Growing up in a super Christian household had some lovely benefits. For example, Vacation Bible School was lit. Each summer had a theme and they would barbecue every day for a week! I got to eat burgers and hot dogs plus the opportunity to take part in an exciting new era each summer, whether it be “Under the Sea” themed or “Old Western.” I lived for the theatrics (as well as the applause for memorizing bible verses because I am an over-achiever/show-boater).
Another lovely perk was the ability to remove myself from several specific narratives including the study of science and dinosaurs in elementary school. Science was my least favorite subject and I was sure to deny evolution openly in class, as well as the thought that dinosaurs ever existed. I had friends who loved dinos and Jurassic Park but I much preferred watching Regis and Kelly over playing childish games. While my family simmered down with strict religious rules by the time I was 14, there were still things I had to catch up on as I arrived to 8th grade.
One of the several things I missed out on as a kid (along with Santa Clause and Trick or Treating) was secular pop music. I knew who Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera were, I just was not allowed to listen to them (Well, I was allowed to listen to Mariah Carey’s Christmas CD, especially track 10). Instead, I was given CD’s and tapes by Contemporary Christian artists. As a kid who identified strongly with female artists, the divas I looked up to were not exactly on the cover of TigerBeat, but rather, the cover of pamphlets handed out at church.
Here are 5 Christian Pop Music acts I adored (and longed to emulate) throughout first and sixth grade.
1. Jaci Velasquez
Jaci Velasquez, my sista. This whole record was my jam and I had it both on cassette and CD. That “nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah” hook at the beginning is still life and it sure did the trick in lifting my spirits while tuning out classmates.
2. Rachael Lampa
OK honestly to be real this song had me writing pop songs in my bedroom in fifth grade. My ten-year-old self was shook by the pre-chorus and hook, as it utilized the tried-and-true diva pop formula with a brilliant key change. Slay me, Rachael.
3. Stacie Orrico
Before the gorgeous and talented Stacie Orrico put out mainstream hits like ‘Stuck’ and ‘There’s Gotta Be More (To Life),’ her debut record was exclusively made for Christian radio and I became obsessed. She was everything I thought I sounded like when I sang in my bedroom. Stacie provided me with solid R&B-infused pop jams to get me through life. ‘Genuine’ is a great tune tbh. (Please overlook the choreography in the music video).
These girls made for such a nice alternative to the punk-rock-pop girls like Avril and Pink. The music video for ‘Grey’ was clearly filmed and produced by their Wednesday youth group program and I support their artistic efforts. Emphasis on effort.
As I watch this video, I am suddenly transported to back-to-school shopping day at Old Navy.
I’ll never forget the first time I got my hands on a Jump5 CD. They managed to be played on Radio Disney as well as Christian Radio, so this was one act I could discuss with other kids from school. “Oh totally, love them, love this song,” I would say if brought up in conversation. But then the kids would start talking about No Doubt or something and suddenly I had to go quiet because I really didn’t know who they were or what they did. The main inspo for me in the group was Libby. I’m not sure if she was the oldest but she gave me that vibe and as the oldest in my family, I felt a spiritual connection with her.
*And even though I had to cut out secular music to keep my heart on the holy path, Jump5 actually helped me solidify how queer I really was because of this Jump5 member right here. I still have a thing for blonds.
Can I get a gaymen?
*Author’s note: My heart is still pure and my parents/family love me very much.
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