A contemporary worship music ensemble, Elevation Worship have found a large and devoted audience for their songs celebrating faith in Jesus Christ. Their music is rooted in both pop and rock influences, with the sweep of classical music; their performances are polished and atmospheric but full of passion, speaking powerfully to their beliefs. On the group's early albums, such as 2008's We Are Alive and 2009's God with Us, Elevation Worship's music was largely up-tempo and showed a strong alternative rock influence, but with 2010's Kingdom Come, their tunes become more artful, with bigger arrangements and massed vocals, and their recordings took on a grand, ambitious feel. With 2017's There Is a Cloud and 2018's Hallelujah Here Below, some of the rock elements took a back seat as Elevation Worship created a sound that aspired to the dynamics of an orchestra, albeit performed by a contemporary pop ensemble.
Elevation Worship began as the musical arm of the Elevation Church, a multi-site church based in Charlotte, North Carolina, that was founded in 2006 by pastor Steven Furtick. The group was originally formed around the musical core of Chris Brown, Mack Brock, and Wade Joye, all of whom sang and played guitar, while Furtick contributed to their songwriting. While a shifting cast of instrumentalists worked with Elevation Worship, singers, Brown and Brock would become two of their on-stage focal points and a number of other vocalists were featured, including Jenna Barrientes, Jonsal Barrientes, London Gatch, Anna Sailors, and Jane Williams.
Elevation Worship released their debut album, a live set entitled Live Worship, in 2006 through the church's own label, and three more independent releases followed — 2007's The Sound, 2008's We Are Alive, and 2010's Kingdom Come. Kingdom Come was a breakthrough success for Elevation Worship; the album was their first to hit the national charts, reaching 17 on the Christian survey and 42 on the independent chart. The warm welcome given to Kingdom Come led to Kingdom Come Remix, a five-song EP featuring extended versions of selections from the album.
The group next struck a deal with Essential Records, a Christian label distributed by Sony Music, and their first release for their new label, For the Honor, came out in 2011. The album peaked at 19 on the Christian album charts, while the follow-up, 2013's Nothing Is Wasted, was their first to rise to number one on the Christian survey. Critics and fans alike embraced 2013's Here in Heaven and 2014's Only King Forever, while Wake Up the Wonder, also issued in 2014, became Elevation Worship's second Christian chart-topper.
2016's Here as in Heaven was recorded at a worship event in Charlotte that drew a capacity crowd of 16,000 people; a track from the album, "O Come to the Altar," was released as a single, hit number two on the Christian Singles charts, and was certified gold. Here as in Heaven was also the first album Elevation released through their new Elevation Worship label, affiliated with Provident Distribution. Another live document, There Is a Cloud, appeared in March 2017, and was another number one Christian hit while also rising to 11 on the Top 200 albums listing. The album spawned a Christian hit single with "Do It Again." Five months later, Elevation Worship dropped Lo Harás Otra Vez, their first Spanish-language release.
2017 was also a year of change for the group, as longstanding members Mack Brock and London Gatch both stepped away from active service. However, this didn't slow Elevation Worship in their mission; September 2018 saw the release of Hallelujah Here Below, which included two Top 30 Christian singles — "Here Again" and "Won't Stop Now" — and received a Grammy nomination as Best Christian Album. The five-song live EP At Midnight followed in mid-2019, as did the live album Paradoxology. Another concert offering, Graves Into Gardens, featuring Brandon Lake, appeared in 2020. ~ Mark Deming