Throughout my childhood and into my teenage years, the music that I was exposed to was very limited. Aside from artists like Delirious?, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman (in fact, I think Signs of Life was the first CD our family received- even before we had a CD player), Tim Hughes, Steve Grace and Planetshakers (their 2003 album Rain Down), our CCM albums/artists knowledge wasn’t to the point where you’d call us a fan of it. Nevertheless, a few WOW Hits albums purchases a few years later- WOW Hits 2005, 2006 and WOW Worship Aqua (fuelled by our enjoyment of WOW Hits 2004), we took the plunge and purchased our first CCM album by a female artist in 2006- Rebecca St. James’s 2005 album If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something.
If you’re someone that knows me, anything new is a big deal for me to latch onto. From food, to new situations, things, music, TV shows, movies and the like, anything that I was introduced to had to be ‘forced’- yes, even Coca Cola, ice cream, shows like The Mentalist, and sports like cricket, had to be introduced to me by my parents- if I had my way, I’d probably still be only eating chicken wings right now and watching Disney Adventures (I know that is an exaggeration, but you get the picture). So delving right in and purchasing a new album, from my own accord, was, and still is a big deal. Rebecca St. James was the first female artist we as a family listened to, and while at the moment she’s not making any new music (she recently authored 2 fiction books, starred in a few movies and became a mother), there is hope that she can make some music again. Nevertheless, it is her music that encouraged me to listen to more CCM female artists- from Francesca Battistelli, Britt Nicole, Mandisa and Kerrie Roberts, to Lindsay McCaul, Natalie Grant, Nichole Nordeman and Kari Jobe.
Rebecca has always stood for purity and abstinence, even in a world where those qualities are frowned upon by the media. She wrote a song about it and her future husband, titled “Wait for Me”, which I’m sure comforted, encouraged and motivated a lot of young women, and men, to wait for their spouses, while also being the best they could be themselves in the meantime. Songs like “Song of Love”, “Expressions of Your Love”, “God”, “Go and Sin No More”, “Lamb of God”, “Reborn”, “Stand”, “Pray” and “I Thank You”, along with more recent favourites “Alive”, “God Help Me”, “You Are Loved”, “Shine Your Glory Down” and “I Will Praise You”; have all been standout songs from an Australian artist that is sadly seemed to be forgotten on Christian radio nowadays.
In fact, I can’t even remember any radio station playing a RSJ song since “I Will Praise You”…maybe back in 2011/12? Despite this, Rebecca’s music still remains to be some of the most heartfelt, encouraging and worshipful songs to be written within the modern CCM era (last 10-15 years or so). Her faithfulness to God through practicing her abstinence, as well as being a role model for many young people around the world during her career (she released her first album in 1991 at the age of 14), makes her one of the artists that influenced my own walk with Christ, and was one of the artists who expanded my own musical genres and tastes, as my teenage years progressed.
There are obviously certain artists in someone’s childhood that have influenced them in musical tastes, and Rebecca and her music were one of them. Which artist/song/album influenced you the most when you were growing up? Do you prefer music now, or do you listen to music from your childhood more often? Let us know in the comments.
Til next time.
P.S.- can’t wait to when Rebecca releases a new album, if and when that may occur.