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Grant, Amy

Amy Grant


Singer, songwriter


Amy Grant was one of the first Christian singers to attract the attention of mainstream pop music fans. After gaining prominence in the early 1980s for her gospel songs, her 1985 album Unguarded propelled her into the realm of pop stardom. Grant and her back-up band have appeared in concert throughout the United States, garnering a steady following. Her award-winning albums have sold in the millions and engendered hit singles and videos. Grant has appeared often on talk shows and has been featured on a televised Christmas special.

The youngest of four daughters of a prominent radiologist, Grant was born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Nashville, where she and her family attended the local Church of Christ. She did not become particularly interested in music until her teenage years, when she taught herself to play the guitar and began to write songs. She never had a formal music teacher. While attending Harpeth Hall, an exclusive girl's prep school, Grant worked part-time at a recording studio, demagnetizing tapes and doing janitorial chores. She used the facilities at hand to make a tape for her parents of her own songs, which she accompanied on guitar. Unknown to Grant, someone at the Texas-based Word Records heard the tape, and she was later approached about recording an album.

Released in 1976 on Word Records imprint Myrrh, Grant's self-titled debut album became an immediate bestseller in the field of Christian music. During the following years, the teenage singer tried to balance a recording career with her education. After graduating from Harpeth Hall, she attended Furman University in South Carolina before transferring to Vanderbilt University, where she majored in English. At this stage in her budding career, Grant performed solo in churches to her own guitar accompaniment. Two of her albums culled from concert performances became best sellers in their field.

The late 1970s and early 1980s marked a period of striking change in both the personal and professional aspects of Grant's life. In 1979, she met her future husband, guitarist and songwriter Gary Chapman, who would later become a member of Grant's ten-piece touring band. While at Vanderbilt University in 1983, she recorded Age to Age, the first of her albums to see sales figures rise dramatically. With such promising indications of a successful performance career, Grant dropped out of college to become a professional singer.

In 1985 Word Records signed a distribution deal with A&M Records to launch various gospel artists. Grant was one of them. With its synthesized sound and upbeat songs expressing subtle Christian lyrics, her album Unguarded received much airplay and sold more than a million copies. When the single "Find a Way" hit the pop charts, and a duet with Peter Cetera, "The Next Time I Fall," topped Billboard 's pop chart in 1987, Grant garnered criticism from some Christians who thought that in her quest for success, she had lost sight of her spiritual roots. Grant countered by suggesting that her songs need not mention Jesus by name in order to portray the message of love that he taught. Critics generally maintain that in concert, Grant aims to entertain her audience; she does not overtly attempt to convert listeners to Christianity.

At the end of the tour to promote Unguarded, Grant and her entourage needed a rest. Following a three-year recording hiatus, she released the 1988 album Lead Me On, which represents an even further departure from Grant's previous efforts. Unlike the upbeat synthesized sound of Unguarded, Lead Me On primarily utilizes acoustic instrumentation, and the songs revolve around somber themes. The album reflects many of Grant's concerns during her absence from the concert stage: accusations that she had sold out her faith, the trauma of a miscarriage, a difficult period in her marriage that was overcome through counseling, and the birth of her son, Matthew. Because none of its songs lent themselves readily to radio airplay, the album was largely ignored by radio stations. Nonetheless, Grant's following remained loyal.

Grant made a distinct attempt to find a place in the pop market with her 1991 release Heart in Motion, which contains songs that contemplate the earthly side of human love. "I did that for a few different reasons," she told Chris Willman of the Los Angeles Times. "I have invested so much of my time and creative energy [in] writing contemporary Christian songs, and I was really wanting to try something new." To answer her critics in the Christian community she added, "It had nothing to do with a loss of faith or change of lifestyle…. I think that Christians, no matter where they are, should be the same person whether they're singing Gospel music or writing and performing a pop album…. We just ought to get out there and live life and be true to what we believe, and for those of us that write, just let what we do reflect that."

Fans had a chance to see Grant's efforts portrayed on the small screen as well. When her video "Baby, Baby" aired on MTV, it caused considerable controversy and sparked both positive and negative criticism. The song was inspired by Grant's daughter Millie, but in the video Grant is seen singing romantically to a handsome actor—not her husband, with whom Grant has often performed in concert. In spite of the uproar surrounding the release, Heart in Motion brought Grant several 1992 Grammy nominations and a legion of new listeners.

