Julian Keith Getty OBE (born 16 December 1974) is a Northern Irish Christian singer and songwriter, best known for writing the modern hymn "In Christ Alone" in 2001 with veteran English songwriter and worship leader Stuart Townend. Getty and his wife also release music under the musical duo Keith & Kristyn Getty, which have been nominated for many Dove Awards, and have albums that have charted on multiple Billboard charts.
Getty was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, to Helen Getty (née Irwin) and John Getty. He is the eldest of four children.
Getty began making music at age 11, learning to play the classical guitar; at 12 years old he began playing the flute. During school, Getty was influenced by classical music, Irish music, and church music of all kinds. As a young adult, he studied Music at St Chad's College, Durham University, graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in 1995. As a student, Getty completed special conducting opportunities at the Canford Summer School of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts. Getty participated in a summer master class under Irish flautist Sir James Galway.
Kristyn met Keith Getty in 2002 after being introduced by Kristyn’s uncle, John Lennox. Kristyn was attending a nearby university and asked Getty for some musical advice. After dating for two years, the couple married on 16 June 2004. The couple have four children.
Keith and Kristyn Getty
The Getty hymns are used increasingly both in contemporary and traditional circles, being included in most modern hymnbooks (with a number of these now listing “Getty” as the most-featured composers), while in the more contemporary church, more than 60 of their songs are featured on top 2,000 CCLI charts between the UK and USA.
Keith and Kristyn Getty have created the Getty Music record label (which holds 6 Dove award nominations and 1 Dove Award Win and is distributed by Capitol Christian Distribution), built various print publishing partnerships and imprints, and produced unique merchandise containing their hymn lyrics.
Getty Music Worship Conference: Sing! Global
The Sing! Conference that launched in August 2017, began as a celebration of 500 years since Martin Luther brought the church back to congregational singing. The Getty’s vision for seeing the church engage in congregational singing, theology and music and the arts has seen thousands of visitors since its launch. The Sing! conferences have become some of the most popular worship and theology events across the US.
Sing! Global has featured worship sessions from celebrated musicians from all around the world, such as Heather Headley, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Christopher Parkening, John Patitucci and Matt Redman. Teachings and breakout sessions have been facilitated by well-known theologians and speakers including John Piper, Joni Eareckson-Tata, John McArthur, Tim Keller, David Platt, Trip Lee and Jeffrey Williams.
Kristyn together with her husband has written and produced a number of children's worship albums.
- 2005: Songs That Jesus Said, a collection of songs for children
- 2016: Getty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone
- 2017: Getty Kids Hymnal: For the Cause
- 2018: Getty Kids Hymnal: Family Hymn Sing
- 2019: Getty Kids Hymnal: Family Carol Sing
- 2020: Evensong: Hymns and Lullabies at the Close of Day
Evensong: Hymns and Lullabies at the Close of Day went to Billboard number 1 in 2020.
In addition to his work with his wife as Keith & Kristyn Getty, Getty has also orchestrated or produced music for more than 200 projects—recordings, concerts, theatre, television, and film. Diverse credits include orchestrations for Michael W. Smith's 2004 Healing Rain album, McDonald's television commercials, and Silvascreen label movie soundtrack recordings Music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Once upon a Time: The Essential Ennio Morricone. He has orchestrated for Sir Cliff Richard and other gospel artists including Natalie Grant and Watermark. He wrote and produced the music for the 1998 C. S. Lewis International Centenary Celebrations.
"In Christ Alone" song
In 2001, Getty and Stuart Townend wrote the song "In Christ Alone" with the purpose of creating a modern hymn that would explain the life of Christ. They released it on the Kingsway album New Irish Hymns, featuring vocalists Máire Brennan, Margaret Becker, and Joanne Hogg. The song gained popularity, and by 2005 it was named by a BBC Songs of Praise survey as the ninth best loved hymn of all time, and in their 2010 survey was named second best hymn of all time. It hit number one on the United Kingdom CCLI charts by 2006, and in January 2009, it was still number one in the UK, number two in Australia, number seven in Canada, and number 15 in the United States. The British Hymn Society nominated "In Christ Alone" as one of the top five hymns of all time, and BBC One's "Songs of Praise" nominated "In Christ Alone" as a top 10 hymn in 2012.
Awards and honours
Keith Getty received the O.B.E. Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II, becoming first church musician of the modern era to be given the award for contribution to music and hymn writing.
Keith has received honorary doctorates from Lancaster Bible College and Dallas Baptist University.
