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Singer Twila Paris Stays In Tune With Genre

Twila Paris 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Spokane Opera House

With a loan she acquired from a bank and a pocketful of songs, contemporary Christian singer Twila Paris recorded her first album, a humble effort.

Today, she has accomplished just about everything possible in the Christian genre, from a No. 1 album, 1993’s “Beyond a Dream,” to 16 No. 1 singles. She even received a Dove, the Christian equivalent of a Grammy, as Female Vocalist of the Year in 1993.

For Paris, who begins the second leg of her “Beyond a Dream” tour Thursday night at the Opera House, music was always around her during her impressionable years.

Her father, a minister, was a musician and songwriter. Her grandmother also was a songwriter.

When Paris was 6, her father taught her how to play the piano. He also taught her the theory behind music. Both gave Paris a strong musical foundation, and by age 12, she began writing songs.

Her father also taught her something that proved to be as invaluable as her piano and songwriting lessons, something Paris was able to apply to her musical talent.

“We were taught when we were young not to just go through the motions with God but develop a relationship with him,” Paris said in a phone interview last week.

So she did.

It was that relationship with God that became the source of her inspiration. It ultimately gave her the courage to step out and launch a career in singing.

And now, with all of the fame and success her career has brought her, Paris continues to use her relationship with the Lord as the focal point of her songs.

And it’s something she hopes her fans will take with them when they leave the concert.

“Obviously, the most important thing is that Jesus Christ loves you and wants to have a relationship with you,” Paris said. “God does have a plan for you.”

Paris’ music has not only made an impact on her Christian audience but on non-Christians as well.

“People are wanting to hear from Christians,” she said. “I’ve heard people say that they listened to my albums and became Christian. They attribute a lot of that to my albums.”

Certainly, Paris, with her strong contemporary pop and soft rock songs, could easily cross over into the world of mainstream pop music. But she continues to remain true to both her genre and her commitment to God, winning respect from her loyal and growing following as well as from her peers.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and people are still listening, and more than ever,” said Paris. “I’m very grateful for that, and I don’t take that for granted.”

Opening for Paris at the Opera House is veteran musician Phil Keaggy. Keaggy has won the respect from guitar fans and critics outside of Christian circles for his acoustic guitar prowess.