Maher's latest success follows a trend in the growing popularity of Christian music.
There comes a time in every artist’s career where they see a peak in popularity, but for Matt Maher it’s beginning to feel like the sky is the limit, as each summit reveals another higher peak in the distance. Maher has been putting out high quality faith music for 20 years, and now his song “Alive and Breathing,” steeped in Christian themes, has reached the Rolling Stone’s Trending 25, resting beside some of the most popular secular songs of the day.
The Rolling Stone Trending 25 chart is focused on weekly growth of a song’s popularity. In the first week of June, Maher’s latest hit grew by 84%, reaching the #3 slot, between “Down Like That” by KSI and “Summer at 7” by Russ. This surge in the song’s ratings follows a growing trend towards the Christian music genre, which saw the conversion of WPLJ (one of the most popular Top 40 radio stations in NY) to the Christian focused K-LOVE, in 2019.
“Alive and Breathing” has been climbing the Christian Billboard charts as well, where it reached a peak of #4 on June 20. The popularity of Maher’s latest gem is due to its exceptional chorus that is both catchy and relevant to the times. Although the song was written well before the world pandemic, it offers a message of hope to those who are preparing to end their isolation and return to daily societal life.
Joy still comes in the morningHope still walks with the hurtingIf you’re still alive and breathingPraise the Lord
The melodic line constantly rises throughout the song, giving it a feel of soaring jubilation on the line “praise the Lord.” He is supported by Elle Limebear, who provides backup vocals that impeccably blend with Maher’s clear, expressive tenor. According to BGospel, Maher first played “Alive and Breathing” in his debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry, in February 2020.
In an interview with KCBI, Maher said of the song:
“It was a reminder from God that if you still have breath in your lungs and you’re still on this side of heaven, then the best way to move forward is to praise God. Praise isn’t something that we do to avoid our problems. Praise is the way through our problems. The Hebrew word for praise has seven different definitions and I think it’s because the writer wanted Psalm 152 not just to mean one specific context, but it’s the culmination of every kind of praise or his praise in the valley. Praise on the mountaintop, praise in the great place, and praise in the hard place.”