He has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Lisburn.
He is Honorary President and founder of the New Irish Arts.
Keith and Kristyn were both named fellows in 2019 of The Royal School of Church Music.
The album ‘North Coast Sessions’ received a Dove award in 2019 for Inspirational Album of the Year.
A number of Getty Music Albums have been nominated for a Dove Award:
- The album, "Awaken the Dawn" was nominated for Inspirational Album of the year 2008.
- The album "Hymns for the Christian Life" was also nominated for a Dove award in 2013.
- Getty Kids Hymnal-For the Cause – Children’s Music Album of the Year (2018)
- Getty Kids Hymnal-Family Carol Sing – Children’s Music Album of the Year (2020)
- His Mercy Is More (the Hymnal of Matt Boswell and Matt Papa) – Inspirational Album of the Year (2020)
- Elizabeth (with Ellie Holcomb) – Roots/Americana Song of the Year (2020)
40 of the Getty Music song titles have been in the top 500 CCLI charts in the US or UK last year.
TV and special appearances
The couple has also appeared on national television (CBS, PBS, BBC), most notably on Public Television (PBS) in 2015 to 45 + million homes with their Christmas Music special, Joy—An Irish Christmas, in 2021 for BBC Northern Ireland “At home with the Getty’s” and a TBN in 2019 special filmed live at the world famous Grand Ole Opry House.
In 2017, the hymn writers performed for US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Second Lady Karen Pence at the Vice President's residence. In addition the couple have performed for President George W Bush, The United Nations, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and selected to perform for the Enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury and for former UK Prime Minister Theresa May. They have appeared and performed at numerous events and tours internationally in top venues including Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, the Pentagon, the Grand Ole Opry, the John F. Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts and the Houses of Parliament.
• 2002: Tapestry Keith Getty and Kristyn Lennox (Getty)
• 2004: New Irish Hymns 3: Incarnation (with Margaret Becker and Joanne Hogg)
• 2005: New Irish Hymns 4 (with Margaret Becker and Joanne Hogg)
• 2005: Songs That Jesus Said; a collection of songs for children
• 2007: In Christ Alone with Keith Getty
• 2008: Prom Praise featured guest with the All Souls Orchestra; recorded live at Royal Albert Hall
• 2009: Awaken the Dawn with Keith Getty
- "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2017". Durham University Alumni. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
- "Gettymusic - Online music resources for the church". 26 August 2009. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- "SongSelect by CCLI". songselect.ccli.com. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "Kid Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
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- "Worship Together | New Worship Songs Music and Resources". Worshiptogether.com. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
- "BBC One - Songs of Praise". BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
- Previously reported data from CCLI.com
- "CCLI Top 25 Songs". 5 December 2008. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
- "No. 61962". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 June 2017. p. B11.
- "Council Agrees to Confer Two Freedoms of the City". www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "New Irish Arts". Newirisharts.com. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
- "RSCM Honorary Awards - 2019". RSCM. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "Dove Awards: Inspirational Album :: CMnexus". cmnexus.org. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "DOVE-TAIL". Baptist Quarterly. 41 (1): 57. January 2005. doi:10.1179/bqu.2005.41.1.003. ISSN 0005-576X. S2CID 218661580.
- "Abstracts Nominated for Awards". Human Reproduction. 9 (suppl 4): 228–230. 1 August 1994. doi:10.1093/humrep/9.suppl_4.228. ISSN 0268-1161.
- Sep 28; 2020 (28 September 2020). "Getty's New EVENSONG Album #1 On BillBoard Charts". The Classical Difference. Retrieved 7 June 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- "Hitting the right notes: Hymn writer Keith Getty on why it took him some time to woo wife Kristyn". belfasttelegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "BBC One - At Home with the Gettys". BBC. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "Northern Ireland couple to host global Christian music event in Nashville". belfasttelegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "Washington event for Northern Ireland hymn-writing couple". belfasttelegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "PM attends as record numbers at National Prayer Breakfast - Inspire Magazine". www.inspiremagazine.org.uk. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- Official Getty Music Website
- Joy – An Irish Christmas Tour Homepage
- Advent and Christmas Songs by Keith Getty, in Reformed Worship
- Article from Calvin College
- "Singable Doctrine", an interview with the Gettys by Stan Guthrie:
- Review of In Christ Alone album in Christianity Today by Andree Farias
- "The Story Behind the Song 'In Christ Alone'" article in Christianity Today by Linda Owen
- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary topical index of Getty/Townend hymns