With If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something—as in no other collection she’s assembled before it, Rebecca St. James opens up and writes the most personal and honest lyrics of her career. The new album invites listeners to hear her truest, most intimate recording to date—a daring soul-reflection of a modern young woman that is strong, committed, and still fully dependent upon her God.
“For a long time I thought – ‘I’ve got to buck up and be strong. I’ve got to put on a brave face —and get through this near burn-out or that discouraging time in my life,’” Rebecca speaks of the inspiration behind her new record. “God has really seriously changed my thinking on this. When you take off the mask, you relate at a base level to everyone else who has been through pain —and everyone has. Honesty promotes intimacy and promotes us together relying on God. True honesty is beautiful.”
This revelation is just one of the many Rebecca experienced while on a personal journey of her own—a retreat she took in late 2004 to L’Abri, situated deep within the towering beauty of the Swiss Alps. A study center founded in 1955 by theologian/philosopher Francis Schaeffer and his wife Edith, L’Abri welcomes Christians and non-Christians alike to come and seek honest answers about God and the meaning of life. There, Rebecca’s life took on yet a deeper purpose. She was, as she says, ‘reborn’ into a more intimate relationship with the God she has loved and served.
“My month there was so inspiring—personally, spiritually, and creatively,” she recalls. “God did an amazing amount of ‘heart make-over’ on me while I was at L’Abri. I think there’s a feeling and an undertone of depth and vulnerability on this new album that I think largely came from this experience.”
Rebecca left L‘Abri and for the past fourteen months of her life was fully immersed, and totally invested in producing what many believe is her finest album to date. And perhaps more than any other album, there’s a re-energized spirit captured here. A spot-on reflection of the personal and spiritual renewal she’s experienced, bursting forth in bold new strokes of musical creativity.
“I’m very involved on a lot of levels in making of this album,” she notes. “I wrote on 11 of the 12 tracks which is, creatively, really important to me. I want to be singing my music passionately and when I’m writing from a place where God has been teaching me something new — when I write from that place — it comes across when I’m singing. That’s vital to the message and the reality of God that I want to impart with my music.”
If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something has been etched in edgy, bold relief from the highs and lows of her life in real time. From the unknown grey shadings of “Shadowlands” where she admits having walked with only God’s word to hold on to, to the exhilarating spiritual highpoints of “Alive” – the place Rebecca finds herself today. Desiring to sow the deeply personal lyrics in the right landscape, Rebecca partnered, with three of the industry’s top producers: Tedd T., Shaun Shankel and Matt Bronleewe. The result is a beautiful picture of art meeting heart.
Sonically the album embraces a multi-layered symphony of diversity—from classically trained cellos to blazing rock guitars to pulsating loops. Early reviewers have described the new music alternately as ‘raw,’ ‘passionate,’ ‘urgent.’ In the midst all that is new, one constant has remained Rebecca’s unflinching pursuit of excellence in the studio.
All throughout If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something, beyond the fresh and invigorating music, runs a deep, continual thread: The message that we—each of us individually—is loved extravagantly by God.
The title of the album comes from the track “You Are Loved,” on which Rebecca set out to write a song for a childhood friend who had gone through a ‘prodigal’ experience in his life. “I wanted to remind him that no matter what he has done God waits with His arms open wide to run to Him. Initially I thought I was writing for my friend, but in truth I was writing this song for myself and every person that listens to the album. We all need to know that there is grace and that the love of God is there for us no matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been.”
If I Had One Chance To Tell You Something marks a new day for Rebecca St. James. More than new music, it’s a fresh look inside the artist’s soul and the reality of God’s extravagant love.