Newcomer artist Anne Wilson has a passion for Christian music. It's the music of her childhood. It's also the genre that best conveys the faith-centric message from her heart.
Yet Wilson, 20, has a desire to reach beyond the Christian community and into the larger world with her unique country-tinged style. She did that with My Jesus, a country-sounding CCM song that became a mega-hit on radio, reaching No. 1 on the National Christian Airplay chart. Her debut album, also titled My Jesus, includes multiple songs with that same country sound.
"I grew up on Christian music, and then my brother raised me on country music. So it's kind of a Christian-country mix," she told Christian Headlines, referencing her music style and her late brother, Jacob.
"My heart is to do Christian music forever. I love the Christian community, and I love getting to share Jesus with people," she added. "But I also feel called to take that message into the world outside of the Christian market. So one of the ways that I feel very called is just by my songs being about the Lord and about His goodness and talking about Him – but the music sounding very country."
Wilson won two honors at this year's K-LOVE Fan Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Breakout Single (My Jesus). She received six nominations for the Dove Awards, which will be held in October.
Her popularity spans genres.
"[It] has been really fun to see how people in other genres that don't listen to Christian music are listening to my music, because they feel kind of this pull towards it, because of the sound of it," she said. "So I would say [my music is] like Christian-country, a little bit of Western – all that vibe."
Wilson's late brother Jacob was killed in an automobile accident when he was 23 and she 15. That tragedy – and God's guidance through the storm – inspired her song My Jesus. She opens up about that tragedy in an upcoming book, My Jesus: From Heartache To Hope, which is scheduled for release on Oct. 25.
"It was really hard losing Jacob – it was a hard season of heartbreak and just didn't feel like I could really even make it through. It was just so sad. But I remember in those moments of deep pain and suffering that I felt God in a closer way than I've ever felt before," she told Christian Headlines. "He was very close. He was near. He was there for me – His presence, I could feel all the time."
Photo courtesy: ©Jason Davis Photography for K-LOVE Fan Awards, used with permission.
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.