Carman Licciardello: Fellow Music Artists React to His Sudden Passing

Carman Licciardello: Fellow Music Artists React to His Sudden Passing February 17, 2021

When news broke tonight of the passing of Christian music pioneer Carman Licciardello from complications due to hiatal hernia surgery, tributes from friends and fellow music artists began to post online.

Carman image courtesy of Conduit PR

TobyMac, who teamed with Carman on the track, “Addicted To Jesus,” said, “We remember you Carman……we are grateful for the times we had with you. You were so kind to me, Michael and Kevin. When we were young punks, you welcomed us. You are home now. A Champion for real.”

Like many others, GRAMMY Winner Jason Crabb remembered Carman as the first “CCM concert I ever attended”:

“I’ll never forget going to Roberts Municipal Stadium in Evansville, IN with my youth group – I think every youth group went to see him. He was a trendsetter and a trailblazer, who had a vision to impact his audience with groundbreaking music and storytelling through powerful, cinematic videos all with one purpose: to point people to Jesus. I know there are millions today who accepted Christ at one of his concerts. As kids, I remember me and my friends acting out his song, “The Champion.” He made it cool to be a Christian. Never in a million years would I think that 25 years later I would get to know this man and call him a friend. Carman, we will miss you, but I know we will see you again.”

Danny Gokey posted on Twitter, “Carman passed away. He was a legend in our camp and in our genre. He re-wrote all the rules—I remember listening to his albums as a kid. RIP Carman. ”

Russ Lee, lead vocalist for NewSong who toured with Licciardello, said, “Carmen was committed to making his music and the message accessible to everyone. So many heard the gospel and were encouraged at his ‘offering only’ events. He was one of the few Christian artists of his time playing to full arenas across the country. I always respected him for that.”

“Carman and I were label mates at Benson Records in the early ‘90s when I was in East to West, and we toured together,” said Jay DeMarcus, owner of Red Street Records (Christian Music Label), member of Rascal Flatts. “Neal and I were on his show on TBN, ‘Times Two.’ He will forever leave his mark on Christian music with songs like, “The Champion”, “Radically Saved,” and “Revival in the Land” among others, that will remain timeless. Carman’s stage shows were without equal, he was inspiring to watch. He was the consummate pro, and I was proud to call him my friend. It would be hard to fathom how many millions were led to Christ through his music and ministry. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

Clay Crosse posted on Facebook, “Sorry to hear of Carman’s passing. Enjoyed touring with him and being on his TV show back in the day. He was an electric and magnetic presence like few others I’ve ever met. See you in Heaven my friend.”

Michael Sweet, frontman for the Christian rock band Stryper, posted, “Godspeed @carman_licciardello – I met Carman at @TBN when he interviewed me and I was honored to know him and grateful to have spent a little time with him. He was very kind and he left a lasting impression on me. May God Bless your soul Carman – See you on the other side my friend� ”

Todd Tilghman, finalist on “The Voice,” posted, “If you grew up in church, the likelihood you know @carman_licciardello is HUGE. Personally, his music comprised much of the soundtrack of my preteen and young teen years, and now he has gone to his reward. Rest easy. You left your mark.”‘

Kevin Young, singer for Disciple, posted, “I saw Carman many times growing up. Free concerts in packed arenas (my dream) and would preach the gospel and hundreds would to give their life to Christ. His ministry (and a few others) inspired me to bold about sharing Jesus through music. Thank you Carman, Rest in glory.”

Kim Boyce, who sang the duet “Fear Not, My Child” with Carman on his “The Champion” release, posted, “He was one of a kind! So sad to hear Carman has passed away at the age of 65. He will be missed. Carman gave me a huge break in CCM when he had an unknown girl named Kim Boyce sing a duet with him called ‘Fear Not My Child’ on his album, ‘The Champion.’ I will always be grateful for his friendship.”

John Schlitt, lead singer of Petra, referenced the band’s duet “Our Turn Now” with the late singer with his statement, “My sympathies to the family of Carman… it’s your turn now, buddy – celebrate your new life in heaven!”

Newsboys made the following post on their page: “We are sad to hear of the passing of our longtime friend, Carman. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and family. If you were a fan of CCM in the 80’s and 90’s, you know that Carman was an unconventional, indescribable force. Both newsboys and DC Talk did numerous tours, shows, and festivals with him over many years. He was an extremely kind and humble supporter of all of us. Even after his career slowed down in recent years, he would still show up at random tour stops to offer his support, and for that we will forever be grateful. Godspeed, Carman!”

Singer Lynda Randle said, “Carman—Thank you for your contribution to Christian music and Christendom as a whole! Thank you for being bold enough to be different! You set fear aside, and your witness impacted a generation of people inside Christian music (and outside!) in such a positive way! You were a significant part of my daughter’s spiritual foundation by bringing the stories of the Bible to life through Yo Kidz videos and they cut their CCM teeth on songs like Sling Bang Boom’ and Meant For This Moment’!! What a legacy you left, and you will be greatly missed!!”

CeCe Winans, who toured with Carman and sang on “Come Into This House,” posted, “We had so many fun times Carman! Thank you for bringing so many to Christ!”

I love you my brother and thank you for being YOU!!!

This article may be updated as more tributes are posted. 


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