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He shared his religious experiences by writing songs with a singular goal, to bring people closer to God.
"Building a career is just fine," he said, "but nothing compares to building bridges through music that lead to hope, healing and higher ground." He first nationally released his solo project, "The Noise We Make", in 2001, but even before that, he has dropped three albums.
15, 2012 tally, when fellow Christian act toby Mac bowed atop the list with "Eye On It" (69,000).
That said, "Burning Lights" is only the fourth Christian album to ever hit No. "Eye On It" became the third just last year -- and the first in 15 years.
This feat came amidst a massive year for Tomlin, when just last fall, Tomlin became the first Christian artist to receive the Sound Exchange Digital Radio Award, recognizing more than 1 billion digital radio plays.
Justin Timberlake, Garth Brooks and Pitbull are the only other artists to have received this award.
Selling over 7.5 million albums and 10.7 million digital tracks, Tomlin has 16 No.
Tomlin's debut earns the largest sales week for any Christian or gospel set since Casting Crowns' "Come to the Well" debuted at No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200 has seen since the Sept.
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Before that, you have to scroll back to the fall of 1997, when Le Ann Rimes' "You Light Up My Life -- Inspirational Songs" led the list for three nonconsecutive weeks. 1 came from Bob Carlisle's fluke hit album "Butterfly Kisses (Shades of Grace)." It spent two straight frames at No. Aiding Tomlin's first-week are non-traditional sales generated at churches, this month's huge Passion Conference in Atlanta and via pre-orders.
The annual Passion Christian gathering drew 60,000 college-aged attendees this year and, according to label sources, was watched by more than 100,000 viewers online.
1 album on the Billboard 200 chart as his "Burning Lights" opens atop the list with 73,000 sold according to Nielsen Sound Scan.