Jesus Culture's mainstay worship leader Kim Walker-Smith debuts at #1 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums chart (dated May 13). The set earnt 9,000 equivalent album units (7,000 in traditional sales) in its first week, according to Nielsen Music.
On My Side follows three prior Top Christian Albums top 10s for Walker-Smith. Still Believe reached No. 2 in 2013, as did Home, with husband Skyler Smith (No. 2, 2013), while When Christmas Comes jingled to No. 7 in 2014. Jesus Culture has collected seven top 10s, beginning in 2010, including the No. 1 Unstoppable Love, in 2014.
Walker-Smith is considered one of Christian music's top female worship leaders as well as one of the founding leaders of the Jesus Culture movement. For seventeen years, she has travelled the world leading worship, sharing at conferences, and recording numerous live albums with Jesus Culture (most recently Let It Echo, 2016), associated with such worship anthems as "How He Loves," "Spirit Break Out," "In the River," and many more. In the midst of all of Jesus Culture's momentum, Walker-Smith launched her solo career with This Is My Song (2008) followed up by Still Believe (2013), as well as an album with her husband (Home, 2013). It's been four years and a lot of life has happened since Walker-Smith's last solo album. For one, she became a mother.
"Becoming a mom was a huge transition for me. I've always been a career-minded person, so becoming a mother didn't feel natural right away," remembers Walker-Smith. "I really struggled for a while and had bad postpartum depression after my second baby was born. We're on the road, traveling, recording albums, and I have two babies 14 months apart. It was a lot in every sense of the word: mentally, hormonally, logistically and emotionally. I also struggled with what it looked like to have a relationship with the Lord as a mother. You're not the same person anymore when you have a baby, so suddenly, I'm trying to relate to the Lord in the same way I used to but as a different version of myself. I had to work through my new identity as a mother."
It was this life-changing season along with many other circumstances and events that inspired On My Side. With so much to say, she ended up being a writer on almost every song on the album. She also decided to step into new territory by recording each song in the studio, a departure from the live album experience for which Jesus Culture is so well known.