Get to know MercyMe Music Group.

Written by on September 16, 2022

MercyMe is an American contemporary Christian music band founded in Edmond, Oklahoma. The band consists of lead vocalist Bart Millard, percussionist Robby Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran, and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul.

The band’s name came from Bart’s grandmother during his days as a youth ministry intern at a Florida church. Concerned that he seemed to be home whenever she called, she chided, “Well, mercy me! Get a real job!” As Bart observes, “So here we are with a name that reminds us that one day we will have to get real jobs.”

Formation and early years

Singer Bart Millard met pianist James Phillip Bryson in Lakeland, Florida, after an invitation from his youth pastor. Both led a praise team on a trip to Europe. They both felt a call to work full-time in music. They later met the guitarist Michael John Scheuchzer, who joined them, then moved to Oklahoma City. The group was officially formed in 1994 at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma.

In 1997, MercyMe moved to Nashville to find a record label. After a year, they left Nashville for Dallas and recorded an album. Then they settled in Greenville, Texas, and served at Highland Terrace Baptist Church.

The trio set up a studio and a “living area” in an old abandoned daycare center. Bassist Nathan Cochran and drummer Robby Shaffer later joined the band, accompanying the band in releasing six independent projects before signing with INO Records in 2001. Unlike their first three major label albums, their earlier indie projects tended to orient more towards rock rhythms. The group’s name, “MercyMe”, originated during Millard’s time as a youth ministry intern in Florida. Concerned that her grandson was home whenever she called, Millard’s grandmother would exclaim, “Well mercy me, why don’t you get a real job?”

The band formed in 1994 and released six independent albums before signing with INO Records in 2001. The group first gained mainstream recognition with the crossover single “I Can Only Imagine”, which elevated their debut album, Almost There, to triple platinum certification.

After “I Can Only Imagine” aired on a cellblock radio tuned to a soft-rock station, a prison guard wrote the band about its impact. As the guard walked past the cells, he found some of the prisoners on their knees worshiping, some weeping and others just sitting in awe. “When you hear this and realize God is using you more than you could ever think, it’s not hard to know you are not in control of your career — God is,” offers Robby.

Since then, the group has released eight additional studio albums (six of which have been certified gold) and a greatest hits album, 10. The group has also had 13 consecutive top 5 singles on the Billboard Christian Songs chart, with 7 of them reaching No. 1.

MercyMe has won 8 Dove Awards and has had many Grammy Award nominations. On April 8, 2014, the band released its eighth studio album titled Welcome to the New. Their ninth studio album, Lifer, was released on March 31, 2017, and their tenth, Inhale (Exhale), was released on April 30, 2021.

They are to release their latest album titled ‘Always Only Jesus’ which will be released on October 21, 2022.

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