For the Record …

Born c. 1961 in Augusta, GA; daughter of Burton Grant (a radiologist); married Gary Chapman, June 1982, divorced 1999; married Vince Gill, March 2000; children: Matthew, Millie, Sarah (with Chapman), Corinna (with Gill.). Education: Attended Furman University and Vanderbilt University.

Released Amy Grant, 1977, after being discovered at age 16; released My Father's Eyes, 1979; released Never Alone, 1980; released AgetoAge, 1983; released Straight Ahead, 1984; released Unguarded, 1985; launched by A&M Records, 1985; crossed over to top Billboard's pop chart, 1987; released Heart in Motion, 1991; sales dropped following her divorce from Gary Chapman, 1999; hosted television special Christmas to Remember, 1999; starred in television movie A Song From the Heart, released LegacyHymns & Faith, 2002; released Simple Things, 2003.

Awards: Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary, 1982; Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance, Female, 1983; Dove Awards, Artist of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for Age to Age, 1983; Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance, Female, 1984; Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance, Female, 1985; Grammy Award, Best Gospel Performance, Female, 1988; Dove Award, Short Form Music Video of the Year for "Stay For a While," 1988; Dove Awards, Artist of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for "Lead Me On," 1989; Dove Award, Country Recorded Song of the Year, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," 1990; Dove Award, Song of the Year, "Place in this World," Artist of the Year, 1992; Dove Award, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for Behind the Eyes, 1998; Dove Awards, Inspirational Album for LegacyHymns & Faith, Country Recorded Song of the Year for "The River's Gonna Keep On Rolling," 2003.

Addresses: Record company—A&M Records, 1416 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Website—Amy Grant Official Website: http://www.amygrant.com.

Despite rumors of trouble in her marriage, Grant recorded House of Love in 1994, which included a duet hit of the title song with country superstar Vince Gill. The album continued to showcase Grant as both a contemporary pop artist as well as a Christian singer. It also indicated that her life was full of both domestic and spiritual peace.

For her fifteenth release in 1997, Behind the Eyes had Grant back to the beginning, singing solo with her guitar, but with a darker side. Grant had always had a tendency to pour her own soul into her music, and her true fans could tell things were not going well in her personal life. The album received positive reviews from the critics, but did not sell as well as previous albums due to it's darker nature.

In 1999, Grant divorced Gary Chapman. Then, in March of 2000, she married her longtime musical partner, Vince Gill. Some of her judgmental Christian audience was shocked and some Christian radio stations stopped playing her songs, and Christian bookstores pulled her material from their shelves. Grant took a beating in the tabloids. Grant took time off from her musical career and concentrated on finding out what was right for her. Her inner strength was tested, but she finally found peace.

In 2001, she gave birth to a daughter, Corinna. She also released a new album, LegacyHymns & Faith in 2002. Then, Grant came back to pouring her life into an album when she released Simple Things in 2003. The album included songs like "Out in the Open," and "I Don't Know Why" that showed her internal struggles and resolutions over the previous years. Through the decades, Grant's albums and music showcase development and growth in many ways. Her musical talent matured as well as her spirituality and individuality. This growth and diversity continue to attract listeners.

Selected discography

Amy Grant, Word, 1976.

My Father's Eyes, Word, 1977.

Never Alone, Word, 1978.

Amy Grant in Concert, Word, 1979.

Amy Grant in Concert II, Word, 1980.

Age to Age, Word, 1983.

A Christmas Album, Word, 1983.

Straight Ahead, A&M, 1984.

Unguarded, A&M, 1985.

Amy Grant: The Collection, A&M, 1986.

Lead Me On, A&M, 1988.

Heart in Motion, A&M, 1991.

Home for Christmas, A&M, 1992.

House of Love, A&M, 1994.

Behind the Eyes, A&M, 1997.

LegacyHymns & Faith, Universal, 2002.

Simple Things, A&M, 2003.

Sources

Books

Millard, Robert, Amy Grant, Doubleday, 1986.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal, March 1, 1986; November 25, 1988.

Austin American Statesman, November 5, 1988.

