When she released Beauty Has Grace in 2005, Jaci Velasquez was struggling with depression, and her two-year marriage was about to end in divorce. Today life is much sunnier for the Christian and Latin music superstar. She has been married to Nic Gonzales, frontman of the Christian band Salvador, for five years, and they have two boys, Zealand and Soren. Velasquez, 32, talked to CT senior associate editor Mark Moring about Diamond, her first album in almost seven years.

What's behind the album's title?

It's the idea of beauty from ashes, that God refined something that the world has tossed away and turned it into something beautiful. Sometimes you have to go through tough things to get to the place God has designed for you. There's always story before the glory. I believe that.

How have married life and motherhood affected you as an artist?

In every way imaginable. Some of the new songs are about my kids. Some are about my own mommy guilt: Am I putting enough time and attention into their lives? I'm just trying to do the best I can, trying to honor God in everything, knowing full well that I fail in so many aspects.

You were 16 when you hit it big. What do you remember most about those teenage years?

The 1997 Billy Graham crusade in San Antonio, which I did when I was 17. Another great memory was when I sang with Gloria Estefan and people from the Latin market, people I was enamored with as a kid.

When kids are in the spotlight so young, they often grow jaded or self-destruct later. Did you go through any of that?

No. I matured a lot later than others in the same line of work—for them it's work, but for me it was always ministry, and I think my naiveté sort of protected me. I had some cynical moments in my early 20s, but never like a Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears meltdown. Thankfully I've always had God in my life to protect me.

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