John James in Perth

JohnJames.bmpThe Newsboys began their life in Queensland, Australia, back in the early eighties.

Since then they’ve sold millions of albums, been nominated for several Grammies, taken home a swag of Dove awards as well as being recognised through several other industry awards. They’ve also played to sell out arena shows of up to 200 000 people in the U.S. and Europe.

While virtually unknown in their home land, they’ve consistently been up there with the top earners amongst Australian performers, outselling most of our other home-grown talent.

Their original lead singer, John James, left the band and show business in 1997. These days he visits schools and speaks to young people about the trappings of success and living a life of integrity.

John James joined me in the studio today as part of my morning radio programme at 98.5 Sonshine FM.

John has an amazing story to tell of The Newsboys meteoric rise to fame and the toll it took on his life and his marriage. He left the band after becoming addicted to cocaine and battling depression and alcohol abuse.

Today John is very much a changed man. His relationship with his wife and children is restored and he spends his days telling young people about the turn around in his life.

You can hear the interview by clicking play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I must say, “Shine” is one of my favorite songs.

    My children would sing it to the top of their lungs, and so would their friends.

    Many was the time when ALL the neighborhood children, Christians or not, would gather at our place, singing their song in the backyard.
    It was really something to behold.

  • I love the Newsboys! I didn’t know that they were not well known in Australia. They’ve had so many songs that have touched me and my daughters.

  • Thanks for dropping in, Connie. I was visiting your blog earlier today and thought it was great.

    The Newsboys are certainly well known amongst Christians in Australia, but their album sales and fan base worldwide put their earnings well above most of the top secular performers here.

    When lists have come out announcing the top earning Australians in show business they’ve been up around 3rd or 4th overall and many Aussies still don’t know who they are.

  • Well I must admit that I am one Aussie who has never heard of the Newsboys and I thank you for rectifying that. I listened to your interview and I was very impressed with John’s outlook. It also highlighted the fact that each of us can make a difference in a person’s life and THAT influence can then snowball onto others. I refer to the Youth Worker who helped John and now he in turn wants to help others in the same way. Very nice post Rodney.

  • Thanks Gypsy. Yes, his comments about having influence on the lives of others hit home for me too.

    I guess we never know what influence, good or bad, we may be having on someone.

  • It is good to know that John James is very much a changed man now. Most of us take time to get wise 🙂 It would be good if young people could understand that…

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