“Leap of Faith”
Written by Lionel Cartwright
#1 (1 week)
September 21, 1991
A young singer-songwriter enjoys an inspirational No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
Lionel Cartwright was a musical prodigy, playing multiple instruments proficiently while still in grade school. He had a talent for writing and arranging, and first found success in Nashville by writing theme songs for sitcoms on the nascent Nashville Network. He was doing demo sessions and performing locally when he was discovered by Tony Brown, who encouraged his development and eventually signed him to MCA Nashville.
Two studio albums were released in 1989 and 1990. The first was self-titled and included his first top ten hit, “Give Me His Last Chance.” The second, I Watched it All On My Radio, featured two more top ten hits: the title track, and “My Heart is Set On You.”
His third – and final – MCA album, Chasin’ the Sun, was led off by his final major chart hit, but it went all the way to the top.
The No. 1
“Leap of Faith” is a preview of Cartwright’s later success as a preacher. It’s one of those inspirational songs that is framed around encouraging a woman to jump into a relationship, but also works as a larger metaphor for living life by taking chances and believing you can be successful.
It doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of Mike Reid’s “Walk On Faith” from earlier this year, but Cartwright gives an earnest, heartfelt performance that leans toward Contemporary Christian music without fully toppling over in that direction.
The Road From No. 1
Chasin’ the Sun produced two more singles, but neither cracked the top twenty. A fourth album, The Real Story, was planned but never released, after two releases from it fell well short of the top forty.
Cartwright continued to write and perform, and appeared on Kathy Mattea’s Love Travels album, playing piano and singing background vocals on a track that he’d also written. In recent years, he became the worship pastor at HopePark Church in Nashville, and returned to scoring theme songs of television shows, with more than a hundred television credits under his belt. He also works as a inspirational public speaker.
“Leap of Faith” gets a B.