Jimmy Needham

Jimmy Needham enjoys Marvin Gaye, ­Maroon 5.

If Jimmy Needham didn't play Christian music, more people probably would have heard of the Katy native by now. Needham's blue-eyed soul is similar to that of singer-songwriters Bob Schneider or Jason Mraz, and he even covers Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)" on his new disc Nightlights. Needham, whose dad financed his 2005 debut, was picked up by Nashville-based Christian label Inpop records after executives liked what they heard on MySpace. Needham is no stranger to secular pop or hip-hop — in his bio, he shouts out Maroon 5, Michael Jackson and Jay-Z as the musical inspirations behind "Grace Amazing," while Nightlights single "Yours to Take" has already made him a rising star in Christian circles. It's not hard to imagine hearing either song on KRBE or Mix 96.5, actually, so Needham's attempts to reach the "unchurched" might be about to pay off.

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