Birmingham News, November 25, 1988.

Christian Herald, September/October 1991.

Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), June 26, 1985.

Focus on the Family Parental Guidance, June 1991.

Grand Rapids Press, October 14, 1984.

Indianapolis Star, October 22, 1988.

Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 2, 1986.

Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1991.

Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), June 14, 1985.

Nashville Banner, July 28, 1989.

News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 16, 1986.

New York Daily News, October 7, 1984.

New York Tribune, July 25, 1989.

People, July 15, 1991.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 9, 1985.

Providence Journal, October 5, 1984.

Saturday Evening Post, November/December 1991.

St. Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch, October 27, 1988.

Tennessean (Nashville, TN), August 3, 1985; December 14, 1986; October 15, 1988.

Today's Christian Woman, May/June 1991.

Tulsa World, March 16, 1986.

Online

"Amy Grant," Christianity Today Website, http://www.christianitytoday.com (March 18, 2004).

"Amy Grant," Dove Awards Website, http://www.doveawards.com (April 25, 2004).

Amy Grant Official Website, http://www.amygrant.com (March 18, 2004).

Recording Academy Grammy Awards, http://www.grammy.com (April 25, 2004).

—Jeanne M. Lesinski and

Sarah Parkin

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"Grant, Amy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Grant, Amy." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/grant-amy-0

Grant, Amy

Amy Grant

Singer, songwriter

Established a Musical Following

Chartered New Territory

Topped the Pop Charts

Selected discography

Sources

A my Grant is one of the first Christian singers to attract the attention of mainstream pop music fans. After gaining prominence in the early 1980s for her gospel songs, her 1985 album Unguarded propelled her into the realm of pop stardom. Grant and her back-up band have appeared in concert throughout the United States, garnering a steady following. Her award-winning albums have sold in the millions and engendered hit singles and videos. Grant has appeared often on talk shows and has been featured on a televised Christmas special.

The youngest of four daughters of a prominent radiologist, Grant was bom in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Nashville, where she and her family attended the local Church of Christ. She did not become particularly interested in music until her teenage years, when she taught herself to play the guitar and began to write songs. She never had a formal music teacher. While attending Harpeth Hall, an exclusive girls prep school, Grant worked part-time at a recording studio, demagnetizing tapes and doing janitorial chores. She used the facilities at hand to make a tape for her parents of her own songs, which she accompanied on guitar. Unknown to Grant, someone at the Texas-based Word Records heard the tape, and she was later approached about recording an album.

Established a Musical Following

Released in 1976 on Word Records Myrrh label, Grants self-named debut album became an immediate bestseller in the field of Christian music. During the following years, the teenage singer tried to balance a recording career with her education. After graduating from Harpeth Hall, she attended Furman University in South Carolina before transferring to Vanderbilt University, where she majored in English. At this stage in her budding career, Grant performed solo in churches to her own guitar accompaniment. Two of her albums culled from concert performances became bestsellers in their field.

The late 1970s and early 1980s marked a period of striking change in both the personal and professional aspects of Grants life. In 1979, she met her future husband, guitarist and songwriter Gary Chapman, who would later become a member of Grants ten-piece touring band. While at Vanderbilt University in 1983, she recorded Age to Age, the first of her albums to see sales figures rise dramatically. With such promising indications of a successful performance career, Grant dropped out of college to become a professional singer.

For the Record

Born c. 1961 in Augusta, GA; daughter of Burton Grant (a radiologist); married Gary Chapman (a singer and songwriter), June 1982; children: Matthew, Millie. Education: Attended Furman University and Vanderbilt University.

Vocalist and recording artist, 1976; has performed in concert throughout the United States and abroad.

Awards: Received four Grammy awards, including one for gospel album of the year, 1983, for Age to Age, and one for female gospel vocalist of the year, 1985, for Unguarded; nominated for four additional Grammy awards, 1992; won five Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.

Addresses: Record company A&M Records, 1416 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Fan club Friends of Amy, P.O. Box 50701, Nashville, TN 37204.

