Artist Spotlight: For King & Country – Christian Music’s Dynamic Duo



For King & Country is an Australian Christian pop duo composed of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone. Embodying a distinctive blend of uplifting messages and engaging melodies, they have carved out a significant presence in the contemporary Christian music scene. The Smallbone brothers were born in Sydney, Australia but moved to Nashville, Tennessee during their childhood when their father took a job in music management.

The early musical influences of Joel and Luke can be traced back to their family’s rich musical heritage. Their father was a concert promoter, and their older sister is Rebecca St. James, a Grammy Award-winning Christian artist. They grew up surrounded by music – from working as roadies for their sister to developing their own band – it was clear that music was not just an interest but a calling.

Their journey into the world of professional music began as backing vocalists for Rebecca St. James before they decided to venture out on their own as “Joel & Luke”. However, it wasn’t until 2011 when they rebranded themselves as For King & Country that they began gaining significant attention in the industry.

The name “For King & Country” signifies an age-old phrase meaning “for the love of one’s country”, which they’ve repurposed to represent their commitment to God’s higher calling. This sentiment reflects not only in the band’s name but also through its powerful lyrics and life-affirming messages woven into each song.

Musical Career

For King & Country’s journey in the Christian music scene truly took off with their debut album “Crave”, released in 2012. The album was a significant success, earning them New Artist of the Year at the 2013 Dove Awards and placing them firmly on the radar of Christian music enthusiasts around the globe. The blend of pop and rock elements with faith-based lyrics resonated deeply with listeners, leading to a strong foundation for their future work.

Their subsequent albums continued to build upon this success, demonstrating an impressive evolution in both their musical style and thematic depth. Their second studio album, “Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.” released in 2014, further established them as leading voices within Christian music. This album included several chart-topping hits and won them two Grammy Awards – one for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album and another for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song.

In 2018, they released “Burn the Ships”, an album that once again showcased their ability to combine profound spiritual messages with compelling musical composition. The title track became a massive hit on Christian radio stations, while other songs like “God Only Knows” demonstrated their capacity to engage listeners emotionally through heartfelt lyrics about faith and personal struggles.

Throughout their career so far, For King & Country have consistently proven themselves capable of delivering powerful music that resonates with fans while also pushing boundaries within the genre itself.

Artistic Style and Influence

The artistic style of For King & Country is a harmonious blend of Christian pop, rock, and folk music, characterized by their powerful anthems and moving ballads. Their lyrics are deeply rooted in their faith, often exploring themes of hope, love, and redemption. This connection to faith has not only defined their sound but also played a significant role in shaping the messages they share through their music.

Joel and Luke’s ability to seamlessly weave profound spiritual themes into relatable narratives has been one of the defining aspects of their success. Their songs offer listeners a sense of comfort and encouragement through life’s trials while providing an uplifting reminder of God’s presence.

Their unique musical style combined with impactful lyrics have had considerable influence on both fans and fellow artists within the Christian music scene. Many have praised For King & Country for pushing boundaries within the genre, incorporating elements from pop culture without compromising on the central theme of faith.

Their emotionally charged performances have also been noted for creating deep connections with audiences during live shows. It is common to see concertgoers moved to tears or inspired by the band’s heartfelt delivery of each song.

In essence, For King & Country’s influence extends beyond just producing chart-topping hits – they have made significant contributions towards defining contemporary Christian music as it stands today. Through their work, they continue to inspire other artists to explore new ways to express faith through music while touching countless lives along the way.

Notable Songs and Achievements

Over the course of their career, For King & Country have produced a number of notable songs that have resonated deeply with fans and critics alike. Among these, “God Only Knows”, “Joy”, and “Priceless” stand out as significant examples of their musical prowess.

“God Only Knows” is a heartfelt anthem that speaks to the struggles faced by individuals who feel lost or alone. The song became a major hit on Christian radio and has been lauded for its emotionally raw lyrics coupled with an inspiring message of hope.

“Joy” is another uplifting track that encourages listeners to find happiness despite life’s challenges. This song showcases the band’s ability to produce music that not only entertains but also uplifts and motivates listeners.

On the other hand, “Priceless” serves as a powerful reminder of individual worth in God’s eyes. The song was so impactful it inspired a namesake film in 2016 dealing with human trafficking issues, demonstrating how their music often transcends entertainment to touch on important social issues.

In terms of achievements, For King & Country have been recognized numerous times for their contributions to Christian music. They’ve received multiple Grammy Awards including Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for “Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong.” They’ve also garnered Dove Awards such as New Artist of the Year following their debut album release.

Their success isn’t limited within Christian circles either – they’ve made appearances on mainstream platforms like The Tonight Show, Today Show, and even performed at the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. These accolades are testament not only to their musical talent but also to the powerful messages they convey through each song.

Personal Lives and Philanthropy

Beyond their musical careers, Joel and Luke Smallbone lead lives that are deeply intertwined with their faith. They both reside in Nashville, Tennessee, with their respective families. Their personal experiences often serve as inspiration for their music – a testament to how they integrate faith into everyday life.

Joel is married to Moriah Peters, who is also a Christian music artist, and together they have three children. Luke is married to Courtney Helm, and they have four children together. Their family lives reflect the values they sing about – love, commitment, faithfulness – further solidifying the authenticity of their message.

Philanthropy forms another crucial aspect of For King & Country’s identity. The brothers are known for using their platform to raise awareness on various social issues. A notable example was when they used the song “Priceless” as a rallying cry against human trafficking and exploitation of women. This led to them becoming advocates for several organizations working against human trafficking.

In addition to this cause, For King & Country have been involved in numerous charity events and campaigns promoting mental health awareness, poverty alleviation, and disaster relief efforts among others.

Their philanthropic endeavors reflect the depth of their commitment not just to making music but also in making a difference in society – embodying the very essence of what it means to live out one’s faith through action.


For King & Country, composed of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, holds a significant position in the Christian music industry. Their journey from backing vocalists for their sister to becoming Grammy Award-winning artists is a testament to their talent, dedication, and unwavering faith.

Their unique blend of pop and rock with deep spiritual themes has not only led to chart-topping albums but also influenced the landscape of contemporary Christian music. Through their heartfelt lyrics and emotive performances, they’ve touched countless lives around the world, offering messages of hope, love, and redemption.

But beyond just creating inspiring music, For King & Country have used their platform for meaningful causes – from raising awareness about human trafficking to supporting mental health initiatives. Their commitment to making a difference in society is as much a part of their identity as their music.

In essence, For King & Country represents more than just musical success; they embody the potential for faith-based artistry to inspire change both within individual hearts and across society at large. Their journey continues to be an influential beacon in Christian music – illuminating the path for future artists while continuing to resonate deeply with fans around the globe.