Todd Agnew remembers when things were especially difficult for newcomers on the Christian music scene.
“You’d only see like one or two new people a year really break through,” said Agnew, who released his first disc in 2003.
Since then, the artist has been honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
He’s earned multiple Dove Award nominations and toured with acts like Matthew West and Newsboys.
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Along with those personal victories, Agnew has witnessed milestones within the Christian music — namely, the way the genre has expanded to include a diverse set of recognizable names.
“Music is continuing to grow,” Agnew said. “That’s been really encouraging.”
Friday, Agnew performs at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus as part of the Promise Remains Tour.
The show also features Building 429 and Kimber Rising, a new Nashville-based female trio that blends Christian music with pop and R&B.
Agnew met the three musicians from Building 429 around the time they released their first major-label disc in 2004.
“We’ve just kind of stayed friends over the years,” he said. “They’re great guys.”
Agnew is preparing to release an album in October.
It’s the follow-up to his 2007 disc, “Better Questions.”
That album challenged the traditionally rosy nature of Christian music by focusing on the tough, often unanswerable, questions that can accompany religion.
Even with discs like “Better Questions,” Agnew said many music fans consider Christian music primarily inspirational.
“It’s still mostly thought of as positive and encouraging,” he said.
But Agnew is quick to note that while he thrives on questioning, other artists thrive on inspiring.
“I think a lot of musicians are encouragers,” he said.
Luckily, the genre has grown big enough to accommodate both styles.