Singer Rachael Lampa shot to stardom in the early 2000s, releasing numerous hit songs and albums, but, at 20 years old, she decided to walk away from it all.
After years of remaining out of the spotlight and, at moments, taking on more minor roles as a background singer, Lampa now finds herself once again making music. She even landed a K-LOVE Fan Award earlier this year for her single “Perfectly Loved,” something she said was unexpected.
“If there’s a definition of ‘caught off guard,’ that was it,” she recently told CBN Digital of her win. “I just was so sure that it wasn’t going to happen … but insanely grateful.”
It’s a return Lampa never really thought would unfold — and one she didn’t intentionally orchestrate.
Watch her tell the story:
Lampa’s early experience in music
The singer reflected on the origins of her career at age 14, when she found herself on the road and in the studio, very literally growing up in the public eye. The process of being a well-known Christian singer while navigating the perils of being a teen wasn’t always easy.
“[I was] trying to make sense of growing up, getting to know who I am, but also like jumping on interviews and trying to pretend I know who I am,” Lampa said.
Now 38, Lampa said she has had a very different experience this time around, describing the entire process of being “sweet, and redeeming, and refreshing.”
“I just am able to show up in an honest way and in a way where I don’t have to put anything on,” she said. “I don’t have to feel like I have to … strive for like everyone’s acceptance and everyone’s love. And there’s much more peace.”
Of course, many people want to know why Lampa chose to walk away from a busy and successful music contract years ago. Those questions aren’t new, though; she said it’s something people openly questioned at the time, asking her if she was sure about her decision.
Why she walked away
“I was 20, 21ish, and it was the time when a lot of my friends from high school were just stepping into what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives,” Lampa said. “And, for me, I was stepping out of what I thought I would be doing for the rest of my life.”
At the time, she had no definitive plan of what came next, though she said she knew it wasn’t a hiatus or a sabbatical; it was something much deeper.
“It was just a straight-up, like, ‘I don’t have peace right now. I feel very anxious. I feel lots of pressure. I don’t know what my voices, what their voices are, what God’s voice is. I can’t tell any of it apart,'” Lampa said, expressing her confusion at the time. “So, when I stopped, I literally was like, ‘I don’t know what’s next.'”
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She said her first job after music was to become a nanny, taking on the role to try something polar opposite to what she’d been doing. In the following years, Lampa said “yes” to many random opportunities — and she credited the experience with teaching her multiple lessons along the way.
“One of the things that got restored a lot in that time was the gift of music,” she said. “I realized what I used to love, what used to give me peace when I was so young, so small — before I even realized that there are careers out there to sing for the Lord — I would just sing in my room … and I felt connected to God, like even as a young, young kid.”
Lampa said that love for music and its role in her connection to faith was restored during her decade-long break. She added, “[I realized] I can just sing and just enjoy music, just to spend time with God and not have this big pressure to go change the world with it, honestly.”
Beyond that, Lampa was also able to spend more time with family and friends, calling the entirety of the experience “peaceful.”
Helping the homeless and incarcerated
One of the other efforts Lampa has engaged in over recent years is her family’s ministry, People Loving Nashville, an effort to feed the homeless and minister to the incarcerated.
“My older brother, my little sister, my little brother, we all are part of this together, and my oldest brother started it,” she said. “It has grown like crazy, which is so funny, because, for the longest time, we were just like trying to just keep it grassroots.”
But what started as a simple operation scrounging together money to buy food for the homeless in downtown Nashville has turned into what she described as a “big block party” that serves the homeless and those in need every week.
“Anybody that gets in line … gets fed,” Lampa said. “It went from 10 people, to 100 people, to, I think, it’s about 500 a night now.”
The singer called her involvement in the effort “life-changing.” Lampa specifically noted the transformation she experienced ministering to women in prison as part of People Loving Nashville.
She shares the Gospel message and comes alongside them to meet them where they are.
“It was just this really beautiful, healing time of, like, just walking with people in what … they’re going through, whether they’re fighting for custody, whether they’re trying to get out, whether they’re trying to cope with the fact that they’re not going to get out,” Lampa said. “It’s just showing up for people.”
Why she wrote ‘Perfectly Loved’
As it turns out, the experience is why she wrote “Perfectly Loved,” a song that has deeply resonated and led to her K-LOVE Award Win.
“I was not planning on doing music ever again,” Lampa said.
But God had other plans. The roots of her return to music set while she was telling friends in her small group how powerful it was seeing incarcerated women hear about God’s love and instantaneously be moved by the message. They encouraged her to take her experience and create music around it.
“They’re like, ‘You gotta write that song! You gotta write that song!” she said.
Lampa did just that. The song became instantaneously popular, and she ended up back on stage — again, a place she never thought she’d be. It’s a testament to God moving in our lives when we let Him. Find out more about Lampa’s new music here.
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