The result of a praise and worship band experience, MercyMe was formed in 1994 by Bart Millard, Jim Bryson, and Mike Scheuchzer. Millard and Bryson met while working on a missions project overseas. The two agreed to start a new band in Oklahoma City with Scheuchzer, whom Millard already knew. It didn’t take long for the band to build a solid fan base and they soon found themselves opening up for bands such as Audio Adrenaline.
Following a move to Nashville, Tennessee and then back to Millard’s hometown in Texas, the band added bassist Nathan Cochran and percussionist Robby Shaffer to the roster. The band signed with INO Records in 2001 and released their first album, Almost There, which propelled them into the mainstream spotlight with the smash hit “I Can Only Imagine“. The album went on to sell more than 2 million records in only three years and earned the band an American Music Award nomination.
In 2002, the band released their popular second album, Spoken For, which produced two more Top 10 hits. The combined success of the band’s first two albums garnered a nomination for the Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist at the American Music Awards.
In 2004, MercyMe released Undone which produced two Top 10 hits: “Here With Me” which also hit Billboard’s Top 100 chart that same year, and “In the Blink of an Eye” which, as of the end of 2005, was at #5 on R&R’s top Christian hits. This album also features the song “Homesick”, which also received notice by Christian and mainstream stations. This song was written in dedication to loved ones that the band had lost that year.
In 2006, MercyMe released Coming Up To Breathe. While this album kept to the same style and appeal of its predecessors, Bart Millard wrote that the band was not seeking to meet its previous popularity, but rather a more personal album that was written for God. Despite this conviction, MercyMe’s eleventh album has hit no. 13 on the Billboard charts and features the hits “So Long Self“, “Coming Up To Breathe”, and “Hold Fast”.
In April 2009, MercyMe is due to release their first greatest hits compilation, 10 (the title refers to the decade since “I Can Only Imagine” was written). The package includes a CD with 11 hits and 3 new recordings (including a new version of “I Can Only Imagine” recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra), and a DVD with 11 music videos and two short documentary segments.