Affectionately referred to as “The Queen of Christian Pop,” it’s impossible to mention Christian music—and its impact on culture—without making reference to Amy Grant.
As the best-selling contemporary Christian singer of all time with more than 30 million units sold, Amy has been given a star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as being the first Christian artist ever to achieve a Platinum album (Heart in Motion, 1991). Amy also had a mainstream pop hit that was a #1 single, “Baby Baby,” which was written as a dedication to her daughter Millie.
Amy started her career at the tender age of 16, as she scored a record deal with a song she made for her parents that was played for a music industry executive over the phone. While writing the majority of the songs for her self-titled debut, Amy was still a college student—first at Furman University, and later, Vanderbilt. She eventually left college to focus more on music after making a few more albums, including 1979’s My Father’s Eyes.
Amy won her first Grammy for breakthrough album Age to Age in 1982, where she was accompanied with Michael W. Smith on keyboards during her tour following the album release. Her music eventually took a more progressive direction with 1985’s Unguarded, which featured mainstream pop singles “Find a Way” and “Love of Another Kind” alongside more faith-oriented songs “Wise Up” and “Prodigal.”
Amy’s decision to appeal to a broader audience certainly came with its critics. Not only was the leopard print coat she was sporting on the album’s cover deemed “too sexy” by some fans, but her message was occasionally considered “watered down.”
Amy wasn’t deterred by the criticism from Unguarded, however, and for the past 25 years has continued to make music that appeals to a broad range of listeners, as well as display her authenticity in singing about God, faith and everyday life. This is most evident in her latest single, “Better Than a Hallelujah.” The song showcases the "honest cries of breaking hearts," ranging from soldiers, drunkards, and mothers.
The singer is gearing up to release her first full length album in ten years, How Mercy Looks From Here (May 14, 2013), which includes the song "Don't Try So Hard," with James Taylor. “I’ve loved his voice forever,” Amy explains. “I said, ‘I hear James Taylor on these lines and I’d love to ask him if he’d sing on this.’ He worked from home and he really spent some time stylizing it. He sent me a really sweet email after wards saying that he’d 'spent the last several days with my voice in his head and hoped I was pleased.'”
The upcoming album features lots of musical guests including: Sheryl Crow, Carol King, and Vince Gill. How Mercy Looks From Here represents a season of growth for Amy both artistically and spiritually. “At some point in life you realize that some things really matter and some things don’t,” she says. “Living matters. Celebrating life matters. Seeing the value in hard times matters. Relationships and people matter. Faith matters. I feel like that’s where my head has been while writing and recording this project. I feel this is a very positive record. I hope it is life affirming. Life prepares us for the journey. You don’t know what’s ahead and that is one of the great things about getting older in a framework of faith. Faith is the one thing that stands the test of time.”