Quick facts about Amy Grant
PLACE OF ORIGIN
Amy Grant Sweet Sixteen
Life has been a whirlwind for hit Christian musician Amy Grant. Born in Augusta, Georgia on November 25, 1950, life seemed normal growing up. At age 15, success sprung upon her, tipping the trajectory of her life upside down. In 1976, Grant released her debut track Mountain Top which, through a demo won her a recording contract for Word Records, before she was 16 years old. Her self-titled debut album was recorded and released in 1977, just four weeks before her high school graduation.
She went on to study at Furman University, during which time she began performing concerts across Nashville. In the middle of 1979, she released her second studio album My Father’s Eyes. It was at the release part for this album that she met her first husband Gary Chapman, who she married in 1982. Grant continued to release albums during her time at university and eventually dropped out to fully pursue a career as a Christian musician. Also during this time, Grant developed her quirky trademark habit of removing her shoes to play live, citing that, “it’s just more comfortable.”
Christian Musician of the Century
Grant experienced her first taste of award ceremony success with the release of her 1982 album Age to Age. In 2001, RIAA would award the single from the album, El Shaddai, the Song of the Century. The success of Age to Age saw Grant take home a Grammy alongside two GMA Dove Awards. Grant had achieved an incredible record with this release, making Age to Age the first certified gold album by a Christian musician in 1983, and the first certified platinum album by a Christian musician in 1985. In the mid-80’s, grant began her creative relationship with up and coming Christian musician Michael W. Smith, a bond which continues to this day.
" It's human nature to be curious about people, and to be more curious about young people than old people. We want to cheer something on at the same time we want to tear it down. That's just so normal"
From Ministry to Mainstream
The gears of Grant’s career shifted in 1985 when she set out to be the first Christian musician to see success in the mainstream pop scene. The release of her album Unguarded saw this dream come to fruition. She continued to experiment with her widened audience in her next album Lead Me On. In 1991, Christian fans of Grant frowned upon her efforts to crack the mainstream due to toeing the line of what many still considered ‘ministry’ at the time. Most notably from the album, her single Baby Baby, written about her daughter Millie, hit the Billboard 100 at #1. Four other hits from the album made top 20 in the pop charts. Grant continued in the pop scene, creating hit after hit and collaborating with many popular names in the industry, including 1-cc, Jessica Simpson, and Gladys Knight. During this period, she signed with Interscope Records.
Coming Home to Hymns
Grant eventually returned to her country gospel roots in 2002, releasing an album of hymns. Soon after, in 2003, with the release of Simple Things, Grant parted ways with Interscope and Word to sign with EMI records where she re-recorded her albums as remastered releases. In 2008, she was one of many devastated musicians to witness their recording material go up in flames due to the fire at Universal Studios. Grant returned to the music scene in 2010 to release her 20th album How Mercy Looks from Here. Her latest release was a Christmas album in 2016 entitled Tennessee Christmas, which was welcomed by both Christian and non-Christian fans.
The Maelstrom of Marriage and Media
In the maelstrom that was Grant’s career as an artist, she also saw her personal life become difficult. Her marriage to Gary Chapman was an unhappy one, with Grant finally breaking things off in March 1999. In the divorce, she described the reason for splitting as ‘irreconcilable differences’. Just one year later, she married legendary country musician, Vince Gill. Grant and Gill have one daughter with each other, Corrina, who was born in 2001. Grant’s divorce and remarriage was a public spectacle for all to see and caused her public perception, particularly as a musician in the Christian sphere, to diminish somewhat. The public commentators would describe her as broken, foul-mouthed, and too mainstream for ministry. Many marked her as too sexy and worldly to be a faithful Jesus follower. However Grant is viewed as a musician or a Christian, what can’t be denied is the success of her 21 studio album releases and countless awards both in Christian and mainstream music. Grant really is, the artist of the century.