At the age of 12—a time when most young girls are just beginning idyllic dreams of ‘what I want to be’—a young Australian girl prayed a simple prayer. “God, I give you my gifts. Use my life to make a difference and change the world.”
Rebecca St. James has since taken an unparalleled course in Christian music. As the industry’s innovative ‘new voice’ as a teen in the mid-90’s, she blazed a trail in the contemporary Christian genre for many other talented female artists to come. She has received countless industry awards, including the prestigious GRAMMY®, garnered number one singles and has consistently topped both radio and sales charts, with career album sales in the millions of album units. She has also authored eight books – her ninth due out this Fall – and received acclaim for her touring worldwide. As an artist spokesperson for child advocacy organization, Compassion International, she has, through her concerts, globally helped find sponsorship for more than 30,000 of the world’s neediest children.
On the wings of a prayer at age 12, Rebecca St. James has become one of the most influential young women of her generation.
With her April 5, 2011 release, Rebecca charted yet another new course with I Will Praise You, a new collection of worship songs she terms “her most personal worship recording to date.”
Produced by Mark A. Miller (Casting Crowns), I Will Praise You is the culmination of a powerful season of spiritual and personal renewal for Rebecca. It marks the celebration of her first studio project under a new alliance with Provident Label Group’s Beach Street Records. Most importantly it denotes a stunning re-introduction of Rebecca’s signature approach to passionate lyrics and music dedicated to drawing listeners into God’s presence.
More than nine months in creative development, I Will Praise You delivers 10 new songs of worship awash in themes of renewal, acceptance, surrender, hope, redemption, praise and the utter dependence on the vast and unfathomable love of God.
Rebecca is coming to listeners with a personal renewal of her music in this a season of her life that’s in focus through a new lens. “When I think of my life today I think of ‘newness.’ Peace and purposefulness and joy. New creativity and new dreams. Most of all, I have a new appreciation of ministry, music, and the new season of opportunities God has for me,” she notes.
Co-writing five of the ten songs on the new project, Rebecca is joined creatively by modern worship counterparts such as Mia Fieldes (Hillsong), Jason Ingram, Jonathan Lee, Fred Williams, Joel & Luke Smallbone, and Michael Neale, among others.
From the anthem like call of Shine Your Glory Down, the project’s first radio single which she co-wrote with Jason Ingram (Tenth Avenue North’s By Your Side), to the Celtic-flavored modern hymn The Kindness of Our God, to the powerfully poignant You Still Amaze Me and Jennie Lee Riddle’s When the Stars Burn Down (Blessing and Honor," I Will Praise You gives believers the worship experience of songs that affirm God’s presence and passion for His people.
With the opening notes of track one, listeners are offered a welcoming re-connect with Rebecca’s recognizably authentic vocal warmth and delivery. It’s a very personal invitation to a continuing journey with a trusted, familiar friend.
A move to Los Angeles in 2008 to pursue her interest in acting led many to wonder what Rebecca’s creative future might hold. Most notably, it produced her first leading role in film in the form of Sarah’s Choice, a movie with a strong pro-life message released by Pure Flix Entertainment and a creative ‘stretch’ that led to Rebecca’s immergence over the past two years as an outspoken national voice for the work of crisis pregnancy.
“God captured my heart with the pro-life message as never before through this experience,” notes Rebecca. “Though my long standing platform with the purity message and the pro-life cause very much go hand-in-hand, I felt personally impassioned to do something in regards to abortion was after attending a crisis pregnancy event with a friend in Los Angeles. I was moved to the point I prayed, ‘God I’ve got to do something to help this cause—show me what I can do!’ Literally within a few weeks of this prayer the opportunity came to me to not only do the lead role in Sarah’s Choice, portraying an unmarried young woman faced with the ‘choice’ of life for her baby, but to also write a pro life song—‘Little One’—that was used in the film.”
Equally obvious was God’s direction in her life in the area of new music.
When Rebecca sat down with producer and co-founder of Provident Label Group’s Beach Street Records, Mark A. Miller, she recalls: “There was a miraculous element to this whole project. Hearing Mark say, ‘Rebecca, I am praying about this idea of us working together—I want to be a good steward of your ministry.’ To have a man who I know only commits himself to projects he knows God is calling him to, feel such a synergy of heart with my music felt very affirming and right to me. To see God show up as He did on this album was tremendously profound and invigorating.”
From the Delirious?-inspired title track issuing a call to worship as a response in the painful seasons of our lives, I Will Praise You is a collection of songs Rebecca fervently hopes will touch hearts and challenge many to go deeper. “In this season of new music, God has been reminding me… ‘It’s not about you! Don’t get caught up in the details and start thinking… ‘this is my new album with my face on it…it’s a representation of who I am and where I am creatively.’ God encouraged me to forget that and remember: ‘This is about Jesus! This is about praising Him and inviting other people into that journey with you.” My mission statement and focus is, ‘Get out of the way, Rebecca, and just let people see Jesus. It’s all about God.”
I Will Praise You also includes Rebecca’s unique interpretations of modern worship favorites like You Hold Me Now and You Never Let Go, songs that have personally influenced her own spiritual walk. “I am a real lyric person—I love a great melody but ultimately it’s about lyric and whether the song expresses something I have personally encountered in my walk with God. I have been bowled over by the love of God in my own life and those messages are the ones I am most passionate in sharing.”
More than anything, I Will Praise You represents the latest steps in Rebecca’s life long journey towards the presence of God.
“Listening to the songs now that the album is completed and thinking on the meaning of some of the lyrics—themes like joy in the midst of pain, God redeeming challenging seasons in our lives, surrendering all to Him, opening our hands, how He’s making all things beautiful in His time, I realize the very threads that run through I Will Praise You are all very poignant and personal to me through the journey of the last five years of my life.”
“In the past several years in particular I could feel God give me the release to step back from everything and just rest. The move to LA simplified my life somewhat as I took time for an intentional re-focus. I could rollerblade and bike, I could walk down to the corner café and just sip coffee and do e-mails. I could hang-out with friends and buy fresh flowers from the farmer’s market. It was a beautiful season that turned into a time of unveiling a new spiritual level.
“I could feel God saying to me, ‘Rebecca, do you want to continue with your music, being involved in ministry, doing concerts, writing books—or do you want a more anonymous life in which to serve Me?’
In prayer, I always came back to one place: ‘I am a woman of purpose.’
That’s been a big theme throughout my life. I want to make a difference. I want to be singing songs about Him and leading people to Him. I missed that sense of purpose when I was off the road or away from music for any extended period of time. I never knew life without it before.
So I made my choice. I know I am called to be a follower of Jesus myself and to encourage others to live full lives in Jesus. I pray I Will Praise You will be an album through which people will encounter the love of God and want passionately to love Him back.”
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