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    Rj Helton

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    Most Popular Songs (more)

    Even If lyrics
    2If It Breaks My Heart lyrics
    3My Devotion lyrics
    4Canto de Amor lyrics
    5Why Don't We Pray lyrics
    6Freedom lyrics
    7Delicate Child lyrics
    8Love Song lyrics
    9Forgive lyrics
    10Tell Me lyrics

    Most Popular Albums (more)

    1American Idol: Greatest Moments [2002]
    2Real Life [2004]


    Lots of kids dream big dreams. It's part of growing up, and RJ Helton was no exception. Though in his case, with a captivating performance as a finalist in the first season of the breakout hit TV series, "American Idol," and his first major-label release, Real Life, on B-Rite Music, the young singer's dreams are indeed coming true.

    RJ never had a problem deciding what he wanted to do with his life. Singing almost as soon as he learned to talk, he had only to chart the course that he would take to turn his lofty ambitions into reality. At the age of three, RJ amazed his parents with an uncanny, dead-on ability to mimic nearly any singer who came on the radio. By age five when RJ gave his first public performance at an amateur talent show, the little boy with the big voice had already formed an unwavering resolve to be a professional entertainer.

    As the son of the vice-president of a large, national fast-food franchise, much of RJ's young life was an almost constant series of moves-attending 12 different schools from third through ninth grade alone-as his father relocated many times to oversee the company's rapid expansion across the U.S. But what could have been a challenging, difficult situation for many kids, RJ sees as a character-building experience for him and a foreshadowing of the constantly changing lifestyle he now lives.

    Finally settling in Atlanta halfway through his freshman year of high school, RJ's personal faith walk took on a new and deeper dimension. Raised in a strong, church-going family, RJ put down roots in a church that was solid and strong in both doctrine and music and soon became the leader of the church's youth worship team.

    His career path took a large leap forward when he was 16. RJ captured the attention of the promoters of a musical tour of schools, sponsored by Reader's Digest magazine, that spanned the East Coast and Ohio Valley. Previously the same launching pad for pop stars Paula Abdul and the Backstreet Boys, the tour gave RJ the opportunity to perform over 150 dates in his last two years of high school.

    Upon his high school graduation, RJ was invited to Nashville to audition for Soul Focus, a young vocal act of which he became a member. The group was invited to tour with a major Christian artist. When Soul Focus failed to land a recording contract, the group folded. At the end of 2001, RJ returned to Atlanta to plot his next foray into the music industry.

    "I was kind of discouraged when I got back," RJ recalls, "but I've never been the type to just give up when I've got my sights set on something. I had learned a lot from the whole Soul Focus experience that really prepared me for things that were to come."

    He had been home less than a week when he saw an ad announcing the auditions for a new reality TV program, "American Idol." The 9,000th person of an initial 10,000 preliminary contestants, RJ was selected to be on the show and eventually earned a place among the season's Top 5 finalists.

    After his performances on "American Idol" and the tour that followed, RJ was courted by several record labels. He quickly found what felt like a natural home at B-Rite Music, the pop music imprint of music industry powerhouse Gospo Centric Records.

    "I'm a huge fan of Kirk Franklin, which is what originally sparked my interest in B-Rite," says RJ. "We all met, and it was clear almost immediately that it was a perfect match. They understood that I wanted to sing about my faith, but also other things that were on my heart,love songs, and songs that deal with day-to-day issues as I see and live them."

    Produced by Tommy Sims (Kelly Clarkson, Michael McDonald, CeCe Winans), Reed Vertelney (Luther Vandross, Heather Headley), Bernie Herms (Natalie Grant, Plus One, Darwin Hobbs), New Tone Productions (Dana Glover, Black Eyed Peas, Eric Benet) and acclaimed songwriter Sam Mizell (Chris Rice, The Martins, Billy Ray Cyrus, Matthew West), Real Life includes many of RJ's musical influences. He cites a wide range of singers-both male and female-in diverse genres from R&B and pop to contemporary country, including Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, country stars Bryan White and Vince Gill, and contemporary Christian luminary Natalie Grant (with whom he co-wrote "All We Need to Know").

    "All We Need To Know" is a stirring ballad laid atop steady percussion, movingly expressing the comfort of faith in God. The acoustic guitar and drum-loop-driven "Crazy" is an unabashed love song, with an instantly unforgettable, million-dollar hook.

    "Even If" has a slow, insinuating, funky groove that allows RJ to show the full range of his amazing vocal chops and, once again, sports a chorus so catchy it imbeds itself in the listener's head and simply won't let go, while "Why Don't We Pray" is an in-your-face, hip-hop gem.

    "There are songs on Real Life that are very straightforwardly Christian in their content and message, but I don't think it does any good to try to force anything on anyone. This is not what you would call an 'evangelistic' album," comments RJ. "I want to make positive, uplifting music for everyone, and I think Real Life is the perfect mix of all of those elements."

    Even as the release of Real Life carries RJ to a new and still higher level of recognition, accompanied by the myriad of demands that go with that, he clearly embraces it all with a true passion. "Life has been very much of a whirlwind ever since 'American Idol' hit," RJ says, "but I love it. How could I not? I'm doing what I've always wanted to do."

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