Chartered New Territory

In 1985 Word Records signed a distribution deal with A&M Records to launch various gospel artists. Grant was one of them. With its synthesized sound and upbeat songs expressing subtle Christian lyrics, her album Unguarded received much airplay and sold more than a million copies. When the single Find a Way hit the pop charts, and a duet with Peter Cetera, The Next Time I Fall, topped Billboards pop chart in 1987, Grant garnered criticism from some Christians who thought that in her quest for success, she had lost sight of her spiritual roots. Grant countered by suggesting that her songs need not mention Jesus by name in order to portray the message of love that he taught. Critics generally maintain that in concert, Grant aims to entertain her audience; she does not overtly attempt to convert listeners to Christianity.

At the end of the tour to promote Unguarded, Grant and her entourage needed a rest. Following a three-year recording hiatus, she released the 1988 album Lead Me On, which represents an even further departure from Grants previous efforts. Unlike the upbeat synthesized sound of Unguarded, Lead Me On primarily utilizes acoustic instrumentation, and the songs revolve around somber themes. The album reflects many of Grants concerns during her absence from the concert stage: accusations that she had sold out her faith, the trauma of a miscarriage, a difficult period in her marriage that was overcome through counseling, and the birth of her son, Matthew. Because none of its songs lent themselves readily to radio airplay, the album was largely ignored by radio stations. Nonetheless, Grants following remained loyal.

Topped the Pop Charts

Grant made a distinct attempt to find a place in the pop market with her 1991 release Heart in Motion, which contains songs that contemplate the earthly side of human love. I did that for a few different reasons, she told Chris Willman of the Los Angeles Times. I have invested so much of my time and creative energy [in] writing contemporary Christian songs, and I was really wanting to try something new. To answer her critics in the Christian community she added, It had nothing to do with a loss of faith or change of lifestyle. I think that Christians, no matter where they are, should be the same person whether theyre singing Gospel music or writing and performing a pop album. We just ought to get out there and live life and be true to what we believe, and for those of us that write, just let what we do reflect that.

Fans have had a chance to see Grants latest efforts portrayed on the small screen as well. When her video Baby, Baby aired on MTV, it caused considerable controversy and sparked both positive and negative criticism. While the song was inspired by Millie, the singers daughter, in the video Grant is seen singing romantically to a handsome actornot her husband, with whom Grant has often performed in concert. In spite of the uproar surrounding the release, Heart in Motion brought Grant several 1992 Grammy nominations and a legion of new listeners.

Selected discography

Amy Grant, Word Records, 1976.

My Fathers Eyes, Word Records, 1977.

Never Alone, Word Records, 1978.

Amy Grant in Concert, Word Records, 1979.

Amy Grant in Concert II, Word Records, 1980.

Age to Age, Word Records, 1983.

A Christmas Album, Word Records, 1983.

Straight Ahead, A&M, 1984.

Unguarded, A&M, 1985.

Amy Grant: The Collection, A&M, 1986.

Lead Me On, A&M, 1988.

Heart in Motion, A&M, 1991.

Contemporary Christmas Classics, Word Records.

Animals Christmas, Columbia Records.

Sources

Books

Millard, Robert, Amy Grant, Doubleday, 1986.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal, March 1, 1986; November 25, 1988.

Austin American Statesman, November 5, 1988.

Birmingham News, November 25, 1988.

Christian Herald, September/October 1991.

Commercial Appeal (Memphis), June 26, 1985.

Focus on the Family Parental Guidance, June 1991.

Grand Rapids Press, October 14, 1984.

Indianapolis Star, October 22, 1988.

Los Angeles Herald Examiner, May 2, 1986.

Los Angeles Times, April 16, 1991.

Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), June 14, 1985.

Nashville Banner, July 28, 1989.

News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), March 16, 1986.

New York Daily News, October 7, 1984.

New York Tribune, July 25, 1989.

People, July 15, 1991.

Plain Dealer (Cleveland), August 9, 1985.

Providence Journal, October 5, 1984.

Saturday Evening Post, November/December 1991.

St. Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch, October 27, 1988.

Tennessean (Nashville), August 3, 1985; December 14, 1986; October 15, 1988.

Todays Christian Woman, May/June 1991.

Tulsa World, March 16, 1986.

