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Rebecca St. James | Biography
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.
Set to release on April 5, 2011, Rebecca charts 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 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.”Australian born Rebecca St. James is both a Grammy Award winner and multiple Dove Award recipient, who can count her lead acting role in the November ‘09 film release Sarah’s Choice, among her most recent career highlights. With international success that has driven her record sales into the multi-millions globally, she has been tireless on the concert/ live performance front since breaking as a major artist in the Christian music industry while still in her teens. Rebecca was in 2008 for the 7th consecutive year named "Favorite Female Artist" in Contemporary Christian Music by readers of CCM Magazine. She has received RIAA certified gold album awards—for her ground-breaking album God and her Grammy Award winning project Pray, certified gold in 2006. A gifted songwriter, St. James’ signature blend of modern pop/rock sensibilities and lyrics of unwavering devotion have blazed the way to seventeen Top 10 singles--nine of which have reached the #1 spot on the charts to date. A passionate spokesperson for the child relief work of Compassion International, more than 30,000 of the world’s neediest children have found sponsorship through her worldwide concerts. Her annual schedule of international touring has made Rebecca St. James one of the Christian music industry’s most globally outreaching artists. In addition to music, Rebecca is a best selling author, with more than a half dozen books to her credit—including Wait For Me (Thomas Nelson) which has sold more than 100,000 units. Her ‘08 book release, Pure, (Hachette/Faithwords) reached Top 10 on the CBA Bestseller List in February 2009. Rebecca’s interests in acting have found her involved in several national film productions, touring in a lead role as Mary Magdalene in the national company of the rock opera musical, !Hero, and voicing the character of ‘Hope The Angel’ in VeggieTales’ best selling DVD production, The Easter Carol, now approaching a million units in sale, after a major re-release in ‘09. September release of her newest book, Loved, (Hachette/Faithwords) and the fall national film release of Sarah’s Choice capped 2009 as one of Rebecca’s most creatively diverse years. Ahead in 2010: More concerts, the promise of new music, and Rebecca’s involvement on the heels of the strong pro life message of Sarah’s Choice, as a national media voice for ‘life.’
Rebecca St. James (born Rebecca Jean Smallbone on July 26, 1977), is a multiple Dove Award and Grammy Award-winning Christian pop rock singer, songwriter, musician, published author, actor and an outspoken teenage sexual abstinence and pro-life advocate. She is known for her hit singles including "Wait For Me", "God" and others.
Rebecca St. James was born Rebecca Jean Smallbone on July 26, 1977 in Sydney, Australia to parents David and Helen Smallbone. In 1991 at the age of 13, she released an independent album titled Refresh My Heart in Australia, under the stage name of "Rebecca Jean". Soon after its release, her family moved to the United States where her father received a job offer.
St. James' musical career began in 1990 when she opened shows for CCM artist Carman during his Australian tour. In 1991, she released her first album, Refresh My Heart, under the name Rebecca Jean. Later that year, she moved to the United States upon signing with ForeFront Records, and took her stage name at the label's request. In 1994 she released her major label debut titled Rebecca St. James.
God and Pray (1996?1999)
On June 25, 1996, Rebecca St. James released her sophomore album God, led by the hit title track. The album took Rebecca's music in a new direction, focusing more on rock. It opened to positive reviews and debuted and peaked at 200 on the Billboard 200. It also charted at no. 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and no. 6 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian chart. . In 1997 she was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock/Gospel Album for God and in 2005 the album was RIAA certified Gold for selling over 500,000 copies. To promote the album, Rebecca released a devotion book titled 40 Days with God in 1996.
In 1997, Rebecca released the sequel to her hit devotional book, titled You're the Voice: 40 More Days with God. On October 7 of the same year, she released her first holiday album, simply titled Christmas. The album charted at no. 12 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and no. 14 on the Top Contemporary Christian chart.
On October 20, 1998, Rebecca released her third studio album, Pray, which opened to mixed reviews. The album managed to chart at no. 168 on the Billboard 200, and no. 5 on both the Heatseekers Chart and the Contemporary Christian Chart. The album won a Grammy in 1999 for Best Rock/Gospel Album , and in 2006 it was RIAA certified Gold for selling over 500,000 copies.
In 1999, Rebecca released a song titled "Yes, I Believe In God" to radio only, in memory of the lives lost at the Columbine shooting. The song was later released on the album Wait For Me: The Best From Rebecca St. James.
Also in 1999, Rebecca released a VHS titled No Secrets featuring interviews of her and her family, behind-the-scenes footage and the music video for the song "Pray".
Transform, Worship God and 10 Year Anniversary (2000?2004)
On October 24, 2000, Rebecca released a brand new album titled Transform. The album charted at no. 166 on the Billboard 200, no. 7 on the Heatseekers Chart and no. 14 on the Contemporary Christian Chart. The album garnered positive reviews and featured the hit songs "Wait For Me" and "Reborn". Later in 2001, the devotional book, 40 Days with God was re-released with a new layout and five new devotions.
In 2000, Rebecca made a cameo in the film Left Behind: The Movie.
In 2002, to promote the hit single "Wait For Me" from Transform, Rebecca released the book Wait For Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance , which went on to sell over 100,000 copies and spawn a journal and study guide. The song and book promotes sexual abstinence before marriage, and Rebecca has since become a major spokesperson for the subject.
A year and a half later on February 26, 2002, Rebecca released the album Worship God. The album opened to extremely positive reviews and charted at no. 94 on the Billboard 200, marking St. James' first Top 100 album, and no. 5 on the Contemporary Christian chart. She released a DVD to promote the album November 19, 2002 that featured music videos, interviews, etc.
