While fellow contestant Chris Blue may have won the winner's crown for the season 12 of NBC's Voice, Aliyah Moulden who finished in third place, has the #1 song on Billboard's Christian Digital Songs Sales chart. Her rendition of MercyMe's "I Can Only Imagine" has sold 15,000 digitially to debut at #1. Meanwhile, the song starts at No. 4 on Hot Christian Songs. She sang the ballad on the show's May 15 episode to great applause and appreciation from her legions of fans.
Written and composed by Bart Millard, "I Can Only Imagine" was inspired by the death of Millard's father and considers what it would be like in Heaven and to be standing before God. The song was first issued as a track on MercyMe's 1999 album The Worship Project, which was released on an independent record label. The song was re-recorded and included on their 2001 major-label debut album Almost There as the fifth song on the album.
"I Can Only Imagine" was released in 2001 as the album's lead single. It gained significant airplay on Christian radio formats before crossing over to mainstream radio formats such as adult contemporary and Top 40 in late 2003 and into 2004; to aid in promotion to these markets, a double A-side physical single (combined with "Word of God Speak") was released in 2003. It charted on several formats, including the Billboard Adult Contemporary (where it peaked at No. 5) and the Hot 100 (where it peaked at No. 71).
In 2002, "I Can Only Imagine" earned the Dove Awards for 'Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year' and 'Song of the Year'; Millard earned the Dove Award 'Songwriter of the Year' at the same ceremony. The song has been certified 2x platinum RIAA for sales of over two million digital downloads, and is the first (and so far only) Christian single to reach that milestone.
Aliyah Moulden is 15 years old from Los Angeles, California and is of Latin and African-American descent. She was raised by her mother when her father passed away, due to his battle with lung cancer, when she was only a month old, according to her profile on NBC's The Voice homepage. Music helped her in high school, so her mother signed her up for vocal lessons. Since then, at such a young age, she has already opened for Caroline Sunshine, Toddrick Hall, and Jesse McCartney. She also sang in the BET Experience at the L.A. Convention Center this past summer.