"A slave to my cravings is what I used to be/Played with fire, didn't mean a thing to me/Then I discovered my soul is not my own/Glory be the day when I come home/Cause I am not alone/But I will rise above, cause I'm not of this world" —from "I'm Not Of This World"

When Rissi Palmer was 12, she wrote a Grammy acceptance speech, sealed it in an envelope, and put it in her Bible, vowing not to open it until she was on stage accepting an award.

Given her strong debut album (released October 2007) and high-profile press, a child's hopeful dream could become a reality for the clear-voiced country music artist with a from-the-soul singing style. The 26-year-old Palmer has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Ebony, and Rolling Stone, and also appeared on CNN's Young People Who Rock.

Country music is not a genre typically associated with black people. After Palmer's first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry last summer, however, it was obvious she was the real deal. Her self-titled album's first single, "Country Girl," charted at #58 on Billboard's Hot Country Music Songs. Starbucks offered the single to customers as part of a free music download program.

Palmer's album, on which she co-wrote nine of the 12 songs, is a twangy blend of contemporary and traditional country, with a bit of gospel, blues, and soul added to the mix. She's an artist who happens to be a Christian, not an artist who makes Christian music. But unlike some believers in secular music, Palmer isn't struggling with her faith or hiding her light under a bushel. The video for "Country Girl" features Palmer singing with a gospel choir in a field. Not shy about professing Christ, she thanks her "Lord and savior" in the CD's liner ...

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