. The album achieved a gold status and its singles "You Reign", "God With Us" and “Finally Home" became hits. Soon after this, the band released an acoustic version of their album ‘Coming Up to Breathe,’ titled ‘Coming Up to Breathe: Acoustic’. In April 2009, they released their first hits compilation titled ‘10’, a double album featuring 15 studio recordings.
MercyMe next came up with their sixth studio album titled ‘The Generous Mr. Lovewell’ that was released on May 4, 2010. This album spawned three hit singles: "Move", "Beautiful" and "All of Creation", all of which topped the Christian Songs chart. After this, Millard and his musical band recorded the worship album ‘The Worship Sessions’ that was released exclusively at Family Christian Book Stores.
In May 2012, they released their album ‘The Hurt & The Healer’ through Columbia Records. After this, ‘Welcome to the New’, MercyMe’s eighth album, was released in April 2014. This was followed by ‘Lifer,’ their ninth studio album. The lead single of the album "Even If" reached No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Songs chart.
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Apart from working with MercyMe, Millard also sings as a solo artist. As a child, he used to listen to hymns sung by his grandmother and promised to her that he would one day record these hymns in an album. Millard kicked off his solo career when he released his album ‘Hymned, No. 1’ (2005) that consisted of all his favorite hymns that he listened to when he was a kid.
He then came up with another album ‘Hymned Again’ (2008) that featured the song "Jesus Cares for Me" written by Thad Cockrell. While ‘Hymned, No. 1’ was an effort to make the songs Millard did not predominantly care about more appealing, the second album was released specifically honoring the desires of his three kids who enjoyed their father’s previous record so much that they longed for more. Both the albums, especially the first one, were much appreciated. It was even given a five-star review by the popular magazine ‘Christianity Today’ that called it “one of the most varied and enjoyable hymns albums ever recorded.
Till date, Bart Millard has made numerous guest appearances in albums of various artists. In 2004, he got featured as a co-singer in the song "I See Love” by Third Day. Later on, he made appearances in Phil Wickham's songs "Safe” and “The Light Will Come," in 2007 and 2009 respectively. After this, the American singer/songwriter was featured in Big Tent Revival's "The Weight", Hawk Nelson's "Words" and Citizen Way's "Wave Walker". Apart from these, Millard's hit song "I Can Only Imagine" was developed into a film of the same name. This flick was released in March 2018.
Bart Millard was born on December 1, 1972 in Greenville, Texas, the USA, to Arthur Wesley Millard Jr. and his wife. Currently, he lives with his wife Shannon Millard and their five children: Sam, Charlie, Gracie, Miles and Sophie.