Jaci Velasquez

“Sure, I miss having a locker and going to the prom,” says gospel-singing sensation Jaci Velasquez. True enough, the seventeen-year-old Houston native has not had what you would call a normal adolescence. At age ten she began traveling around the U.S. and Latin America with her family’s music ministry. Four years later the manager of the gospel group Point of Grace caught her show at a church in Columbus, a small town almost halfway between Houston and Austin, and sent a videotape of it to Nashville; Jaci was signed by the gospel label Myrrh soon after. Her heartfelt delivery of earnest lyrics and strong pop melodies earned her 1996 debut, Heavenly Place, three number ones on the Christian charts plus four Dove nominations (gospel’s equivalent of the Grammys). Soon she’ll write an inspirational memoir for Simon and Schuster and cut two albums—one bilingual, “to stay in touch with my Latin side,” she says. Add to her success a few answered prayers, such as the chance to sing at the White House and at a Billy Graham Crusade, and what more could she possibly want? “I’d like to get my driver’s license,” she says. “I just haven’t had the time yet.”

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