Grant, Amy 1960–

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Grant, Amy 1960–

(Amy Lee Grant)

PERSONAL: Born November 25, 1960, in Augusta, GA; daughter of Burton Paine (a radiologist) and Gloria Grant; married Gary Chapman (a songwriter), June 19, 1982 (divorced, June, 1999); married Vince Gill (a country singer), March 10, 2000; children: (first marriage) Matthew Garrison, Gloria Mills, Sarah Cannon; (second marriage) Corrina Grant. Education: Attended Furman University and Vanderbilt University.

ADDRESSES: Office—P.O. Box 25330, Nashville, TN 37203. Agent—Creative Artists Agency, 3310 West End Ave., 5th Fl., Nashville, TN 37203.

CAREER: Singer, songwriter, and actress. Appeared in films, including Story, Songs and Stars, 1984; (as herself) A Moment in Time, World Entertainment, 1988; (as Carol) The Illusion, 2001; and (as sister of Freya No. 4) Yorick, 2002. Appeared as Maryann Lowery in television movie A Song from the Heart (also known as Music from the Heart), 1999. Appeared in television specials (as herself unless otherwise noted), including The Patti LaBelle Show, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1985; Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1985; Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 1986; Amy Grant … Headin' Home for the Holidays, NBC, 1986; An All-Star Celebration Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., NBC, 1986; ABC Presents a Royal Gala, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1988; Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade, ABC, 1990; (as narrator) The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat, Showtime, 1990; The Dream Is Alive: The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1991; Hats off to Minnie Pearl: America Honors Minnie Pearl, The National Network (TNN; now Spike TV), 1992; Picture What Women Do, Lifetime, 1994; Christmas at Home with the Stars, ABC, 1994; Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King, Lifetime, 1995; A Sam's Place Christmas, TNN (now Spike TV), 1995; Kathie Lee: Just in Time for Christmas, CBS, 1996; Death in Malibu: The Murder of Music Mogul Charlie Minor—The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 1997; (as voice) Snowden on Ice, CBS, 1997; Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope, ABC, 1998; When You Believe: Music from "The Prince of Egypt," NBC, 1998; (and executive producer) Amy Grant … A Christmas to Remember, 1999; and Women Rock! Girls & Guitars, Lifetime, 2000. Appeared at awards presentations, including American Music Awards, ABC, 1986; 20th-Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1986; 34th-Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1992; American Music Awards, ABC, 1993; 24th-Annual Dove Awards, The Family Channel, 1993; 25th-Annual Dove Awards, The Family Channel, 1994; American Music Awards, ABC, 1995; 26th-Annual Dove Awards, The Family Channel, 1995; 30th-Annual Country Music Association Awards, CBS, 1996; and TNN Music City News Country Awards, TNN, 1997. Guest star on television programs, including Late Show with David Letterman, 1994, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, 2001; The View, 2002; and Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 2002. Appeared as herself, Talk of the Town; guest host, CCM-TV, 1995.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grammy Award for best female gospel performance, contemporary, 1982 for Age to Age; Grammy Award for best gospel performance, female, 1983, for "Ageless Melody"; Grammy Award for best gospel performance, female, 1984, for "Angels"; Grammy Award for best gospel performance, female, 1985, for "Find a Way"; Grammy Award for best gospel performance, female, for Lead Me On; Dove Awards, Gospel Music Association, 1992, for artist of the year, and for best song for "Place in This World."

WRITINGS:

AUTHOR OF LYRICS, WITH OTHERS; RECORDINGS

Amy Grant, Myrrh/World, 1977.

Fathers Eyes, Myrrh/World, 1979.

Never Alone, Myrrh/World, 1980.

In Concert, Myrrh/World, 1981.

Age to Age, Myrrh/World, 1982.

A Christmas Album, Myrrh/World, 1983.

Straight Ahead, Myrrh/World, 1984.

Unguarded, Myrrh/World, 1985.

The Collection, Myrrh/World, 1986.

Lead Me On, Myrrh/World, 1988.

Heart in Motion, Myrrh/World, 1991.

Home for Christmas, Myrrh/World, 1992.

House of Love, Myrrh/World, 1994.

Behind the Eyes, Myrrh/World, 1997.

A Christmas to Remember, Myrrh/World, 1999.

Legacy … Hymns & Faith, Word (Nashville, TN), 2002.

Simple Things, A&M, 2003.

Also released In Concert, Volume 2. Songs have been collected on recordings, including Traveling Light, 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Amy Grant was one of the first genuine stars of the world of Christian contemporary music, and she was also one of the first Christian rockers to cross over and find mainstream success. As a teenager in Tennessee, Grant composed and sang youth-oriented praise and worship songs for her church's services. Then at age fifteen she took a job sweeping the floors and doing other menial work in a recording studio, which gave her the opportunity to use the studio to record a tape of her songs as a present to her parents. Unbeknownst to Grant, someone from the studio sent the tape to Word Records, one of the major distributors of Christian contemporary music, and Word was so impressed that they signed her.

Her debut album, Amy Grant, was released when she was sixteen, but it was not until five years later, with the release of Age to Age, that Grant suddenly found herself to be a star. Age to Age was the first Christian contemporary album to go platinum, and Grant's performance at the Grammy Awards that year, dressed in a sexy leopard-print jacket, brought her to the attention of listeners outside the Christian niche. Grant is "better than pretty much anyone else out there at crafting empathetic pop songs that [are] simultaneously personal and universal," Rich Copley wrote in a Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service article, citing a fact that quickly endeared Grant to a less-religious audience.

