HotStar: Skillet

It may seem that Christian hard-rock band Skillet came out of nowhere to top the charts with its latest album, 2009’s Awake, yielding mainstream hits like “Heroes” and “Monster” that are played at sporting events, World Wrestling Entertainment bouts and in television and films.

But the truth is the Tennessee-based group formed in 1996, has released seven albums, gone through several lineup changes and reinvented itself musically while learning the ropes of performing live and connecting with audiences.

That’s what Zachary Kelm of Q Management Group says makes this band great. “Skillet’s been at this for 13 years and this slow build has allowed them to develop a very hardcore fan base,” Kelm told Pollstar. “Yes, they come out of the Christian rock scene but that doesn’t mean [the band’s] music is exclusive to Christians.

“They write songs that are experiences from life … positive and negative emotions that no matter whether you are a person of faith or no faith, we’ve all lived through.”

Frontman/bassist John Cooper, his wife Korey Cooper on guitar and keyboards, guitarist Ben Kasica and drummer Jen Ledger are touring North America, including support dates with Creed, through the end of the year.

Awake peaked at No. 2 on Nielsen SoundScan’s Top 200 Albums chart.

2005 Grammy nomination for Collide as Best Rock Gospel Album and 2007 Grammy nod for Comatose as Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album