MercyMe Biography

Review The Artist (5)

It’s been quite a year for MercyMe. Their INO Records debut, Almost There, rocketed up the charts within weeks of its August 2001 release, propelled by the success of their mega-hit single, “I Can Only Imagine.” The record-breaking disc was certified Gold in less than a year, is nearly platinum now, and was the best-selling debut of 2001 in the Christian industry. MercyMe was also honored by the industry with three Doves Awards (for Song of the Year, Pop Recorded Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for MercyMe frontman and “Imagine” scribe Bart Millard). Then there was that cover of their hit song included on Amy Grant’s recent Legacy project. And even as they prepared for the October 2002 release of their much-anticipated follow-up, Spoken For, you could still find Almost There on the Billboard Top 200. In fact, both albums are in the Billboard Top 200 now, and they’re currently nominated for 5 more Dove Awards, including Song of the Year, Pop Album of the Year, Group of the Year, and Artist of the Year.

Not bad for a bunch of guys who were just hoping their album would allow them to continue while supporting their growing families. 1.5 million records later, they’re looking back and can’t believe how far they’ve come.

It’s true. When asked about recent milestones, lead singer Millard doesn’t talk about Gold records or singing with Amy Grant or seeing their song played on the video loop at Target and Wal-Mart stores nationwide. Instead, he mentions his new son, Sam, as well as band mate Nathan Cochran’s new baby boy William, the importance of family and the responsibility to remain real. Not that the success of Almost There didn’t translate into some college funds for the kids, but the band is much more excited about their expanding ministry.

“ The shows, the opportunities to play, and the crowds have gotten bigger,” Millard admits. “It’s been amazing…It’s kept us grounded because we’ve been given such a blessing and we don’t want to mess it up.”

After eight years as a band, they’ve learned how each member plays an important role in who MercyMe really is. Guitar player Mike Scheuchzer met Millard when he was in the Florida youth group Millard worked with. After graduation he pulled him on stage and they’ve been playing together ever since. Then there’s Robby Shaffer, drummer and financial wizard. He’s in charge of the band’s finances and is known as “the responsible one.” Bassist and new dad Nathan Cochran is the quiet one of the bunch so when he does have something to say it’s usually worth listening to. Then there’s Jim Bryson, a keyboard player whose technical expertise has been called on frequently in the past to repair the band’s bus. He also has a huge heart for kids.

It’s that genuineness and the band’s obvious affection for each other that audiences respond to. And they’re responding to the new music as well. The band had been performing “Spoken For” for a year before the album’s release, and students were always asking when the song would be available on disc. That kind of response was a real confidence builder as the band headed back into the studio with returning producer Pete Kipley, feeling a little pressure at the thought of following up their previous success.
Not that they needed to worry.

While Almost There was a compilation of songs written over a seven year span, Spoken For has allowed the band to deliver a timely message that reflects where they are at right now.

So while the popularity of “I Can Only Imagine” may have put the pressure on, it’s only pushed the band to be their best. And looking back, Millard has only good feelings about the song, written for his father who died of cancer while Bart was in his late teens.

“ I couldn’t pick another song I’d rather have be with me the rest of my life because of what it meant to me,” Millard says, adding “Imagine will always be a part of us and we’ll play it every night.”

But MercyMe is also looking with excitement toward the future.

“ It’s a new season and I shake with anticipation at letting people know where we’re at and what we have for them now.”

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just what I was looking for | Reviewer: KChan | 9/4/2007

I went to a Women's conference over the weekend and during worship they sung "I can sing of your love forever and Open the eyes of my heart". Those songs ministered to all the women that were there and I believe some strongholds were broken! Those songs are still playing in my head a few days later. So I got on the net today to find out who sung them and found out it was MercyMe. I have even seen their music in stores but never picked it I can't wait to buy one of their cds!!

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a rare gem... | Reviewer: jerusha | 6/15/2007

I don't know about any of you, but I am picky when it comes to CCM. I am an IFB, and they all say that these artists are just in it for the money, they don't live the christian life, etc, etc. That may be true about many, but it is my belief that there are a few good artists, just trying to follow Christ as best they can. They have good hearts, they love Jesus, and they love people. MercyMe is on my list of those select few. There songs have always had MEANING, they always make you think, instead of being shallow and empty. Some songs stand out above others, and are a clear window into the hearts of those who sing and play, all that they have gone through. I can listen to them over and over; the songs always speak to me, some even make me cry. Most of all, the songs and music; its about ordinary people, going through the same things all christians go through. Hard times, hurt, doubt, those rare moments when you truly feel God is near, love, sacrifice, joy. As christians, we like to know that those held high are really like us, and that they really understand. They are ordinary people who are just letting God use them. I highly recommend all their albums!!

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Awesome | Reviewer: Evelyn | 4/24/2007

Man you guys i like the way you guys sing to the lord i love your son i can only imagine and may the lord keep on blessing and annointing you more and more so you can give him the honor and the glory well laters and GOB BLESS

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MercyMe Rox my Sox!!! | Reviewer: Bethany Morehead | 7/27/2005

ohhh man i my dad got me the new mercyme cd called "undone" and it rox!!! I mean the songs here with me and homesick r my fav. 2 songs. the songs speak 2 ur heart and open ur sould to feel free to worship christ in your comfort of ur car home etc... well i hope u learned alot about mercyme from me and i would recommend then new mercyme cd "undone" 2 anyone who asked me about it the song "i can only imagine" is a powerful song we played it @ my grandfathers funeral and everyone cried and it was not sadness but tears of joy knowing he is in heaven w/ jesus singing for him well hope u like my review of this band i g2g 4 now email me if u feel the same way buh-bye!

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Mercy Me Rocks! | Reviewer: Craig | 11/9/2004

If you like Contemporary Christian music that literally speaks to your soul, Mercy Me is that band, with a little edge where needed and soft when called for, their music is dynamic and clean. They are also a great group to catch live. Keep up the good work!

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