Although Grant had started out with an explicitly Christian message and simple, guitar-based arrangements, as she became more successful she acquired a back-up band, wrote lyrics where the words "God" and "Jesus" are not always used. She also took on more of the trappings of the pop stars with whom she was competing. As People contributor Ralph Novak wrote in a review of her 1985 album Unguarded, "she has made a smooth transition from rock-tinged gospel to gospel-tinged rock." To Grant, this merely reflected a maturation of her musical style and a chance to communicate a loving message to people who would not necessarily listen to music that was overtly Christian. "I'm not going to throw it in your face, but if you're searching, my songs will really say something to you," Grant told U.S. News & World Report interviewer Adam Paul Weisman. However, her religious critics began to accuse her of selling out. Their criticisms became particularly sharp after the release of Grant's 1991 single "Baby Baby," a song which Grant originally wrote for her infant daughter but which could be interpreted as a secular romantic love song, as it was in its music video.

Grant's musical maturation continued into the 1990s, when she began to write music that was less upbeat and inspirational, more personal and introspective. Behind the Eyes, her 1997 release, was a completely new thing in Grant's oeuvre: the album does not contain a single explicitly Christian reference. The songs are still spiritual, and in interviews around the times of the album's release Grant was adamant in declaring that she was still a Christian, but she herself could not say if Behind the Eyes was a "Christian album" or not. "Being able to label it Christian or non-Christian is not the point for me," she said to William D. Romanowski of Christianity Today. "The point was to make available the songs I wrote between 1995 and 1997, and to let them find their own audience."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, centennial edition, Schirmer (New York, NY), 2001.

Contemporary Musicians, Volume 7, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.

Contemporary Newsmakers 1985, issue cumulation, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1986.

Religious Leaders of America, second edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.

St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.

PERIODICALS

Amusement Business, December 1, 1997, Cindy Stooksbury Guier, "Amy Grant Taking Holiday Show on the Road for Nineteen-City Tour," pp. 7-8.

Billboard, April 27, 1991, Sean Ross, review of "Baby Baby," pp. 10-11; April 25, 1992, Lisa Collins, "Amy Grant Lands Dove's Top Honor," pp. 10-11; July 30, 1994, Deborah Russell, review of House of Love, pp. 1-2; August 9, 1997, Deborah Evans Price, interview with Grant, pp. 12-14; June 12, 1999, Deborah Evans Price, review of "El Shaddai," p. 45; March 31, 2001, Rashaun Hall, review of "Thy Word," p. 35.

Booklist, January 15, 1994, Candace Smith, review of The Creation, pp. 943-944.

Business Wire, February 19, 2002, review of Legacy … Hymns & Faith, p. 2705.

Christianity Today, December 8, 1997, William D. Romanowski, review of Behind the Eyes, pp. 44-45.

Entertainment Weekly, August 26, 1994, David Hiltbrand, review of House of Love, p. 112; September 19, 1997, Joseph Woodard, review of Behind the Eyes, p. 84.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, August 18, 2003, Rich Copley, review of Simple Things, p. K3207.

Life, November, 1984, Curt Sanburn, "Amy's World," pp. 186-190.

National Catholic Reporter, December 24, 1999, Robin Taylor, reviews of A Christmas Album, Home for Christmas, and A Christmas to Remember, p. 6.

People, April 18, 1983, Dolly Carlisle, interview with Grant, pp. 106-107; June 24, 1985, Ralph Novak, review of Unguarded, p. 20; July 18, 1988, Ralph Novak, review of Lead Me On, p. 23; July 15, 1991, Cynthia Sanz, "Saint Amy Gets Sexy: Pop Goes Christian Music's Amy Grant, with a Secular Single and a Racier Image," pp. 71-72; August 29, 1997, Jeremy Helligar, review of House of Love, p. 25; September 15, 1997, Jeremy Helligar, interview with Grant, p. 34; January 18, 1999, "Baby Baby Goodbye," p. 107; November 29, 1999, "Finally a Duet: After Painful Divorces, and Years of Speculation, Vince Gill and Amy Grant Confess They Are in Love," p. 133; March 27, 2000, "Perfect Harmony: With Little Pomp but Just the Right Notes, Vince Gill and Amy Grant Say 'I Do,'" p. 57; March 26, 2001, "In Perfect Harmony: Days after Their First Anniversary, Vince Gill and Amy Grant Welcome a Baby," p. 129; June 24, 2002, review of Legacy … Hymns & Faith, p. 35; August 25, 2003, review of Simple Things, p. 37; September 1, 2003, Steve Dougherty, interview with Grant, p. 75.

Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1993, review of The Creation, p. 36.

Saturday Evening Post, November-December, 1991, Patrick M. Connolly, "Amy Grant: Charting a New Course," pp. 39-42.

Sojourners, May-June, 2002, review of Traveling Light, p. 51.

Total Health, February, 1989, "Amy Grant: Total Health Celebrity," pp. 22-23.

USA Today, August 18, 2003, Brian Mansfield, interview with Grant.

US News & World Report, August 25, 1986, Adam Paul Weisman, "Gospel Music Rolls out of the Church, onto the Charts," p. 56.

ONLINE

Amy Grant Home Page, http://www.amygrant.com (August 27, 2003).

Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (August 27, 2003), "Amy Grant."

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