Conversation: Chris Rice
Chris Rice is a recording artist and songwriter who has received numerous awards in the Christian music industry, including a Dove Award for male vocalist of the year in 1999. Recently he talked with Jodi O. Harmon, TPE advertising coordinator.
tpe: Did you always plan on a career in music?
RICE: When I was growing up my parents had a Christian bookstore, so I heard a lot of Christian music. In my youth group my brothers and I sang with youth ensembles, and I wrote songs. I was always doing music in church, but I didn't have a plan that it was something I would pursue.
tpe: Is it tough to live as a Christian on the road?
RICE: I don't think there's any difference in how you live for Christ in any profession. You still have to live a 24-hour day. You still interact with people. You still have to approach your spiritual walk the same way if you're a recording artist traveling, a businessman on business trips or if you're working in a local retail store.
tpe: How do you keep things in perspective in the midst of success?
RICE: I try to get outside and under the sky. A lot of stress comes from either feeling you're overly important or that people are making you more important than you are. You need to get out under the sky and say, OK, I'm not a huge deal in my own mind or anyone else's mind. I'm just part of a huge scheme.
tpe: Your current CD, Amusing, is a look at life, love and hope. Where do you find the ideas and inspiration for the songs you write?
RICE: They come from everywhere. I observe people. A lot of my songs have images from nature and a lot of them do tell stories. A lot of them are looking forward to heaven. There's a bigger scope to our existence than what we experience here — looking forward to when things will be made right.
tpe: Have you noticed a new fan base now that your music is being played by radio hosts like Delilah and John Tesh?
RICE: Absolutely. It astounds me. It's something I preached to my audiences for 10 years. If you're a teacher or a doctor you can't just teach Christian kids, you can't just operate on Christians. If you're a plumber you can't just do your plumbing in Christian households. Music is one way of making a living, it's a way to entertain, but it's a way to do ministry. This is an opportunity to live my life in front of people I never would have before.
tpe: What's the most rewarding part of your career?
RICE: The reason I even write songs is for that moment when people understand what I'm trying to say and they go, Aha, I get it! Those kinds of moments make me realize what I'm doing helps people rethink some things. Whether that's someone taking on the idea of faith for the first time, or if that's somebody appreciating the song “When Did You Fall in Love?” and thinking back on a great marriage of 15, 20 or 30 years.
tpe: What song sums you up?
RICE: “Life Means So Much” is one of my more important songs of how I think, and it keeps me thinking the right way. It's a song that says every day is a gift you've been given; make the most of the time every minute you're living. It's a reminder that the time I have on the planet is good because it is a gift from God, and it's a reminder to use it well.
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