Grammy Award-winning Christian pop star Rebecca St. James has reemerged after a long hiatus. She said God radically called her out to release new music and a podcast during tumultuous times.
James said that God’s call to upend her life in California and move back to Nashville with her family was for such as time as this. Her new podcast on AccessMore, “Rebecca St. James Friends and Family,” is a space where the singer and her friends and family authentically tackle subjects such as faith, parenting, and relationships. Her upcoming album will also be purposefully filed with power-packed songs for churches to connect with the presence of God.
The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with James where she details her new journey and shares about her upcoming album and the topics she will explore in her podcast.
Christian Post: You took a hiatus from the Christian entertainment scene for some time. Can you share a little bit about your life since we've seen you last and why you decided to step back into music and now a new podcast?
James: For those that think I've been gone from the scene for a while, I have, they're right. I kind of unofficially retired about seven years ago and that was about a year before our first daughter was born. So we have a six-year-old and a two-year-old and then I'm 28 weeks pregnant. So our little family's growing. About three years ago, God just radically called me back to music and it's kind of a big story in itself, but I wasn't looking for it. I was just loving, living this dream of being wife and mama. Also, knowing that God had given me these other giftings to do with music and other things, but I had very happily laid that down seven years ago and thought that I may never sing again.
Then He just got a hold of my heart in a very kind of Damascus experience way, like scales falling from my eyes, and I knew in this one moment in time, I just knew God had called me back to music. My husband and I, both of us were in sync about that. We moved to Nashville with our little family. I'd lived here, but they had been in California for 10 years. So it was just really radical.
So I've been working on a new album for about a year and a half, just writing and working on it. We're wrapping that up right now. It comes out in mid-July.
CP: Your new album is being pegged a "modern worship" album. Can you explain what that means?
James: With the music end, we've just really had a goal of equipping the church. There's a lot of worship out there, right? There's a lot of great worship out there, anointed worship out there. But creating new songs that feel really anointed, fresh and Holy Spirit-led that the church can use in worship, that's been one of the big goals. Then the other goal has been to create something that feels very modern and fresh and has this energy and joy about it that I want to bring to the table. So marrying those has been, at this point in my life and also being a busy wife and mom, has been a challenge.
We're in a space right now where we're wrapping up the album and it's just so joyous. Just seeing God bring this project to completion is just really exciting. The single is now on radio; it's called "Battle Is the Lord's."
CP: Can you share about your new podcast? Why is it important for yourself as a Christian to have a platform like AccessMore to talk about faith and family and relationships?
James: There's just a lot of feelings of isolation, I think, with what we're working through in this year with coronavirus and just all the confusion and the turmoil in our world and in our nation right now. A lot of people are feeling scared and alone and isolated and are looking for truth. They're looking for encouragement. They're looking for this sense of not being alone, and not being alone in their pain or fear and just looking for something that feels really authentic and kind of like a hug. I feel like this podcast, I've actually had that feedback given from somebody that just spoke to me about it recently. He said, "I just loved how it felt so real and felt this hug. That's how it felt afterward."
The approach is very relational. It's very conversational, very story-based, very fly on the wall, people just get in a conversation that is just very real on topics to do with faith and family. So I think the timing of AccessMore, launching this whole platform right now is really pretty profound. Who could have known what we would have been walking through, you know, even months ago?
CP: I saw your mom was on an episode and your brother. Will other family members be making appearances?
James: My brother Luke is on my third podcast. We are talking about pain actually on that one and that was a very, very special podcast because he's been through a lot in his life and he's been very authentic about that. But a lot of times when he's talking about some of the traumatic things he and his wife have experienced, he has talked about it so much that, he's got it down to a minute or two. He's not emotional about it because you couldn't be every time that you talk about this kind of stuff. But he shared and opened up about a miscarriage that they had last year and I've had miscarriages too, I've had two as well. So we were talking about very real stuff like that. He actually got emotional for a second there and it was just this very authentic, real moment that I think, even that alone people hearing that break in the voice, that kind of pain, whilst he's also saying, "Hey, God has always proven Himself faithful and we know we can trust Him with this as well, even though we're in the middle of it." It was really profound. It was beyond what I could have hoped for that episode.
So I think we're capturing a special moment in time right now with a lot of people that I'm partnering with on these podcasts. We've discussed a lot of stuff like to do with faith and family that some upcoming episodes are on entitlement, which I think is something; it's easy for kids that are growing up in a first-world nation to kind of just feel entitled to a lot and how do we discourage that? How do we discourage selfishness?
We did one on trauma, which I think people are feeling very traumatized right now. So they need to know how to deal with either past trauma that they might have experienced or somebody else has experienced and helping them walk through that, or just feeling traumatized by what's happening in our nation and world. I think that'll be a very relevant one.
There are lighter ones, like on play. How do we encourage a sense of play in our families and a sense of adventure in that freedom and joy to just capture the moment when it comes to family time? So there's kind of a lot of variety.
CP: You've had seven years where you're actually living this day to day life like some of your listeners which I assume is very relatable?
James: I think you do have to live some life to even have a well to draw from when it comes to content. Back in the day when I was on the road all the time, I think I battled that — how do I come up with new songs and new content when I'm just doing the same thing on the road all the time. Being off the road for that period of time I do feel that God has just given me a fresh well from which to draw from and then to draw from others in that way too, and just kind of bring out their stories and their life wisdom it's been really life-giving for me to be a part of.
CP: Is there something you'd like to add?
James: One last encouragement to people. In this time of coronavirus and just kind of dealing with what is the crazy that's going on in our world and our nation, I've definitely had some overwhelming times where I've just been asking God, "Please, just give me some perspective and help me to see your redemption in our family's life, in my life. Sometimes just going outside and being in nature has been so encouraging and life-giving, seeing His beauty and His power in creation.
My song, "Battle Is the Lord's," has this message of, "Why so heavy all my soul, did you forget who's in control." It's this idea of God going before us and Him fighting the battles for us. I just think that that's something that is timely and that people need to hear right now. And we couldn't have known that when we were writing it last year. It's a through line through the podcast too, God is in control and we can trust Him.