Who Is Amy Grant?
Amy Grant's first album was released in 1977 on the Christian label, Word Music, and Grant left college to pursue her career. Her second album won a Grammy for its blend of gospel and pop. Her crossover was complete with the 1991 album Heart in Motion which reached number one on the Billboard pop chart. Grant is married to country star Vince Gill.
Amy Grant was born on November 25, 1960, in Augusta, Georgia. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, in a close-knit, religious family. It was in church that Grant was exposed to the hymns and Christian stories that would influence her work.
As a teenager, Grant taught herself how to play guitar and worked part-time at a recording studio. She made a tape of her music for her parents, which had been discovered by a producer with Word Records, a Christian music label. This led to a recording contract, and her first album was released in 1977. The self-titled album was a big success in the world of Christian music. With her unique style, Grant charted new territory. She fused elements of existing genres of gospel, hymns, and Jesus music—which used rock music to convey Christian teachings—to create a fresh, new sound, not heard before. Her songs are often deeply personal as well as reflecting her spiritual faith.
Grant continued recording and performing throughout high school and college. After a couple of years at Furman University, she transferred but eventually dropped out of Vanderbilt University to pursue her career full-time. Grant met songwriter Gary Chapman while making My Father’s Eyes (1979) and he joined her on tour as her opening act for the album Never Alone (1980). The couple married in 1982. That same year, she released Age to Age, which received numerous critical accolades. It won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance—Grant’s first. She also earned several Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA), including for Performer of the Year.
With the 1985 album Unguarded, Grant’s sound began changing. Much of her music had a soft rock element to it, but this release sounded even more like a mainstream pop record. In fact, Grant had her first crossover success on the pop charts with the track “Find a Way.” She even had a music video for the song playing on MTV. But not everyone appreciated her new success. The lyrics on the album had few directly religious references, which upset some in the Christian music community.
Grant found more mainstream success with the album Heart in Motion (1991), which featured the song “Baby, Baby.” It reached number one on the Billboard’s pop chart. Grant found inspiration for the song in the birth of her first daughter, but the video for the song portrayed it as a romantic tune. The video and the album created a stir with some of Grant’s gospel fans and critics. They claimed that she was again abandoning her gospel roots for pop stardom.
On her next release, House of Love (1994), Grant sang some love songs as well as songs reflecting her devotion to God. The album featured a duet with Vince Gill, a top country music performer, on the title track, which scored on the pop and adult contemporary charts. A cover of the Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” and her composition “Lucky One” also found chart success.
Grant went through a time of personal upheaval in the late 1990s. Her pain was apparent on 1997’s Behind the Eyes. The usually upbeat Grant seemed more maudlin this time around on such tracks as “Cry a River,” “Missing You” and “The Feeling I Had.” Not long after this album, news of Grant’s impending divorce from her husband of 16 years broke.
Grant ended the 1990s by branching out professionally, acting in the 1999 television movie A Song from the Heart, in which she played a blind music teacher. She also made other changes in her life around this time. She married Vince Gill in 2000, and a year later, the couple had a daughter together named Corrina Grant Gill. Corrina is Grant’s fourth child; she has three children from her first marriage: Matthew Garrison, Gloria Mills “Millie” and Sarah Cannon. Since marrying, Grant and Gill have continued to work together on a number of projects. Gill acted as a producer on her 2002 Legacy . . . Hymns & Faith album and the couple sang a duet entitled “Beautiful” on 2003’s Simple Things.
During her long career, Grant has won numerous awards, including 6 Grammy Awards and more than 20 Dove Awards. Her most recent Grammy win was for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album for Rock of Ages . . . Hymns & Faith (2005). This same recording won the Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year in 2006.
Health Scare and Surgery
In June 2020, Grant had open-heart surgery to fix a condition called partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR), which she's had since birth. "The only way I can explain my experience would be to ask you to imagine a non-runner who was signed up for a marathon. I didn’t want it, but I had to have it anyway," she wrote on Instagram.
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