Inspired by folky singer/songwriters like David Wilcox and James Taylor, Chris Rice was always an unlikely candidate for the artist’s life because he’s always been a youth pastor at heart.
In 1996, he eventually expanded his ministry beyond the youth group and signed with Rocketown Records, a label started by artist Michael W. Smith. Later that year, Chris released his first album which was the talk of the Christian music industry, thanks to the moving title track "Deep Enough To Dream"and equally compelling singles “Clumsy,” “Sometimes Love” and “Welcome to Our World,” which Smith ended up covering on a forthcoming Christmas album.
Chris' second album, Past the Edges, had equal success yielding hit singles “Smellin’ Coffee” and the fan-favorite “Cartoon Song.” Chris stretched his musical boundaries by trading in his more acoustic sound for a poppier approach with his 2000 album Smell the Color 9.
Aside from the theologically rich title track, Chris drew inspiration from everyday life with “The Face of Christ.” The song was inspired by his interactions with the homeless and coupled nicely with “Belong,” which tapped into humanity’s inherent need to fit in with the rest of culture.
With future releases Chris has continued to keep his fans guessing with instrumental music as well as the classic rock-tinged album, Run the Earth…Watch the Sky that was inspired by the music he listened to as a kid. After fulfilling his record label contract with Rocketown Records in 2005, Chris signed with an independent label and released Amusing in 2005.
Rather than exclusively focusing on the Christian market, Chris’s new songs had a more universal appeal. With the release of “When Did You Fall (In Love With Me?), Chris garnered his first mainstream radio hit when it reach #8 on the pop/adult contemporary charts. He followed it in 2007 with the album What a Heart is Beating For which featured “Love is Gonna Break Through” that was used in a key scene on “As the World Turns,” a popular soap opera.
As much as the market for Chris’ music expanded, however, his commitment to reaching out to the youth of today hasn’t. He’s still the same youth pastor he’s always been, but with a far more expansive selection of songs to strum on his guitar.
Scott & Kelli