Rebecca St. James' Transform tour comes to Richmond 

Sounds of Joy

An energetic pop performer with a fashion-forward edge, Rebecca St. James puts on a great show as she breaks the barrier between performer and audience, sitting at the edge of the stage, sharing personal stories between songs. But a good show is not her only mission - as a top contemporary Christian singer, she wants her fans to become more involved in their faith. Thus, the title of her fifth album, "Transform." "I want to give people hope. I almost want them to be able to hear the joy of the Christian life in my music," St. James says. With more than a million albums in total sales and Grammy and Dove awards to her credit, 23-year-old St. James has the platform to reach her generation. "Transform" not only has direct, honest lyrics but also an eclectic sound reminiscent of Madonna-of-the-moment in the programmed tracks, Sarah McLachlen in the slower vocals, and Alanis Morissette in the rock stylings. The London Sessions Orchestra provides the strings in a number of cuts. But the overall feel of the recording is a departure from her prior four rock- and alternative-tinged releases. "I think I was most influenced by a European sound," St. James says, having just returned from her seventh European tour. "The music over there is a dance-club sound." The techno-tinged dance track, "Don't Worry, " is the first single off the recording. In the liner notes, St. James writes that the single is based on a charge Jesus gave his disciples not to worry about their lives (Luke 12:22), urging them instead to trust God. "I am really quite a dramatic person, and this song is a drama, a story, that challenges me to truly give things to God and not 'take them back' by worrying,' she writes.

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