Electronic dance music, more commonly known as EDM, is a term for a specific style of electronic dance music composed by and made popular by prominent Christian artists. Christian EDM was created in the 1990s in the United States, with the growth of the Christian musical movement in that country. Christian EDM mixes traditional music forms (slow, melodic) with spiritual and Christian lyrics and music. The term Christian dance music was first used in a performance by Canadian soul singer Scott Storch in the song “Blessings” from the album “Life is a Haunting” (1990). Since then, other artists and groups have included Christian elements and lyrics into their EDM.
Most EDM Worship music features worship songs such as “O Holy Night” and “Worship” by Hillsong USA. Many other well-known Christian musical artists have made EDM and Christian dance music hits as well. For example, Christina Aguilera’s song “Hallelujah,” which features an image of Jesus on the cover, as well as the hit single “True Love Waits for Us” by Boyz II Men feature EDM elements as well. The Christian component in these songs draws some of the same audiences that would otherwise be attracted to secular dance music. Christian EDM often takes the form of worship or thanksgiving dance numbers that combine elements of contemporary Christian dance with elements from traditional Christian hymns.
While EDM is increasingly popular among the many Christian musical groups that regularly play at Christian gatherings, it is not uncommon to find some Christian EDM that has nothing to do with religion. In fact, many Christians, even those who do not practice Christianity, are familiar with this newer form of Christian music. EDM can refer to both upbeat worship songs that include praise and worship music as well as more relaxing and spiritual songs that tend to be more introspective or meditative. While it is impossible to discuss every artist who makes or sells Christian EDM it is certainly worthwhile to note that many of the artists mentioned above – such as Hillsong USA and Christina Aguilera – have Christian roots. They may not vocalize their faith in God in their songs but their music is infused with Christian sentiment.
While Christian dance music is growing in popularity, there is no doubt that Christian EDM has also grown in popularity in recent years. In an age when a lot of music is being created that often does not appeal to a wide variety of age, sex, or religion, Christian dance music is an especially niche market. Christian dance musicians and singers have historically been favored over secular artists because they are seen as representing a specific type of faith – either through a tradition of regular attendance to church or a belief in a deity. This helps Christian music to stand apart from the growing number of EDM artists who are not necessarily Christian but have taken elements from Christian tradition and incorporated them into their own music.
Christian EDM is often considered to be a sub-genre of Christian hip-hop. The growing number of EDM fans, many of whom are younger Christians, is no doubt influenced by this sub-genre. Hip hop is becoming increasingly popular among many Christians who are looking for a way to incorporate spirituality into their lives. While hip hop and Christian hip hop are not necessarily similar, there are certain similarities in the styles and sounds of the two genres that have made it a popular Christian musical style.
Christian worship music tends to be slower and contains repetitive guitar riffs and drum beats. Often times, the lyrics are biblical verses or simply inspirational sayings. Because it is often played at slower speeds, it can be used to get people into a more restful state before setting out on their worship journey. It is not uncommon for Christian worship songs to contain hymns or praise songs. Some songs may even be instrumental, featuring a keyboard, guitar, and/or harmonica playing.
Christian EDM often uses the spoken word to deliver spiritual messages. It may be a long dissertation, a sermon, or simply a series of few words that are spoken by an artist in praise. Commonly, artists will create their own words to share as Christian music for worship. These songs are usually slower than other music, but not always. They tend to have a reverent tone and are often about topics like love, God, or promises.
Christian EDM usually does not use instrumental breaks. Instead, each verse or chorus will play a unique musical instrument. These instruments are usually a piano, guitar, harp, or clavichord. The entire song is almost improvised, as the artist belts out lyrics or begins a song with a prayer or special message. Many Christian EDM songs also include praise songs.