On March 25, 2003, celebrating 10 years signed to ForeFront Records, Rebecca released her first greatest hits project titled Wait For Me: The Best From Rebecca St. James which features 16 of her biggest hits and two new songs , including the hit "I Thank You" which managed to peak at no. 2 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart. The album failed to make the Billboard 200, but charted at no. 16 on the Contemporary Christian chart.
On February 24, 2004, Rebecca released her very first live album titled Live Worship: Blessed Be Your Name which features 7 new songs and 2 studio recorded songs. The album charted at no. 187 on the Billboard 200 and no. 12 on the Top Christian Albums chart. Later that year, Rebecca released her book SHE: Safe, Healthy, Empowered: The Woman You're Made to Be.
Also in 2004, Rebecca starred in the stage musical !Hero as a modern day Mary Magdalene aka "Maggie". Aside from that, Rebecca lended her voice to the VeggieTales episode An Easter Carol as Hope the Music Box Angel.
If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something (2005?2008)
Rebecca St. James performing at the Higher Ground Music Festival in August 2007
St. James performing in April 2007
After taking a hiatus from recording music, Rebecca returned to the studio in early 2005 to record new songs. On October 24, 2005, the first single from the upcoming album, "Alive", was released. The song managed to chart at #3 on R&R's CHR Chart and #13 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs Chart. The new album, titled If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something was released on November 22, 2005. The album opened to fairly positive reviews. It charted at #14 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums Chart, but failed to make the Billboard 200.
In early 2006, Rebecca embarked on her If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something Tour with fellow Christian group BarlowGirl. Rebecca also recorded the theme song for the National Day of Prayer. The song was titled "America" and was released to iTunes on May 2, 2006. The same year, ForeFront Records put together a compilation album titled The Early Years, that covered ten songs from her earliest releases: Rebecca St. James, GOD and Pray.
In 2006, Rebecca St. James made her film debut in Unidentified as Colleen.
In 2007, ForeFront Records took live footage and recordings from the If I Had One Chance... Tour and released a CD/DVD collection on March 20 titled aLIVE in Florida. The album features 14 live songs and an exclusive remix of "You Are Loved". The album charted at #43 on Billboard's Top Christian Albums Chart.
ForeFront Records put together a two-disc compilation album titled The Ultimate Collection which was released March 11, 2008. Another compilation titled The Greatest Hits was released later that year on October 28, 2008. On September 3, 2008 Rebecca released another book titled Pure: A 90-Day Devotional for the Mind, Body, & Spirit. Pure broke into Top 10 at #9 on the CBA bestseller?s list in Feb 2009.and was also nominated among the Top 3 books of 2009 for the youth/teen market.
New Music, Book & Movies (2009-present)
In late 2008, Rebecca announced she was filming a new movie with Stephen Baldwin and Candace Cameron, titled Faith of Our Fathers, which will be released in 2010. She also announced she would star as the lead role in a new film titled Sarah's Choice, which will be released November 17, 2009 to DVD, and that she's demoing new music for 2009.
On April 16, 2009, Rebecca released a new song titled "You're Alive" to iTunes as part of an album titled Resurrection Worship: Songs of Hope.
In June of 2009, Rebecca released another new song titled "Wish" to her MySpace page. Her latest book ??Loved: Stories of Forgiveness?? was released in mid-July 2009 She is expecting to have a new album out by late 2009/early 2010.
2000: Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album ? Pray
2002: GMA Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year ? Prayer of Jabez
2004: GMA Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year ? !Hero
2006: GMA Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year ? Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Rising Stars (Releases February 15, 2011)
The competition is fierce as three Rising Star finalists are paired with filmmakers to see which group can create the best original song and music video. But when the producer tries a questionable approach to "beef" up the ratings, will the young adults go along with him---or take a stand? Dove approved. (PG.) 90 minutes.
Sarah's Choice (2009)
Starring Rebecca St. James, Sarah's Choiceis a thought-provoking film that deals with the complexities of abortion from a faith perspective. After finding out about her pregnancy Sarah Collins must make a final decision. She is presented with three visions causing her to think about the impact on her future. Bonus features include behind the scenes, trailers, and commentary. Approx. 90 minutes.
(Redland, TX) Randy Mitchell, age 38, encountered a UFO last evening while driving home on a back highway. Mitchell claimes a large cloud hovered over his vehicle, drove him from it, and abducted him.
Keith (Jonathan Aube) and Brad (Josh Adamson), two reporters from a national magazine are sent to investigate because their editor wants to do a story on the controversial subject of UFOs. One thinks they are a hoax, one thinks something is out there. What transpires becomes a quest to prove the other guy wrong. Are UFOs real? A hoax? Is there an explanation? From Rich Christiano, the Director of Time Changer, and with a cast that includes Grammy award-winning singer Rebecca St. James in a supporting role, Unidentified is a thought provoking film about the UFO phenomenon. Approx. 85 minutes.
Hero: The Rock Opera (2005)
Allow yourself to imagine the modern world without the presence of Jesus Christ...until now. He has been born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as Hero, and is making waves in the present day political and religious systems of New York City. From the awe-inspiring miracles to his bittersweet death and rejoicing resurrection, !Hero is paralleled with the biblical recollection of the life of Jesus in this rock-n-roll meets Broadway event.
Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol (2004)
It's back to 1880's London in this companion special to the hit VeggieTales video, The Star of Christmas. In the tradition of a great Dickens classic, Nezzer goes on a wild tour of his past, present and future in the company of Hope, a little Angel with a loving heart. Voiced by Contemporary Christian Music superstar, Rebecca St. James, Hope teaches Nezzer the true meaning of Easter. Filled with music, mechanical chickens and way too many plastic Easter eggs, An Easter Carol, will be an instant holiday classic.
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