Sinach : Two versions of “Way Maker” on Billboard Top 10 propel Nigerian to summit of Christian songwriters chart

By Ebimo Amungo

With two covers of her song “Way Maker” hitting the Top 10 of the Christian songs category on Billboard, Nigerian gospel singer, Osinachi Okoro-Joseph, has topped the Christian songwriter category of Billboard.

Versions of “Way Maker” by Michael W. Smith and Madelyn Berry are concurrently in the Top 10, while two other versions are in the Top 40, making a total of four versions of the same song in the Billboard Top 50.

Sinach made the world aware of her incredible feat in a tweet captioned, “So apparently We have been No 1 on billboard USA for Christian song writer for 7 weeks !! Look at God!! First Black person. First from Africa … So grateful to God!! Thank you @billboard #loveworld @joe_egbu.

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The mother of one shared the news with her fans on Instagram with a screenshot of the chart page which showed her name as number one on the on billboard USA for a Christian songwriter.

An article by BillBoard acknowledged that the feat is a first since the Christain Song category of the fames charts were started in 2003.

Read this article from BillBoard and watch the three version of the same song below below:

There’s a Second Version of ‘Waymaker’ in the Hot Christian Songs Top 10 & That’s a First for the Chart

by Jim Asker

Michael W. Smith
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight NightMichael W. Smith performs onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XXV on March 23, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Two singles make for a historic double-up on Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs chart.

Christian rock band Leeland scores its first top 10 hit on the chart, as “Way Maker (Live)” hops 13-9 on the list dated April 11. Concurrently, Michael W. Smith‘s take, listed as “Waymaker” and featuring Vanessa Campagna and Madelyn Berry, climbs 6-3, hitting a new high.

The twofer marks the first time in the history of Hot Christian Songs that two versions of the same song have resided simultaneously in the top 10.

Meanwhile, two other recordings of the track appear on the ranking: Mandisa‘s bullets at No. 38, back-to-back with Passion‘s (featuring Kristina Stanfill, Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes), which enters the top 40 (43-39).

Leeland’s version rocketed by 144% to 4,000 downloads sold in the week ending April 2, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It also increased by 15% to 2 million U.S. streams. On Christian Airplay, it bumps 37-35, up 14% to 704,000 audience impressions in the week ending April 5.

Smith’s rendition bounded by 103% to 5,000 sold and 42% to 1.3 million streams. It lifts 6-5 on Christian Airplay, up 15% to 9.5 million impressions.

Despite the unprecedented feat of a title repeating in the Hot Christian Songs top 10, other compositions have been hits in the Christian genre in condensed time frames. Chris Tomlin‘s “Good Good Father” topped Hot Christian Songs for seven weeks starting in February 2016, after worship group Housefires‘ version rose to No. 29 in July 2015. Plus, Zealand Worship‘s recording reached No. 29 in March 2016.

Such occurrences aren’t coincidences, as anthems gain momentum by being sung in churches all over the globe by worship groups. Even while converting to social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, church services continue, with worshipers streaming their services from home. In many cases, worship bands are still in place, just with members spread out from one other as they perform.

The original version of “Waymaker” got traction in churches in 2016 by the song’s writer, Nigerian artist-pastor Osinachi Okoro, whose stage name is Sinach.

Rob Wagman, a veteran radio programmer who now consults Christian stations, says that just because a song has been performed in churches doesn’t necessarily mean that radio listeners are familiar with it. Radio, thus, is a key part of bringing songs that might be popular in services to much wider audiences.

“Not all churchgoers are listening to Christian radio, and vice versa,” Wagman says. “Certainly, [church] is influential and programmers should be taking that into consideration. It’s definitely an important piece.”

Wagman also isn’t surprised that stations are playing multiple “Waymaker” recordings. “Both the Smith and Leeland versions are researching extremely well, and stations [that I consult] make the call of which to play. And if a programmer gets hung up on the fact that Smith is a heritage act and may not be a fit for their younger audience, I’ll quickly dispel it. Fact is, he’s a legend and the audience loves him. There’s some of that bias, but it’s just a myth.”