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Watch Carrie Underwood's Soaring Interpretation of "How Great Thou Art"

Carrie Underwood's religious music always astounds — including her angelic spin on a gospel fan favorite.

By Jessica White

Whether it's the Sunday Night Football theme song or worship-worthy religious music, Carrie Underwood always delivers excellence in her performances. Her interpretation of the beloved gospel hymn "How Great Thou Art" is one of many examples.

Underwood first received praise for "How Great Thou Art" in 2011 after she performed the hymn with Vince Gill during a televised special and scored a standing ovation. After releasing a live recording of "How Great Thou Art" in 2014, it peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs, spending 20 consecutive weeks on the chart. After releasing a gospel album in 2021, Underwood performed "How Great Thou Art" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium for a live performance of her gospel greatest hits.

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"[A gospel album] is something that I've always wanted to do," Underwood said in a 2021 appearance on TODAY. "I grew up on this music. It's such a pillar of who I am as a person, but also as an artist."

Carrie Underwood's "How Great Thou Art" at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium

In honor of her 2021 gospel album My Savior, Underwood brought her earlier gospel release to life with a virtual live concert from Nashville's iconic Ryman Auditorium. 

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From the moment she grabbed the mic, her raw vulnerability stole the spotlight. Underwood's interpretation is powerful and tender, perfectly capturing the reverence of the hymn. But perhaps the most striking aspect of her interpretation is her emotional nuance: Each note is imbued with sincerity, drawing the listener into her relationship with the song.

What to know about "How Great Thou Art"

Carrie Underwood performing on a stage.

Written in 1885 by Carl Boberg, "How Great Thou Art" is a cherished Christian hymn. The song, titled 'O Store Gud' in its original Swedish, gained widespread recognition thanks to the English translation by missionary Stuart K. Hine. The translation helped "How Great Thou Art" gain widespread popularity, leading to numerous covers by renowned artists.

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The song has since become a Sunday staple thanks to its versatility. It has appeared in several films and been covered by countless gospel artists, showcasing its enduring appeal through the generations.

Elvis Presley recorded his version of the hymn in 1967 as the title track for his second gospel record, which earned him a 1967 Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance. His live performance of "How Great Art Thou" from Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis won him a 1974 Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance (Non-Classical).

Underwood included her original live performance of "How Great Thou Art" on her 2014 compilation album Greatest Hits: Decade #1 and officially recorded the hymn for her 2021 gospel album, My Savior.

Carrie Underwood's Religious Music on the Gospel Album My Savior

One of Underwood earliest supernova hits was "Jesus Take the Wheel," so it should be no surprise that she has released many gospel tracks. Following the 2020 release of Underwood's Christmas album My Gift — a record jam-packed with Christian holiday favorites — she recorded a straight-up gospel album.

"Both of those projects were bucket list projects for me," Underwood told People. "With everything I do, I just want to be positive. And we had the Christmas album, which was so near and dear to my heart."

My Savior was a smash success, debuting at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Thanks to its release, Underwood won a 2022 Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album.

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"I sang these songs when I was little, and now, as an adult, they hold such a higher purpose and deeper meaning for me singing those lyrics," Underwood told the TODAY hosts. "You never know who is gonna need whatever song it is you're putting out, whether it's something sassy or whether it's something really deep and meaningful. I hope people find some peace and some comfort in these songs."