Jeanne M. Lesinski

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"Grant, Amy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Grant, Amy." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/grant-amy

"Grant, Amy." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/grant-amy

Grant, Amy

AMY GRANT

Born: Augusta, Georgia, 25 November 1960

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Heart in Motion (1991)

Hit songs since 1990: "Baby Baby," "That's What Love Is For," "Every Heartbeat"


One of the most celebrated and influential Christian music artists, Amy Grant added "pop star" to her resume in the 1990s, crossing over to mainstream radio with hits such as "Baby Baby."

Grant released her first record at the age of fifteen. Her soaring vocals and inspiring songs of faith and devotion quickly established her as a leading artist in the Christian music community. Her 1982 album Age to Age sold more than 1 million copies and earned Grant a Grammy Award for Best Female Gospel Performance.

Grant's affinity for pop sounds led to her discovery by mainstream audiences. Her 1985 album Unguarded spawned two crossover pop singles: "Find a Way" and "Wise Up." She also topped the Billboard pop charts in 1986 with "The Next Time I Fall," a duet with Peter Cetera. Sensing Grant's potential for massive mainstream appeal, A&M Records signed Grant to a major distribution deal.

In 1991 Grant released Heart in Motion, her best-selling album and her most controversial. While Heart in Motion continued Grant's foray into pop music, the album was less explicitly Christian, with fewer direct references to Scripture; conservative elements of the Christian music community criticized Grant for "selling out" her faith. The lead single "Baby Baby" was a flashpoint for the controversy. Though the lyrics were generally sweet and wholesome ("Baby, baby / I'm taken with the notion / To love you with the sweetest of devotion / Baby, baby / My tender love will flow from / The bluest sky to the deepest ocean"), the song's promotional video depicted Grant frolicking around with a male modela visual that some of Grant's traditionalist fans refused to accept. Despite the controversy, "Baby Baby" was a major hit and exposed Grant to entirely new pop audiences.

In 1991 and 1992, Grant was omnipresent on pop radio; the follow-up singles"Every Heartbeat," "That's What Love Is For," and "Good for Me"were all Top 10 hits. Grant's singles all flowed from the same basic crossover strategy: light synthesizer-based pop sounds with broadly devotional lyrics that could be interpreted in a spiritual manner by many of her traditional fans while not alienating non-Christian listeners; the serene ballad "That's What Love Is For" typifies this approach, with its celebration of love, spiritual or otherwise: "Sometimes I wonder if we really feel the same / Why we can be unkind / Questioning the strongest of hearts / That's when we must start / Believing in the one thing that has gotten us this far." On the strength of such crossover hits as "That's What Love Is For," Heart in Motion spent fifty-two weeks on the Billboard album charts and sold more than 4 million records.

For the rest of the decade, Grant remained entrenched in the pop scene. House of Love, released in 1994, did not spawn any major hit singles along the lines of "Baby Baby," but it did broaden Grant's mainstream sound; the album included a duet with the country star Vince Gill and a cover of Joni Mitchell's folk-pop classic "Big Yellow Taxi." Behind the Eyes (1997) also registered with pop audiences, debuting at number eight on the Billboard album charts and selling 1 million copies; Behind the Eyes also featured the minor hit "Takes a Little Time," a track that finds Grant delving into bluesy rock.

Grant's tenuous relationship with the Christian music community was further strained in 1999, when she divorced Gary Chapman, her husband of sixteen years, and married her duet partner Gill. Musically, Grant returned to her roots with the release of Legacy . . . Hymns and Faith (2002), a collection of sacred and secular recordings; the album features Gill as an arranger and includes standards such as "My Jesus, I Love Thee."

Though it earned her the enmity of traditionalists, Grant was the first and most successful crossover act from the contemporary Christian music scene.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Amy Grant (Reunion, 1977); My Father's Eyes (Reunion, 1979); Never Alone (Reunion, 1980); Age to Age (Reunion, 1982); Straight Ahead (Reunion, 1984); Unguarded (Reunion, 1985); Lead Me On (A&M, 1988); Heart in Motion (A&M, 1991); Home for Christmas (A&M, 1992); House of Love (A&M, 1994); Behind the Eyes (A&M, 1997); A Christmas to Remember (Interscope, 1999); Legacy . . . Hymns and Faith (Universal, 2002).

scott tribble

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"Grant, Amy." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Grant, Amy." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/grant-amy