Choosing Jesus is not easy. But to be young, free-to-decide, living in this ‘post-modern’, ‘super-hip’ world and still openly choose Jesus… that is something. Being 19 only a little while ago, I know that living a life that glorifies God surrounded other teens and their associated issues is no joke. Yet Moriah Peters makes it seem so easy. How does she do it?!

The project opens with an infectious “Know Us By Our Love” where Moriah introduces us to a brand of country-infused pop that makes easy listening. Musically, her debut utilises a cheery range of pop meets CCM meets gospel in production-light setting. Her band of experienced musicians (including names such as Stu G and Ed Cash) keep the accompaniment tight. From the syncopated jazz-ish “Haven’t Even Kissed” to the more unconventional “Glow”; the variety in I Choose Jesus makes listening a pleasure.

Although most songs are light-hearted and fun-loving, the title track begins as a slower, more intimate piece. While Moriah has an incredible voice suited for any range, her vocals really come to the fore as she crescendos into the powerful chorus. Yet even in the more sedate, less dramatic “No Shame”- Peters shows she is equally comfortable at lazier paces. Vocally, allusions to a whole troupe of successful female artists can be heard and justified – Leigh Nash, Jamie Grace, Francesca Battistelli, to name just a few.

I Choose Jesus is possibly the most obvious title of the year. Moriah Peters is crystal clear and explicit in her stance –‘If they’re following me then/ They’re gonna follow You’ (“Well Done”). All her songs leave no ambiguity about who the object of her praise is and her desire that we join her in following Christ. Refreshingly outspoken in her principles, listening to I Choose Jesus is a timely reminder that art need not be compromised by values. Scattered around the project are testimonies from the path she’s chosen. From abstinence and purity in “Haven’t Even Kissed”, the need to witness in “Glow” and trusting God for the future in “Bloom”, Peters deliberately sets a Christian agenda. She definitely gets top makes for being intentional.

Young talent is not a new phenomenon. What is unusual is wise and gifted talent, amongst all ages. A lot of children are gifted, much fewer are shrewd. Yet I Choose Jesus is a packed full with insightful, thoughtful messages that a listener of any age could learn from. That makes it a debut that we should all choose.