Rebecca St. James
Quick facts about Rebecca St. James
PLACE OF ORIGIN
Rebecca St. James
Rebecca Jean Fink, known professionally as Rebecca Jean or Rebecca St. James, is an Australian Christian pop-rock, singer-songwriter and actress who began performing in the late 1980s. Among the most defining artists in Christian music history, Grammy winning singer/songwriter, best-selling author, speaker and actress Rebecca St. James rocketed into the global spotlight by featuring Australian native’s modern pop sensibilities and uncompromising lyrics, setting a benchmark in Christian music and leading a new generation of artistry in the genre.
Rebecca St James' Start
Rebecca St James was on the stage from an early age, opening shows for the contemporary Christian musician, Carman, in 1990 at only twelve years of age! Born Rebecca Jean Smallbone on 26 July 1977, in Sydney, Australia, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, after her father’s job relocation in 1991.
The year of this move also marked the first year of Rebecca’s career, which took off with the release of her independent album Refresh My Heart. This independent release brought enough attention for Rebecca to sign with Forefront Records later that year, taking her stage name at the label’s request. In 1994 she released her major label debut: Rebecca St. James, followed quickly by the Rebecca St. James: Extended Play Remixes EP in 1995, at still only 18 years old.
Rebecca St James Wins Best Rock Gospel Album
On 25 June 1996, St. James released her third studio album God, led by the title track of the same name. The album took her music in a new direction, focusing more on rock and debuting to positive reviews. It charted at No. 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and No. 6 on Billboard’s Contemporary Christian chart.
This was also the beginning of Rebecca St James’ ongoing career as a writer. To help promote the album, St. James released a devotion book, 40 Days with God: A Devotional Journey.
In 1997, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album for God. At only 20 years old and after three studio albums, Rebecca St James was already a Grammy Award nominated artist, an almost unimaginable achievement.
Rebecca St James Enters Adulthood with a Fourth Studio Album
In 1997, St. James released the sequel to her devotional book: You’re the Voice: 40 More Days with God. On October 7 of the same year, she released her fourth studio album and first holiday album, Christmas. The album charted at No. 12 on Billboard’s Top Heatseekers chart and No. 14 on the Top Contemporary Christian chart.
On October 20 1998, St. James released her fifth studio album, Pray, which 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 went on to win 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, St. James released “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.
In addition to her own projects, St. James took part in a CD release, Heaven & Earth: A Tapestry of Worship, which featured female Christian artists such as Nichole Nordeman and Jennifer Knapp. The album was released in November 1999 and featured two songs by St. James; “As We Wait” and “River of Life”.
A Cascade of Career Success
In October 2000, St. James released her sixth studio album, Transform, to all round positive acclaim. The album charted at No. 166 on the Billboard 200, No. 7 on the Heatseekers Chart, and No. 14 on the Contemporary Christian Chart.
In 2002, to promote the single “Wait For Me” from Transform, St. James released the book Wait for Me: Rediscovering the Joy of Purity in Romance, which went on to sell over 100,000 copies and spawned 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.
On 26 February 2002, St. James released her seventh studio album, Worship God. The recording debuted to extremely positive reviews, and charted at No. 94 on the Billboard 200, marking St. James’ first Top 100 album.
In 2003, after 10 years with ForeFront Records, St. James released her first compilation project, Wait for Me: The Best from Rebecca St. James, which featured 16 of her most popular songs and two new ones, including “I Thank You” which peaked 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.
St. James released her first live album, Live Worship: Blessed Be Your Name, on the 24th February 2004. The album peaked at No. 187 on the Billboard 200 and No. 12 on the Top Christian Albums chart.
Later that year, St. James released a compilation album ,The Best of Rebecca St. James, and her book SHE: Safe, Healthy, Empowered: The Woman You’re Made to Be, yet again reinforcing herself as a double threat in the art world.
Rebecca St James' Film Debut
However, it wasn’t until 2006 when it was revealed that Rebecca St. James was in fact a triple threat, adding actor to her already impressive resume.
After taking a hiatus from recording music, St. James returned to the studio in early 2005 to record new songs. On 24 October 2005, the first single from the album, “Alive” was released. Her eighth studio album, If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something, was released on 22 November 2005. The album debuted to fairly positive reviews, charting at No. 14 on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums Chart, but failing to make the Billboard 200.
On 1 July 2005, St. James released a teen edition of her book, SHE and in October 2005, she released another book: Sister Freaks: Stories of Women Who Gave Up Everything For God. She also contributed a song, “Lion”, to the album Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and released a cover of the Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”.
This foray into film soundtracks lead her to consider branching out into acting during 2006. In the meantime, St. James embarked on her If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something Tour with fellow Christian group BarlowGirl, and recorded “America”, the theme song for the National Day of Prayer.
That same year, ForeFront Records put together a compilation album, The Early Years, that covered ten songs from her earliest releases: Rebecca St. James, GOD and Pray. In 2007, ForeFront Records took live footage and recordings from the If I Had One Chance… Tour and released aLIVE in Florida, a CD/DVD collection. The album features 14 live songs and an exclusive remix of “You Are Loved”. At the time of the album’s release, it was announced that St. James had sold over 1.8 million albums to date, putting her level of success into perspective and solidifying her as an integral part of the contemporary Christian music scene at the time.
Amid all this work on her musical and literary career, in 2006 St. James made her film debut as the lead in a small indie film, Unidentified. This film, despite not achieving great heights, set up Rebecca St. James for the next step in her career.
Musical Hiatus and Film Career Launch
In late 2008, St. James announced she would star as the lead role in Sarah’s Choice, a film that was released to DVD on 17 November 2009. The film received good reviews from Christian movie critics, proving the extent of Rebecca St’s artistic talent.
Although on musical hiatus, on 16 April 2009, St. James released “You’re Alive” to iTunes as an advance single for her Resurrection Worship: Songs of Hope album. Along with these brief musical endeavours, St. James’ book Loved: Stories of Forgiveness was released in September 2009.
On the 19th August 2009, Christian Cinema reported that St. James had wrapped up filming a new film, Rising Stars, which was released on 22 October 2010. This film was eagerly awaited by her fans, eager to see what Rebecca would do next.
St. James continued her film career in 2011 with Suing the Devil, followed by The Frontier Boys in 2012. Both of these were received negatively by critics, but St James was not deterred and continued to hone her skill as an actor.
St. James starred in A Strange Brand of Happy, a romantic comedy film released on the 13th September 2013. The film revolves around Joyce, a single Christian life coach who falls for an agnostic client. This film was received more favourably than her pervious ones and is often cited as her best performance
St. James’ film career continued into 2015 with Faith of Our Fathers, which featured St. James portraying a car-stealing Australian hitchhiker. She also made a brief cameo in the 2016 film Priceless, which was written, produced and edited by her brother Joel Smallbone.
What is Next for Rebecca St James?
After several years of musical hiatus, St. James recorded and released a cover of “Amazing Grace”, with her brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone of the band for King & Country.
On January 10 2019, St. James announced that she was writing music for a new album with Tedd T. and that she had signed with Heritage Music Group, an imprint of Bethel Music. The new album, Dawn was released on 24 July 2020. On 28 August 2020, St. James was featured on the acoustic version of for King & Country’s single “Together”, which also featured Cory Asbury.
This return to form is likely to evolve into a continuation of Rebecca St. James’ musical career, with her film career taking a break for now. Regardless, whether through her acting, writing or music, Rebecca St. James lead a new generation of artistry in the Christian genre, and is undeniably an artist to watch as the next stage of her career blossoms.