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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Heavenly Place (1996)

Updated: Feb 8

Heavenly Place is the national debut album by Christian/Latina pop singer Jaci Velasquez. It was released on May 13, 1996 by Myrrh/Word Records. Mark Heimermann (DC Talk, Michael W. Smith) produced nine songs and Phil Naish (Steven Curtis Chapman, First Call) produced the track "On My Knees."

Heavenly Place produced six Top 10 hits with four of those songs going to number one on The CCM Update Christian AC chart: "If This World," "Flower in the Rain," "On My Knees" and "We Can Make a Difference." Some of the top songwriters were brought in to contribute the album including Chris Eaton, Bob Farrell, Reggie Hamm as well as Heimermann, among others. David Velasquez, Jaci's father who has been a Christian music evangelist since the mid 1960s, co-wrote the song "Un Lugar Celestial (A Heavenly Place)." Jaci released Heavenly Place when she was 16 years old. CCM Magazine has ranked the album at number 86 in their 2001 book The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music and the track "On My Knees" was ranked at number 14 in their 2006 book The 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music. The song won the Dove Award for Song of the Year in 1998 given to its writers David Mullen, his then-wife Nicole C. Mullen and Michael Ochs. Nicole herself would record own version of "On My Knees" on her 2000 self-titled album.

In 1997 after a full year of its release, the album peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums, number 4 on the Heatseekers Albums and number 142 on the Top 200 Albums charts. That same year, Jaci won her first Dove Award for New Artist of the Year at the age of 17 at the 28th GMA Dove Awards, making her the youngest competitor to win an award. Heavenly Place was certified Gold in 1998 and then Platinum in 2001 by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of a million copies.

Track listing

1. If This World (Michele Tumes, Mark Heimermann, Erik Sundin, Tyler Hayes) -4:05

2. Un Lugar Celestial (A Heavenly Place) (David Velasquez, Mark Heimermann,

Bob Farrell, Reggie Hamm) -4:02

3. Flower in the Rain (Chris Eaton) -3:41

4. On My Knees (Nicole C. Mullen, David Mullen, Michael Ochs) -3:53

5. Shelter (duet with Chris Rodriguez) (Mark Heimermann, Dann Huff,

Wayne Kirkpatrick) -4:19

6. Baptize Me (Mark Heimermann, Erik Sundin) -4:16

7. We Can Make A Difference (Mark Heimermann, David Mullen) -3:51

8. I Promise (Jaci Velasquez, Johnny Ramirez) -3:43

9. We Will Overcome (Mark Heimermann, Bob Farrell, Reggie Hamm) -3:52

10. Thief of Always (Chris Eaton) -4:27

Gold certified in 1998.

Platinum certified in 2001.

Production credits

Mark Heimermann -producer (tracks 1 -3, 5 -10)

Phil Naish -producer (track 4)


Dove Award -New Artist of the Year

Radio singles

1996 "If This World" -#4 Christian CHR, #1 Christian AC

1996 "Flower in the Rain" -#15 Christian CHR, #1 Christian AC

1997 "Un Lugar Celestial (A Heavenly Place)" -#7 Christian CHR, #3 Christian AC

1997 "On My Knees" -#1 Christian AC

1997 "Baptize Me" -#6 Christian CHR

1997 "We Can Make A Difference" -#7 Christian CHR, #1 Christian AC

Previous release: Keep the Fire Burning (1994) (independent CD release)

Next release: Jaci Velasquez (1998)

Watch the music video of "On My Knees" here:

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