Chris Tomlin Biography

Oleh: Tom
January 21, 2009

Tomlin was born in Grand Saline, Texas in 1972 to Connie and Donna Tomlin. He has two younger brothers, Ryan and Cory. Tomlin received his first guitar from his father, Connie, at the age of eleven after contracting a case of mono. Then, Tomlin wrote his first worship song at age fourteen. He entered college planning to study physical therapy, but he stated that he felt God’s calling to something else and did not pursue that career.

In the mid-1990s Tomlin spent time leading worship at the Dawson McAllister Youth Conferences, as well as at various camps around the state of Texas.

Following college, at Texas A&M University Tomlin continued to play and write songs, and in 1997, Louie Giglio asked if he would be interested in working with the Passion Conferences. Tomlin agreed, and he has played a key role ever since. His first nationally released solo project, titled The Noise We Make, was released in 2001, which saw the emergence of songs “Forever,” “Be Glorified”, and “Kindness”, all of which made the top 200 in the CCLI 2005 top 500 worship songs. Since then, he has released many more studio albums, most notably Arriving, which is considered his breakout album, since it produced four number one hits (“Indescribable” (written by Laura Story), “Holy Is the Lord,” “How Great Is Our God,” and “The Way I Was Made”), and two other songs (“On Our Side” and “Mighty is the Power of the Cross”, written with Shawn Craig of Phillips, Craig, and Dean) which landed in the 2005 top five hundred worship songs according to Christian Copyright Licensing International. Just one year after Arriving, Tomlin released his first solo live album, titled Live From Austin Music Hall, and in 2006, he released his fourth studio album, See the Morning. This album has enjoyed great success, for it has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, been certified Gold by the RIAA and has helped him win 6 Dove Awards in 2007, including a second consecutive “Artist of the Year” win. The three singles off this album have all been top #5 songs on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs Chart, and have all reached the number one position on the Radio & Records’s Christian AC Chart.

Although a solo artist, Tomlin travels around with a consistent band lineup. His band, in which he performs vocals, acoustic guitar, and piano, consists of Daniel Carson (electric guitar, backup vocals), Jesse Reeves (bass guitar, harmonica, backup vocals, co-songwriter), and Travis Nunn (drums, loops). The latter replaced Joey Parish as drummer in 2004. Although not considered an “official” band member, Matt Gilder regularly plays the keys for Tomlin. Tomlin and the band developed while working with the Harvest Ministry at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in The Woodlands, Texas in the late 1990s.

According to Christian Copyright Licensing International’s list of the top 25 worship songs in the United States as of August 2007, Tomlin held 5 spots with songs he has either written or co-written with other songwriters: “How Great Is Our God” (#1), “Forever” (#5), “Holy Is the Lord” (#7), “We Fall Down” (#12),and “Indescribable” (#22). On 20 the countdown magazine in 2008 on the top 20 praise and worship songs so far, he held 6 spots: “We Fall Down” (#14), “Forever” (#10), “Holy is the Lord” (#8), “Indescribable” (#6), “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” (#3), and “How Great is our God” (#1).

Tomlin has toured with several prominent acts in the Christian Contemporary Music, such as touring as a support act of Delirious? during his first ever tour, and as a support act of Steven Curtis Chapman during his All Things New Tour. Tomlin has also headlined several tours, such as headlining the Chris Tomlin Indescribable Tour, which featured world renowned worship artist Matt Redman, and prominent speaker Louie Giglio, and headlining the See the Morning Tour. From April to October 2007, Tomlin toured with Louie Giglio and Matt Redman on his “How Great Is Our God” tour. Currently, Tomlin is touring with the rest of his fellow Passion workers as they are currently embarking on their world tour.

On December 12, 2006, Tomlin launched a online music website resource called Frequency which Tomlin described as “A place to serve God and his people in worship.” This site also features articles by many other acts in the Christian Contemporary Music world, such as Matt Maher and Robbie Seay. Originally the site was a free resource but has since become a paid site. Original users are no longer able to sign on to the site using their original screen names and passwords.

On May 31, 2007, Chris Tomlin returned home to Grand Saline, Texas, to play a free show during their annual Salt Festival.

On June 14, 2007, Tomlin’s version of the song “Indescribable” (written by Laura Story) was used as the official wake-up call for Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester on Space Shuttle mission STS-117.

In July 2007, Tomlin joined Hillsong to open the conference with his song Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).

On January 7-11 2008, Tomlin participated in the Compassionart International Songwriting retreat, a retreat, which was dedicated to writing songs whose revenues will go to the poorest of the poor. Other prominent Christian songwriters that went included Matt Redman, Martin Smith, Stuart Garrard, and Steven Curtis Chapman.

In March 2008, Tomlin and his band began recording a new studio record, Hello Love, released in September 2008. The album includes the songs “Sing, Sing, Sing”, “Jesus Messiah”, “Love”, “God of This City”, and “I Will Rise”.

In May 2008, it was announced that Tomlin and his band would be leaving the church he helped plant with senior pastor Matt Carter in Austin, Texas; The Austin Stone Community Church. He’d be leaving in order to start a new church with Passions Conference speaker, Louie Giglio in Atlanta, Georgia.

On June 13, 2008, Tomlin released the first single off the album Hello Love, titled “Jesus Messiah”, which managed to reach the #1 position on the iTunes Christian and Gospel chart, along with being the most added song on Christian AC, Christian Hit Radio, and Christian Inspirational Radio during its first week.

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3 Comments

  • c. l.

    c. tomlin is indeed a blessing from the Lord to the body of Christ. May the Lord continue to use him and many other wonderful God-feared worship leaders.

  • rebecca k

    every day i wake up to his music and it makes me smile his music gives me good vibes to start a day

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