Stacie Orrico was born March 3, 1986, in Seattle, WA, and is one of five children of Christian missionaries. Orrico began singing at an early age when her family moved to Denver, CO. She first gained recognition in 1998 at the age of 12 when she received the top honor in the vocalist category at the Estes Park Christian Artist Seminar. She built her career from that experience and was signed to Forefront Records.
Her 2000 debut album, Genuine, is a combination of Christian pop with an urban flare and has been compared stylistically to both Christina Aguilera and Lauryn Hill. Three songs from her debut album, including the Michael W. Smith-produced ballad “Dear Friend” and the disc’s first single, “Don’t Look at Me,” were written or co-written by Orrico. The next year the young singer issued a six-song EP, Christmas Wish, and soon after was supportingDestiny’s Child on their U.S. tour (through which she met Mathew Knowles, who offered her a deal with Virgin Records in 2002). It was her next album, a self-titled 2003 release, that brought Orrico to greater fame, earning her a Grammy nomination, a spot on TRL, and a world tour. Still a teenager, Orrico decided that the constant pressure and fast pace of the music industry was too much for her, so she took a break from it all and moved back in with her family in Seattle, getting a job in a restaurant. She returned to the scene in early 2007, however, with Beautiful Awakening, an album on which she co-wrote many of the songs.