This week on Flashback Friday we go back to the 90's to talk about CCM artist, Chris Rice. Chris Rice, a native of Clinton, Maryland, grew up as the second of four sons born to bookstore owners. His parents, and other adult mentors, influenced Rice's Christian faith and his early work with youth and college students.
Having taken only three years of piano lessons as a child, Rice did not aspire to a career in either music or student work. But frequent invitations to speak and lead music at his church's youth group events led to more such invitations throughout his college years at the University of Maryland, Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, and Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Rice's songwriting career began in the mid-1980s, after moving from his Washington, D.C., home to Nashville, Tenn. During that period several of Rice's songs were recorded by other artists, including Kathy Troccoli and Terri Gibbs. Rice's "Welcome to Our World", an original Christmas song since recorded by Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant and John Tesh, moved Smith to urge his new label, Rocketown Records, to sign Rice as its first artist in 1996.
Of course with Christmas next week, we need to feature "Welcome To Our World," a song we play in church every Christmas season...
After signing his recording contract, Chris released his debut album, Deep Enough to Dream in 1997. The title song off this album is one of my favorites...
The album, Past the Edges followed a year later. Rice's third album, Smell the Color 9, was issued in late 2000. In 2001, Rice released two piano-only, instrumental releases, The Living Room Sessions and The Living Room Sessions: Christmas, recorded on Rice's own living room grand piano. His sixth album, Run the Earth... Watch the Sky, released in March 2003.
The year 2005 marked a major turning point in Rice's artistry. Leaving Rocketown Records at the end of his contractual agreement, he no longer limited his music to Christian radio format. His fifth studio release CD Amusing, released in August 2005, included love songs and other life topics, as well as some songs about his faith.
The year 2006 proved to be a turning point in Rice's emphasis, with most of his attention and radio station visits and interviews involving pop AC stations across the United States, rather than his former attention to CCM radio. Since 2007, Rice has branched out in the visual arts, including photography and painting. In 2016, he self-published Widen, a book of poetry.