Amy Grant

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Amy Grant, Age to Age, 1982

Amy Lee Grant (born November 25, 1960 in Augusta, Georgia) is an American singer-songwriter whose music has strong Christian themes. She was initially most successful in the "Christian pop" or CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) genre, and is notable for being one of the first CCM artists to have successfully crossed over into the mainstream pop music market. She has won multiple Grammy and Dove awards and was elected to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003. To date she has 5 gold and 6 platinum albums.

Career

Signed to a record company at the age of sixteen, Grant's first, self-titled album (largely self-composed) in 1977, was a runaway success in terms of the Christian music market of the time. As an English major at Vanderbilt University, Grant made a few more albums before dropping out of college to pursue a career in music. These albums included 1979's My Father's Eyes (the title track written by Grant's future first husband, singer-songwriter Gary Chapman) and Never Alone in 1980.

The year 1982 marked a turning point in both Grant's career and personal life. After marrying Chapman in June, her album Age to Age forced critics to sit up and take notice. The breakthrough album contained the now signature track, "El Shaddai" and the Grant-Chapman penned song, "In A Little While." She was now a star. Grant received her first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Gospel Performance, as well two Dove Awards for Gospel Artist of the Year and Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year.

Grant followed up this album with the first of her Christmas albums - albums that later would be the basis for her trademark holiday shows. 1984 saw the release of another pop-oriented Christian hit, Straight Ahead, earning Grant her first appearance at the Grammy Awards show.

Hardly had Grant established herself as the "Queen of Christian Pop", however, when she changed directions to widen her fan base (and hence her musical message). Her goal was to become the first Christian singer-songwriter who was also successful as a contemporary pop singer, being successful in both genres. 1985's Unguarded shocked some fans for its very mainstream sound (and Grant's leopard-print jacket, in four poses for four different covers). "Find a Way," from Unguarded, became the first Christian song to hit Billboard's Top 40 list. Amy Grant scored her first Billboard Number One hit in 1986 with "The Next Time I Fall", a breezy duet with former Chicago singer/bassist Peter Cetera.

1988's Lead Me On, released after Grant had become a mother and undergone considerable strain in her marriage, is considered her most mature album, both lyrically and musically. This album, too, contained many songs that were still about Christianity and love relationships, but some interpreted it as not being an obviously "Christian" record; though the album's title track is now considered a CCM classic. This song talks about intense sufferings among people through racism, and that the comfort they seek, as their lives are threatened, is in their relationships with God. The track "1974" is clearly about young people sharing a deep-seated faith after receiving Communion; as the lyrics state, "Quite a change, somewhere we had crossed a big line, down upon our knees we had tasted Holy wine and nothing could sway us in lifetime." The mainstream song, "Saved by Love", was a minor hit, receiving airplay on radio stations featuring newly emerging Adult Contemporary format. It gives a message of great love for family, affected by her greatest love for Jesus. "Faithless Heart" is an honest, heartfelt song about resisting inner temptations of infidelity. "What About The Love?" talks about the absence of faith in certain worldly things and the importance of resisting judgment of others. Other songs included were engaging love songs, including "If These Walls Could Speak," which, like "Saved By Love," includes a message about love of family and children. This was a deeply introspective album that she dedicated to one of her children, so that they could understand her at that time in her life.

Nevertheless, when Heart in Motion was released three years later, many fans were shocked and outraged that the album was so clearly one of contemporary pop music. The track "Baby Baby" (written for Grant's newborn daughter, Millie), however, became a massive hit (hitting number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart), and Grant was established as a name in the mainstream music world. Other pop hits from the album included "That's What Love Is For" (number 7 on the pop chart) and "Every Heartbeat" (number 2 on the pop chart). Many Christian fans remained loyal, though, as the album also topped the Billboard's Contemporary Christian Chart for 32 weeks. Heart in Motion is her best-selling album, having sold over 5 million copies. Tracks like "Hope Set High" and "Ask Me" were songs with clear religious messages.

House of Love in 1994 continued in the same vein, boasting catchy pop songs mingled with spiritual lyrics. The album was a multi-platinum success and produced the minor pop hit "Lucky One," as well as the title track (a duet with country music star, and Grant's future second husband, Vince Gill). 1997's Behind the Eyes, however, struck a much darker note, and it soon became clear that Grant's marriage to Chapman was at an end. The two separated and divorced in 1999, disappointing many Christian fans. In 2000 Grant married Vince Gill, who divorced country singer Janis Gill of Sweethearts of the Rodeo.

After giving birth to fourth child Corinna Grant Gill, Grant returned to her gospel music roots with the 2002 release of Legacy... Hymns and Faith. The album featured a Vince Gill-influenced mix of bluegrass and gospel and marked Grant's 25th anniversary in the music industry. Grant followed this up with the pop release Simple Things in 2003. The album did not see the success of her previous pop efforts, however. It was rumored that the pop album was held back for release after the hymns album, due to the controversy surrounding Grant's divorce from Chapman with Gill waiting in the wings. Grant argued that the timing of these album releases was changed because she and her second husband were expecting a child together. On her website and in an interview on Lifetime Television, she stated: "Then life happened."

Grant released a sequel to her hymns collection in 2005 titled Rock of Ages. Despite publicly musing that life would be easier if she weren't working, Grant joined the reality television phenomenon by hosting Three Wishes, a show in which she and a team of helpers make wishes come true for small town residents. The show debuted on NBC in the fall of 2005.

Grant is a longstanding member of the Gospel Music Association (GMA), which annually presents the Dove Awards and maintains the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Grant is a graduate of Harpeth Hall School, and attended Vanderbilt University for several years before leaving to focus on her music career.

Discography

Albums

Hit songs

  • "Mountain Top" (1977)
  • "Old Man's Rubble" (1977)
  • "Beautiful Music" (1977)
  • "What a Difference You've Made" (1977)
  • "Father's Eyes" (1979)
  • "Faith Walkin' People" (1979)
  • "Look What Has Happened to Me" (1980)
  • "Too Late" (1980)
  • "All I Ever Have to Be" (1980)
  • "I'm Gonna Fly" (1981)
  • "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" (1982)
  • "In a Little While" (1982)
  • "El Shaddai" (1982)
  • "I Have Decided" (1982)
  • "Emmanuel" (1983)
  • "Angels" (1984)
  • "Thy Word" (1984)
  • "Where Do You Hide Your Heart" (1984)
  • "Find a Way" (1985)
  • "Everywhere I Go" (1985)
  • "Stay for Awhile" (1986)
  • "Love Can Do" (1986)
  • "The Next Time I Fall" (duet with Peter Cetera) (1986)(#1 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Saved by Love" (1988)
  • "Lead Me On" (1988)
  • "Baby Baby" (1991) (#1 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Every Heartbeat" (1991) (#2 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "That's What Love Is For" (1991) (#7 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Good for Me" (1991) (#8 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "I Will Remember You" (1991) (#20 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Lucky One" (1994) (#21 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "House of Love" (duet with Vince Gill) (1994) (#36 Billboard Hot 100)
  • "Big Yellow Taxi" (1994)
  • "The Things We Do for Love" (1996)
  • "Takes a Little Time" (1997)
  • "Like I Love You" (1997)
  • "I Will Be Your Friend" (1997)
  • "It Is Well with My Soul/The River's Gonna Keep On Rolling" (2002)
  • "Simple Things" (2003)
  • "The Water" (2004)
  • "Come Be with Me" (2004)

See also

External links

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