Christian pop group Casting Crowns began as a student worship band in Daytona Beach, FL, in 1999. Led by singer, songwriter, and youth pastor Mark Hall, the group initially included guitarists Juan DeVevo and Hector Cervantes and violinist Melodee DeVevo. The group relocated to McDonough, GA, in 2001, adding Chris Huffman on bass, Megan Garrett on keyboards and accordion, and drummer Andy Williams. This augmented version of Casting Crowns released two independent albums on CD, both of which were well received in the Atlanta area. One of the albums found its way into the hands of Mark Miller, lead singer for country group Sawyer Brown, who was struck by Casting Crowns' driving pop/rock style and Hall's vocal delivery of his hard-hitting but devout songs. Miller signed Casting Crowns to his fledgling Beach Street Records, a division of Reunion Records with distribution by the Provident Label Group, and took the group into the studio along with co-producer Steven Curtis Chapman, himself a popular artist on the CCM musical scene. The resulting eponymous album, Casting Crowns, was released in 2003 on the Beach Street imprint. The album quickly made them one of the fastest selling debut artists in Christian music history. Lifesong followed in 2005, debuting at #9 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. Both albums have been certified Platinum. The band's third studio album The Altar and the Door debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart and #1 on the Hot Christian Albums chart upon its release in August 2007. Ten weeks after it came out it was certified Gold. The band's live albums Live from Atlanta (2004) and Lifesong Live (2006) have also earned Platinum certifications.
Casting Crowns has enjoyed tremendous success in the United States. They have released nine singles to date with seven of them becoming consecutive number one hits on various Christian music charts. "Voice of Truth" spent a record-breaking fourteen consecutive weeks at #1 beginning in 2003. "Lifesong" spent nine weeks in the top spot, with "Praise You in This Storm" remaining at #1 for seven weeks. Casting Crowns broke their own record in 2007 when the single "East to West" from The Altar and the Door hit sixteen consecutive weeks at #1. The song ended up enjoying the top spot for a total of nineteen weeks, now their most successful single to date. "Slow Fade" was also released as a single, and was included in the soundtrack of the Kirk Cameron film Fireproof.
In 2008, Casting Crowns scored their eighth number one hit with "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", a track from their newly-released Christmas album entitled Peace on Earth.
In early 2009, drummer Andy Williams left to pursue a further calling with blessings from the band. The talented and very bald drummer was replaced with the talented Brian Scoggin and his red locks of hair, an irony Mark mentions on tour.
Mark Hall recently announced that their fourth studio album will be called Until the Whole World Hears.  It will be released November 2009.
(From Wikipedia) http://www.myspace.com/castingcrowns
Natalie Grant: The world is full of dreamers. And rightfully so, God created us that way. But at some point in our lives, we have the choice: to keep the dream for sleeping, or to wake up and live it.
For Natalie Grant, critically acclaimed artist and three-time Dove Award nominee for Female Vocalist of the Year, the choice was to awaken.
Awaken, Natalie's second Curb Records studio album, is the follow-up to her hit-laden label debut, 2003's Deeper Life (which featured the mainstream radio/film soundtrack hit "No Sign of It"). Unearthing a deeper, richer, risk-taking artistry, Awaken is more self-aware and socially conscious and finds Natalie Grant writing and singing the songs of her life."This has really been a pivotal season for me in my artistic and creative journey," says Natalie. "In every way personally and professionally I've been in a real place of self-discovery, learning a lot about myself and what's really important in my life. The more I know myself, the more I'm writing from my heart. I've realized that in the end, it's the power in a song that stands the test of time, and that's what I focused on with this project."
Perhaps that explains why Awaken is the most unexpected, honest and compelling project Natalie's ever created. Produced by her husband, Bernie Herms; Phil Symonds; Shaun Shankel; and Rob Graves, Natalie wrote or co-wrote half of the songs on Awaken, along with a supportive roster of such notable songwriters as Stephanie Lewis, Trina Harmon, and Matthew West.
"More than anything," she says, "I wanted to be challenged, to take risks, to go to the edge of myself beyond my comfort zone, to reach for whatever my artistic limit is. I'm more alive than I've ever felt before, and it was important for me to have that come through in the music."
In the end, although she never aimed for a thematic center for Awaken, one inevitably surfaced. "It's amazing how that happened," she says, "how it all came together in the end, but it makes sense. My spirit has awakened to the need to make my life count for something other than myself. Life is hard and sad and messy and there won't always be answers. I've come to understand that it's okay to ask questions but at the end of the day, we choose to have faith, to believe that God is good."
Natalie has most recently written "The Real Me: Becoming The Girl God Sees (W Publishing/Transit)", a book that addresses issues of self-image. "The book is my story as honest and as transparent as I can tell it, but it's also a tool to help girls understand the truth of how God feels about them versus that pop-culture myth of perfection we've been bombarded with all our lives."
As Natalie stands poised to write the next chapters in her life, music and ministry, her heart is set on staying fully awake and fully alive, making every moment count, and living her dream to make a difference in the lives of those she can reach. Through the stereo; from the stage; next door, and around the world.