Gospel music choir director, singer and songwriter William McDowell has caused a revival on the Billboard chart. His latest release The Sounds of Revival Live launches atop Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart, selling 11,000 copies in the week ending Jan. 28, according to Nielsen Music.
Recorded live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, before an audience of 3,000 people, Sounds of Revival is McDowell's third number one album. It is also the latest chapter of the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter-worship leader's journey, one that began in Cincinnati, Ohio, and soared when his 2009 "I Give Myself Away" garnered more than one million views on YouTube.
"I always knew I was called to ministry," McDowell told JGM, "but what I'm doing right now is more than I imagined."
2011's Arise: The Live Worship Experience launched on top (9,000), followed by 2013's Withholding Nothing, which debuted at No. 2 with 11,000 (just slightly more than his new set's raw starting sum) before rising to No. 1 the next frame. The initial single from Revival, "Spirit Break Out," jumps 24-16 on Hot Gospel Songs.
To McDowell, the purpose of Sounds of Revival goes beyond worship. "It's purpose is to awaken a cry on the inside for a move of God to happen-not only on the earth but individually. There's a sense many of us have that what some people are calling a Third Great Awakening, or a move of God, is taking place, or about to take place on the earth. We're not seeing a global movement just yet, but we are seeing pockets of this movement taking place around the world."
The new Great Awakening, McDowell explained, is not an expression of dissatisfaction with the current state of worship. "It is about what some people call a 'holy dissatisfaction' for the way that things are in general. A turning away from Godly things, particularly in Western cultures, and the necessity for an awakening or a revival that takes place in the church."