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Green in concert, August 2015
August 1, 1956|
Portland, Oregon, United States
|Genres||Contemporary Christian, inspirational|
|Associated acts||Truth, Gaither Vocal Band, White Heart, Sandi Patty|
Steve Green (born August 1, 1956) is a Christian music singer, notable for his tenor vocal range and flexible solo style. Over his 35-year career, Green has been honored as a four-time Grammy Award nominee, seven-time Dove Award winner. He has had 13 No. 1 songs, and has sold over three million albums.
Green was born in Portland, Oregon to parents Charles and Jo Green. His parents were Baptist missionaries. He is one of six siblings who spent much of his early life in Argentina, though like two of his siblings, he attended Phoenix Christian High School in the early 1970s when his family was in the U.S. and graduated from there in 1974. At age 18, he enrolled at Grand Canyon University. He intended to major in pre-law, but a professor recognized his musical talent and encouraged him to develop it.
After two years at the university, Green left to travel the world with the group Truth. After his two-year stint with Truth (1976–78). Green married Marijean McCarly, a former member of Truth, and they moved to Alexandria, Indiana to sing backup for the Bill Gaither Trio. In 1980, Green joined Gary McSpadden, Lee Young and Bill Gaither to form the Gaither Vocal Band. Green sang tenor for their first two albums, The New Gaither Vocal Band and Passin' the Faith Along. In 1982, Steve and Gaither's musicians formed the Christian rock band White Heart. Green sang lead for White Heart as they recorded their debut self-titled album (which sold nearly 70,000 copies). In 1983, Steve left White Heart due to not feeling that his place was in a rock band. That same year, a confrontation with his brother, Randy, led to a spiritual renewal in Green's life. He signed a solo contract with Sparrow Records, and his self-titled debut album appeared in 1984. In the same year, he established Steve Green Ministries. In the early part of his solo career, he was known for crescendo-building, high-note endings.
His break out year came in 1985 with the release of He Holds the Keys, which earned Green the Dove Award for Male Vocalist of the Year in the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) category. The following year, 1986, saw the release of two recordings, For God And God Alone and a worship/hymns album entitled A Mighty Fortress. In early 1988, he released an album dedicated to his parents called Find Us Faithful. As the 1980s came to an end, many of Green's songs became recognized standards including "People Need the Lord" and "Broken and Spilled Out". He was often considered the male version of Sandi Patty, using many of the same songwriters and styles as well as the traditional ending the song on a (literal) high note. Green also contributed background vocals to Patty's 1986 hit, "Let There Be Praise."
Green was involved with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from the mid-1980s onward. Green was one of the first artists to be involved with Promise Keepers, performing at their inaugural event at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado in July 1993 before 50,000 men. His song "Answer the Call" was inspired by the event and another song, "O Men of God Arise," embodies the Promise Keepers' message.
Green recorded The Mission in 1989 and continued his success with We Believe in 1991. As the early 1990s direction of Christian music changed to a more rock oriented format, Green returned to traditional roots by releasing an album of hymns in 1992. Yet Green switched styles toward a more "pop" flavor on his 1994 "Where Mercy Begins" album. He also received the first of two career boosts due to outside events.
On September 8, 1994, USAir Flight 427 crashed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing all 132 persons on board. One passenger was an up-and-coming Christian singer named Kirk Lynn, who had just re-recorded Green's "As We Sail To Heaven's Shore" from the 1988 Find Us Faithful album. Only a rough cut played at the memorial service for the passengers. Grieving family members were told of Green's original, which boosted album sales for the older recording.
Green's style change continued on his 1996 recording, The Letter. He was also instrumental in attempting to set up an accountability group for fellow Christian artists and friends.
Green changed focus again in 1998 by declaring he would only record songs that honor the Lord - songs that he could be satisfied with should it be his last recording. That coincided with a controversial ruling by the Gospel Music Association known as the "Definition of Gospel Music" that erupted with major disqualifications at the ensuing year's Dove Awards over songs that did not honor the Lord. That year saw the release of The Faithful and 2000 saw the release of a devotional song album entitled Morning Light. Two years later Green released Woven in Time and again found himself receiving a career boost.
Green was a personal friend of Space Shuttle Columbia commander Rick Husband, who was killed along with six others in the February 2003 disintegration during reentry. Green was interviewed by CNN and his song "God of Wonders" got a boost from the unexpected publicity.
In 2005 Green released a new album, Somewhere Between. This album saw Steve move in a different direction, leaning more toward an art song style. This album featured less declarative answers of Green's past work, and instead explores the questions of pain, doubt and loss that life ineveitably rains down on both the just and the unjust. Green co-wrote half of the songs on this album.
In 2007 Green released his last non-compilation album under the Sparrow label, Always: Songs of Worship. In 2010, Green released Love Will Find a Way, his first release through Steve Green Ministries. This album featured David Phelps on the track "God is Love."
In 2012, Green released two albums, Rest in the Wonder and Christmas. Green stated "Rest in the Wonder is a declaration of absolute trust in God, fiercely holding to what we know for certain and reverently worshiping the One whose ways are higher than our ways and whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts."
2014 saw the release of two more albums from Green: Hide the Word: Bible Songs for Kids and Hymns. "There is nothing more powerful or lasting than God's Word!" says Green. "In the Scriptures, God has told us all we need to know for life and Godliness. These Bible Promises set to music remind us who God is and what He has done for us. What's more, the songs are just plain fun!" Regarding his Hymns project, Green says "In every age, the church has lifted her voice to express praise and adoration, but the church has also used singing to refute dangerous heresy and remind one another of the foundational Biblical truths. In the 12th century, Bernard of Clairvaux penned 'O Sacred Head Now Wounded' and today we still sing his haunting hymn about Jesus' sacrificial death. Five hundred years later, 'Fairest Lord Jesus' appeared anonymously in a hymnbook, published in what is today the country of Poland. How many of us have sung that hymn, marveling at the uniqueness and glory of Christ? I hope this collection of hymns draws you into the historic stream of worship as you join your voice to songs the church has been singing through the ages."
Green's sister is married to Dr. Mark Bailey, president of the evangelical Dallas Theological Seminary, and he helped the seminary celebrate its eightieth anniversary in April 2004. He has also written a thirty-day devotional titled, "The Power of the Cross" and has recorded numerous children's videos and songs.
His bilingual abilities have seen the release of seven Spanish CDs in the United States.
He is married to Marijean Green, whose own vocal qualities complemented her husband's on the song "Household of Faith" on the For God And God Alone album and subsequent appearances. The song has become a staple among Christian wedding duets. They have two children, Summer (born 1981) and Josiah (born 1985).