Meet Chris Rice

Well, it’s already time to begin the next phase of my balancing act…balancing the recording artist world with my student work world.

With the success of DEEP ENOUGH TO DREAM and PAST THE EDGES came a lot of stretching and growing and learning for me. Even after recording two records and receiving a lot of public attention, I am still convinced, perhaps even more than ever, that my truest and most fruitful work in life is to connect with students relationally and to influence them in their understanding of God and their walk with Him. This leaves me with some questions of my own, like, “How do I continue as an artist, and still remain faithful to my relational work with students?”

Aware of my determination to regroup and refocus my energies toward my youth work, Rocketown Records approached me with this question: “Is it time to do another record, or do we need to wait?”

Well, I thought hard about it. I love writing and recording, and God is using it. But in some ways, being an artist has been taxing my emotion and energy reserved for the college and high school students in my world. In fact, I had not written a song in over a year since the last record came out. So I have had to seriously weigh my response to the question, “Is it time to do another record?”

I offered a challenge to my friends at Rocketown Records. Can we do a new record, while somehow minimizing my own involvement in the marketing and promotion of it? This would mean few interviews, few public appearances, and minimal fan-contact situations to give me more freedom and focus where I need it. If I can remove myself from this role of marketing and promoting, I asked them, can we still put a new record out? Has this ever been done before?

We’re all wondering how this will work, but Rocketown Records has honored my needs, and we are taking up the challenge of releasing “Smell The Color 9” with a new set of marketing parameters. Parameters that keep me free to devote my best energy and effort to working with students. The folks at Rocketown are excited, and their enthusiasm for excellence is visibly leading the way.

Now, a little about SMELL THE COLOR 9…

First, I’m sure you are curious about the title of the project. Well, the title comes from a song on the record of the same name. The chorus of the song says:

‘Cause I can sniff, I can see
And I can count up pretty high
But these faculties aren’t getting me
Any closer to the sky
But my heart of faith keeps pounding
So I know I’m doing fine,
But sometimes finding You,
Is just like trying to,
Smell the color nine.

SMELL THE COLOR 9 is a strong statement of faith. The song reflects the frequent cry of the psalmists (Psalm 69 and 88 for example) when they cannot sense His presence, and encourages us that our faith is strongest when there is no physical evidence on which to base it. The “heart of faith keeps pounding” even when God is not detectable with our five human senses.

I have teamed up again with my friend and amazing producer Monroe Jones for this third record. Monroe has an uncanny ability to capture the intention of each song, and to present them all in such musically fresh and interesting ways. SMELL THE COLOR 9 is musically the most fun, interesting, and diverse album that I have done. I am more excited about the music and the songs on this record than I’ve ever been! It’s always so much fun to pull out my guitar and play new songs for Monroe, and watch his brain start swimming with production ideas! Most of the songs were written in the new millennium, including my traditional habit of waiting until after the tracks are recorded to finish writing the lyrics. (I like to keep everyone sweating down to the wire!) On one song, I literally wrote the lyrics to the bridge in my head while I was singing the vocals on the other parts of the song. I’ll keep which song that was a secret!

Once again, in writing for this record, I approached the messages from my desire to communicate the truths of life in a way that makes sense to fellow believers and also to those struggling with the faith. The most meaningful encounters I have had regarding my music have always been with people who don’t believe the same way I do, and yet are so drawn by the songs. So, I not only want to encourage believers to examine their faith, and how it works out in real, everyday life, (“where theology becomes biography” as my pastor says) but I also want to help some who don’t believe; to be intrigued by what they hear in my songs, and maybe move toward faith. That excites me.

I hope this new record, SMELL THE COLOR 9, brings a fresh invitation for us all to examine and fortify our faith as it relates to daily life. I also hope it will simply provide some refreshing and enjoyable music to listen to!

-Chris Rice

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