Inspiration for one of the songs on Hilary Weeks’ recently released CD “Every Step," came while she was doing the dishes. Another song was written with the weight-loss show “Biggest Loser” in mind. And the last one composed was an effort of three people who ended up having time the night before the last day of recording.
“Every Step” also made it onto five different Billboard charts last week, including No. 6 on Top Current Contemporary Christian and No. 102 on the Top Albums – Billboard Top 200. It was also No. 8 on the Current Christian Overall and No. 1 on both Top New Artist Albums – Indie Chart and New Artist Albums – Mountain. Also, two days after the album's Oct. 25 release, it was the No. 2-selling album on iTunes in the Christian/gospel category.
It’s the first time a Mormon has cracked the Top 10 on Billboard’s Christian Albums list, according to Billboard.com, and it’s also a first for a solo artist with the Shadow Mountain Records label.
Pianist Josh Wright has been on the top of the Classical Traditional chart and pianist Paul Cardall has been on the top of the New Age chart, said Bob Ahlander, director of music and film at Deseret Book.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which is produced under its own label, has frequently been on and at the top of the Classical Traditional chart. “Glad Christmas Tidings” with David Archuleta and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is No. 7 on the Classical Traditional chart.
“I was in shock,” Weeks said of when she heard the news. “We’re just thrilled.”
It was in a meeting last summer when Laurel Christensen, vice president of product development, said that she would like to crack the Christian charts, Ahlander said.
Weeks’ music is inspirational and faith-based without pointing to any one specific religion, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which she is a member and was recently called as a Relief Society teacher. Weeks also regularly performs at Deseret Book’s Time Out for Women events.
“That’s who Hilary is,” Ahlander said of her music. “Her material is really strong.”
Even with her growing fan base, it also had the potential to reach a broader audience.
“You’ve got some heavy hitters who do well,” Ahlander said, on the Christian charts, like Casting Crowns, who had the No. 1 and No. 3 spots this week.
“It would be a feat to get into the Top 10,” he said of how competitive the Christian charts are. “And we did.”
The CD was recorded in both Nashville, Tenn., and Salt Lake City during the last week in July and the first part of August.
“The players that played on the CD, they are in touch with Christian music, country music and current music,” Weeks said of recording in Nashville. “They hadn’t heard of Hilary Weeks.”
She was curious how they would interpret the music: “They interpreted it perfect every single time,” Weeks said.
“There was a fresh group of people around this project and it feels different,” Alhander said. “It was mastered by the same guy who did Lady Antebellum’s new album.”
“Dancing in the Rain” was the first song Weeks wrote. The idea for the lyrics and the music came while she was doing dishes in her kitchen.
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