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Amy Grant 246

@AmyGrant

About Amy Grant

By the time Amy Grant was nineteen, she was Contemporary Christian music’s most celebrated singer. Grant grew up in the Church of Christ where she sang for God two nights a week. As a teen, she decided to pursue a career in music, writing her first song while attending devotional meetings at her high school.

Grant recorded a demo while working as an intern at a recording studio and the owner was so impressed he signed her to his own label and released her first album Amy Grant in 1977. It spawned three top 10 songs on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart.

The following year, Grant began touring while balancing college studies. Her second album My Father’s Eyes was released in April 1979. At its record release party, she met future first husband gospel singer Gary Chapman. He’d written its title track, and it would become her first of many Christian Songs Chart-toppers. Never Alone, her third album, came out in 1981 It features the #3 Christian Songs hit “Look What Has Happened To Me”.

After two live albums, her 1982 album Age To Age officially made Grant a CCM (Christian Contemporary Music) superstar, becoming the first CCM album ever certified Gold (1983) and Platinum (1985). It was later named Gospel Album Of The Decade in a poll done by Billboard Magazine. After a 1983 holiday album, Grant released Straight Ahead – her first to generate enough initial sales to chart on the Billboard 200.

1985’s Unguarded brought Grant into the mainstream with her top 30 pop crossover “Find A Way”, followed by “Wise Up” which peaked at #66. Her first trip to the top of the Hot 100 would happen the following year with “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera. That same year, Grant and Chapman married. Her 1988 album Lead Me On was a step back in terms of pop crossover success, but still offered four singles that topped the Christian Songs Chart.

Grant’s Grammy-nominated 1991 album Heart In Motion exploded into the mainstream when its lead single “Baby Baby” topped the Hot 100 and “Every Heartbeat” reached #2. “That’s What Love Is For”, “Good For Me” and “I Will Remember You” also cracked the top 20 that year, making her a national pop superstar – a move that bothered some devout Christian fans who called the album “too secular” (it only had a few overtly Christian songs on it). Many Christian radio stations and retaliers spoke out against the album for “crossing over” and stopped airing its songs. As of 2018, Heart In Motion is her only album to chart outside of the US. It has been certified 5x platinum and remains the best-selling Christian Music album of all time.

In late 1993, Grant did a Christmas special with and performed in three concerts with Vince Gill, who was also married at the time. Grant later shared:

I knew from the tips of my toes that he was unlike anybody I had ever met. I was just so overwhelmed by him as a person that I finally came up behind him and wrapped my arms around him and said, ‘I’ve needed to do this all night.’

In 1994, Grant invited Gill to record the duet “House of Love”. Her album of the same name followed that year. Its lead single “Lucky One” and title track became Grant’s final top 40 pop crossover hits. Meanwhile, Grant’s relationship with Gill grew to the point she would note on a legal pad each time she was around him. By the end of the year, Grant reportedly told her husband, “I don’t love you anymore. You’re the biggest mistake I’ve ever made… I’ve given my heart to another man.” Rumors flew over the next few years about infidelity (which they have both denied).

Grant released Behind The Eyes in 1997. That same year, Gill announced he was getting a divorce. She learned of it from a newspaper headline, to which her husband commented he ‘was grateful someone had finally made the first move’. Grant soon divorced Chapman and married Gill in 2000, explaining to The Tennessean that while her relationship with Gill ‘may have hastened the end of her marriage’, she believes ‘the final result was inevitable’. Chapman, however, disagreed, noting “a lot of people just don’t want to believe the obvious”.

Many devout Christian fans were shocked by the divorce, commenting, “Amy did not have one valid biblical reason to divorce her husband,” and “God hates divorce. It’s as simple as that.” Early on, even Grant’s children often made comments to Gill like “You make me sick. Put a shirt on.” and “If you ever hurt my mother, I’m going to kill you.” However, the couple feel the birth of their child Corinna in 2001 helped the family eventually bond.

Since 2002, Grant’s albums have marked a return to more obviously Christian themes. The first of these albums, Legacy… Hymns And Faith, is her last to be certified Gold, but several of the singles from these albums have still shown up in the top 40 of the Christian Songs Chart over the last two decades.

In a manner reminiscent of the 1991 controversy surrounding her biggest album Heart In Motion, Grant’s 2016 holiday album Tennesse Christmas was deemed by some as ‘not Christian enough’ because of its low JPM (aka Jesus-Per-Minute), and therefore it was not stocked at the retailer LifeWay Christian Resources. This prompted Grant’s manager to write an editorial for the Washington Post on the matter:

As “Baby Baby” skyrocketed up the Top 40 pop charts, many Christian radio and retailers decided this pop effort did not deserve their airtime, and many spoke out against Grant for “crossing over,” as if singing about love is at odds with a life of faith … And here we are again, Christmas 2016. Grant has released her first (all new) Christmas record in nearly 20 years, and the debate is on again. “Is it Christian enough for Christian retail to support?” LifeWay Christian Resources, the large Southern Baptist retailer, decided it was not.