Sept. 28, 2006 — -- As 20-year-old pop star Stacie Orrico winds down her world tour for her new album, "Beautiful Awakening," she has brought a camcorder and is ready to bring you a backstage glimpse of the fun and answer your questions.
Send a video question by e-mail as she travels the world, and she'll answer your questions by the end of the week.
Shortly after a 2001 holiday release, "Christmas Wish," Destiny's Child asked the dazzling young singer to support the group on its Survivor U.S. tour.
Now Orrico has brought out a soulful, R&B-powered album -- "Beautiful Awakening" -- which tells the story of her singular journey to adulthood and stardom.
Born in Seattle in 1986, Orrico grew up as the daughter of Christian missionaries, the middle of five children in a close-knit family.
When Orrico was 7, her parents' travels took them to Ukraine, where young Stacie helped tend to tuberculosis-stricken orphans at a local hospital. The Orricos lived in a compound that had no hot water.
"We took freezing cold showers. ... It was so cold that when you put your head under the water, it would give you a headache," Orrico said in a press release. The experience "taught me that no matter what a person's background is, no matter what language they speak, there are common bonds between people, certain things we can all relate to."
After a year in Ukraine, the Orricos moved to Denver, where Stacie went to school and sang in church. "I was the little white girl singing in the all-black gospel choir," she said. "People would come up to my parents and be like, 'This girl can sing. She's got soul.'"
In 1998, Orrico entered a singing competition as a lark, and an A&R executive from EMI's Christian label ForeFront offered her a development deal.
"The record deal just sort of fell into my lap," she said. "I mean, my big goal at that age was to, like, have my own locker, and not have to share."
In 2003, the Orricos moved to Nashville, Tenn., and Stacie released her first album for Virgin, "Stacie Orrico," which spawned her top 10 singles " (There's Gotta Be) More to Life" and "Stuck."
Orrico found herself caught in a whirlwind of promotional appearances: performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, at the tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York, and on MTV's TRL. She also announced the Grammy nominations (later winning one herself for Best Pop Contemporary Gospel Album) and walked the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards.
But the spoils of success left Orrico exhausted, and soon her family moved back to Seattle. Orrico decided to join them, enjoying her mother's cooking, attending her sister's dance recital and her brother's football games. She tried to live a normal life, working at a restaurant with her best friend, making $7.50 an hour serving fish and chips at a seafood place.
Now living in California, where her sister attends college in Malibu, Orrico decided her next effort would be much more personal.
"Beautiful Awakening" highlights a stripped-down sound that sets raw beats, guitar, piano and a few strings against Orrico's jazz-inflected powerhouse vocals. It's the work of an artist coming into her own.
Orrico said the topics, which range from break-up songs ("I'm Not Missing You," "Don't Ask Me to Stay") to romantic ballads ("Easy to Love You," "Wait") to a shout-out to single moms ("Babygirl") to a celebration of family ("So Simple"), "reflect a time that is really joyful and where love has been a part of my life. Whereas in the past my music arose from a place that was a lot rougher emotionally."
"It's definitely a peaceful record," said Orrico. "I wanted to make an album that you would want to put on while you're sitting in your bedroom after a long day. I wanted it to have songs that I could sing accompanied by just an acoustic guitar