The song has become a rare Christian and adult pop radio hit.
Lauren Daigle continues to tally Billboard chart achievements. This week, she lands her first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as “You Say” surges to No. 34 (on the list dated Jan. 12).
One week earlier, the ballad became the first song by a female artist to have hit the top 10 on both Christian Airplay, where it spends a 17th week at No. 1, the longest reign for a woman in the chart’s history (which dates to 2003), and Adult Pop Songs, where this week it rises 10-9.
Only one other song previously hit the top 10 on both Christian Airplay and Adult Pop Songs: The Fray’s “How to Save a Life,” in 2006-07. Both songs followed the recipe for a shared Christian and pop radio welcome: an inspirational message woven by lyrics that aren’t overtly religious.
The success of “You Say” on Christian Airplay isn’t surprising: the song is Daigle’s fourth No. 1 among nine top 10s, all since 2015. Perhaps its pop breakthrough shouldn’t be considered unexpected, either: parent album Look Up Child, her second proper studio LP, debuted at No. 3 on the all-genre Billboard 200 in September and has earned 549,000 equivalent album units through the week ending Jan. 3, according to Nielsen Music.
“You Say,” meanwhile, has drawn 114 million on-demand U.S. audio and video streams combined and sold 368,000 downloads to date. It concurrently zooms 26-18 on Adult Contemporary and is nearing the Pop Songs airplay chart. (Warner Bros. is promoting the song to pop formats, while Centricity continues to work it to Christian radio.)
Adult pop programmers playing “You Say” find the song an easy fit.
“A segment of our audience is familiar with Lauren Daigle from Christian radio, but whether they know her or not, the song connected quickly,” says Jill Roen, assistant program director and music director at Adult Pop Songs reporter KSTP Minneapolis.
KSTP program director Leighton Peck notes another angle seemingly contributing to the song’s secular acceptance: similarities in vocal tone between Daigle and an artist that by now needs no introduction to pop audiences: Adele. Says Peck, “I think people from Christian radio know Lauren and love the song, and most of our listeners think it’s an Adele song, until they realize it isn’t through our on-air promotion.”
“Sounding like Adele may have helped to speed up the process of our listeners getting to know and like the song, but beyond that, ‘You Say’ has lyrics and a sound that our audience likes a lot,” Roen adds.
“From time to time, Christian songs hit consumption levels that force us to take notice,” says KHMX Houston PD Chase Murphy. “We put ‘You Say’ into research to see if our audience was aware of it, since only the Christian station in town was playing it and we share very little audience. Research confirmed that this was a song we needed to embrace sooner rather than later.”
“Programmers who are ignoring the song because ‘it came from Christian radio’ are being silly and short-sighted,” muses KZZO Sacramento PD Chad Rufer. “‘You Say’ sounds great on the air. Quite simply, it has all of the signs of a hit.”
Story by Billboard News