Rebecca St. James Talks About Something Else
- Monday, June 23, 2003
Rebecca St. James is the face for sexual purity for Australia, Europe and the United States, having written a song and book titled “Wait for Me.” She was named one of the Top 50 “Up-and-Coming Evangelical Leaders under the Age of 40.” She was invited to be part of The Presidential Prayer Team. This is basically a Christian parent’s greatest success story. But is she too good to be true?
“There is something unreal about her and her unshakable self-confidence,” said a reporter for Details back in 1996. “She seems to be able to talk of nothing without relating it to God.”
Her zeal is certainly confusing to non-believers; yet to some of her fans, St. James is the next best thing to Mary.
“People look at her as if she has all the answers and is Miss Perfect,” says Rachael Lampa, fellow performer on the “Wait for Me” tour. “And I couldn’t speak more highly of her. I’ve never, ever doubted her sincerity.”
Even when her life seems sacrosanct, St. James is quick to point out her insecurities. “I’m very careful about my image,” she says. “I had an outfit I was wearing onstage in Australia that somebody wrote me a letter about afterward and criticized. I had on a belt around my hips, and this person felt that [I] was a bit provocative. Stuff like that gets to me because I’m so keen on living up to the standard of purity in every way.”
And being the poster girl for virginity is like a magnet to earnest, young (and not-so-young) male concert-goers. “I had a guy in his late 30s approach me the other day and ask if he could speak to me after the concert,” she recalls. “He pretty much told me that he listened to my song ‘Wait for Me’ and thought it was for him. I felt really bad for the guy, but I shared that God hadn’t shown me that he was ‘the one.’” She sympathizes: “I think it’s just because of the music. They feel like they know me, but they don’t understand I don’t know them from Adam.”
St. James has been touring consistently since 1995, playing more than 200 dates a year, and life on the road is starting to show its wear. In this conversation, St. James is occasionally animated with the fervor of a traveling evangelist, but at times her voice contains the weariness of a missionary home on furlough.
Your life is so far from what the rest of us call “normal.”
That’s one reason I’ve been so grateful that my family is a part of what I do. They bring a sense of perspective to my life. But I look forward to being more “normal” again one day, when I can enjoy coming home to my own bed at night and cleaning the house. I crave some of those normal things.
How do you develop everyday, practical skills that many of us take for granted?
I have started cooking on the road. I mean, I knew somewhat how to cook basic things, but I really wanted to learn how to cook from recipes and things like that. I always thought I’d have to wait until I was off the road to learn, but I just figured out recently that you can buy toaster ovens and skillets and can cook on the bus. The other day I cooked a nectar and puff pastry tart, and yesterday I cooked this Korean-based barbecue. Now my band is making jokes that we should start selling pastries at the merchandise table!
Do you still have an apartment in Nashville?
I used to have a little apartment, but I don’t have that anymore. It was crazy. I was paying this full-on rent, and it wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t investing in anything, and I was gone all the time. Now I have a big, old farmhouse. My parents pay for half, and I pay for half. We’re hardly there so it feels a bit like a hotel.
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