Newcomer Wickham makes impressive debut

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Simple/INO Records' singer/songwriter Phil Wickham's self-titled debuted in a big way in May. With 5,847 units sold Phil Wickham hit the Billboard's Top 200 at No. 149, Billboard's Top Christian Albums at No. 8 and Billboard's Heatseekers at No. 3. The Southern California native is the second artist to sign on MercyMe's Bart Millard and producer Pete Kipley's label Simple Records. At just 21 years old and with the support of one of the biggest artists in the industry, Wickham has a long future ahead of him. If that's not enough, the album is a great mix of praise and acoustic alternative rock. Check it out at philwickham.com.

In May, Steven Curtis Chapman performed five concerts in South Korea for U.S. troops, a historic event because it was the first Christian concert ever for U.S. troops based there. The concerts were part of a tour that took Chapman to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea and several cities within China. After his tour closes in China, Chapman's family will join him there to spend a month working in Beijing area orphanages. Later this summer, Chapman heads into the studio to start recording for his 2007 spring release.

BEC Recording artist Jeremy Camp's album Live Unplugged: Jeremy Camp will be available in 500 Hallmark Gold Crown stores nationwide as part of Hallmark's Father's Day promotions. Other artists in the promotion include Amy Grant, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, SheDaisy, Jim Brickman, and Michael Buble. A similar promotion was held for Mother's Day.

MercyMe's fifth album, Coming Up To Breathe (Simple/INO Records), sold more than 58,000 units in its first week of release in May, debuting at No. 13 on the Billboard Top 200 SoundScan, sandwiched between Toby Keith and Shakira's latest. The album entered at No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian SoundScan chart. The video for their single, "So Long Self," hit Yahoo's Music Main page on May 1. In addition, the band is spearheading Redeem the Vote's non-partisan efforts to register 18 to 29 year old voters for the 2006 elections. 

Dustinburke Band, an independent Christian group from Dayton, Ohio, was awarded Indieheaven's first Momentum Scholarship at the annual CIA SUMMIT conference in Nashville. The $20,000 Momentum Scholarship awards one artist or band with an all-expenses-paid 10 song album project produced by Jim Cooper (Building 429's Glory Defined) and mixed by Tony Palacios. In addition to the recorded project, the band will receive additional marketing and tour support as part of the Momentum Scholarship package. To find a recipient, the Indieheaven staff searched for a full-time artist or band that was actively pursuing passion and excellence in their music mission. Qualifications included having a strong work ethic, a consistent live performance schedule, and a heart for ministry. As part of the agreement, the group will remain independent until April 1.

The Afters' popular song "Beautiful Love" has been awarded RIAA Gold Certification for Digital Sales. The RIAA award was developed to recognize the significant sales of the ever-growing digital music market since 2004 and recognizes tracks with sales of more than 100,000 downloads.

Kutless' new album, The Hearts of the Innocent, is making waves all over the place. The album, which released in March, landed the band at No. 1 on the CBA charts, No. 2 on the overall Christian charts, and No. 45 on the Billboard top 200. The video for "Shut Me Out" has been placed on an exclusive Microsoft/Wal-Mart DVD give-a-way, and purchasers of X-box's new game The Apprentice, featuring Donald Trump, will receive a copy of KUTLESS' new video. "All of the Words" from KUTLESS' third album Strong Tower played for almost two minutes on a recent episode of NBC's "Scrubs."

The David Crowder Band releases B Collision: The Eschatology of Bluegrass June 27. The album is an intimate, acoustic version of the band's 5-star-reviewed, Dove-winning parent recording, A Collision. B Collision features the acoustic version of the current A Collision hit single "Wholly Yours," as well as Crowder with special guests Robbie Seay Band and Shane & Shane on his "Be Lifted" and "I Saw the Light." The recording, producers said, also takes inspiration from David Crowder Band's engaging live performances.