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Local cafe to host Christian singer in 'intimate' setting

Feb. 8, 2001

By KAREN KALB

Entertainment Editor

To wrap up a brief stay in Waco, folk singer Angie Paris will perform at 7 tonight at JD's Art Café as part of the café's Intimate Artist Series.

Paris, who has made a name for herself in the Christian music scene, where her sister Twila previously found fame, has been likened to everyone from Sarah McLachlan to Tori Amos. She said the likely and sometimes unlikely comparisons are a compliment.

'I'm compared a lot to Sarah McLachlan,' Paris said. 'For a person who hears me, they usually pick their favorite singer and compare her to me.'

Among Paris' influences are Peter Gabriel, Annie Lennox, Sting, and her sister, Twila. Through her parents' mission work, Paris grew up in exotic locations but calls Fayetteville, Ark., her home. Paris said this background in missions has greatly affected her life and music.

'I have more in common with a missionary than I do with a musician,' Paris said.

Paris lists her family as one of her greatest influences -- especially sister Twila.

'She's one of my best friends,' Paris said. 'She was like a mom, in a lot of ways, to me.'

Paris said that having a sibling in the industry has been helpful.

'On a personal level, it's helped me immensely, just growing up watching everything,' Paris said. 'I've had access to this great source of information and encouragement.'

Although Angie entered the Christian music circuit after the success of her sister, she said the two don't really compete.

'I think I'm speaking to a different group of people,' Paris said. 'It's less of an issue than we thought it would be.'

Paris said she hadn't planned on going into music as a profession, much less the Christian genre.

'I never wanted to be in music. I loved fashion design and art,' Paris said.

She took piano lessons throughout most of her childhood, and said that, at 22, she wanted to resume lessons.

'After the third lesson, I had the urge to start writing,' she said.

Paris said she didn't make a conscious effort to perform under the category of Christian music.

'I did not put a lot of thought into the genre. I sat down one day at the piano, and I wrote a song that came straight from the heart,' Paris said. 'If you're a Christian, your life is a Christian experience. That was really the arena I wanted to run in.'

However, Paris said she doesn't agree with the automatic labeling of artists who happen be Christian as Christian artists.

'[No one says] these are the Christian toothbrush makers. I just want to make a contribution,' she said.

One of the places where Paris has found success and defied labels is at MP3.com. She repeatedly appears on the pop and folk charts.

'They're not judgmental. It's sink or swim,' Paris said.

Paris recently returned from Nashville and has been working on a new CD. Paris said she might do the cover artwork for her new album, as she did for her last release, Umbrella.

'At home, I always have a half-finished painting,' she said.

Paris spent the week in Waco working on several projects.

On Wednesday she played in Chapel-Forum, and was featured at the Health and Wellness Community Mentoring for Adolescent Development Conference. The CMAD used Paris' song Promise as the theme of its mentoring video.

'It [the song] calls for personal commitment, as opposed to, 'wouldn't it be nice if this happened.' It calls for you to say, I will make a difference,' said Joani Livingston of KWBU, who produced the video. 'I think it's going to do big things. This song literally could change people's hearts. '

Paris has been involved with the CMAD conference for the past three years, but has been doing mentoring for at least 10 years.

'You don't have to be that much older as long as you're leading the way,' Paris said. 'Find someone, be a source of strength.'

Paris will return to Waco in the spring to perform at Race for the Cure where her I Want to Live will be the theme song.

'When she pitched the song, the co-chairs started crying,' Livingston said. 'Angie has a real heart for people -- it just shows in her music.'

Although Paris is working on a new album, she isn't in a hurry to sign with a label -- part of the reason she enjoys MP3.com.

'I'm not totally against signing -- we've had different labels interested,' Paris said. 'We'll just have to see what happens next.'

Tickets for Paris' concert at JD's Art Café are available for $25, which includes dinner. Call 759-1500 for ticket information.