Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Amy Grant kicked of her career as a teenager and experienced her first real breakthrough with the album “Age to Age” (1982), which became the first Christian music album to be certified platinum. Spawning the No.1 Christian hit singles “Sing Your Praise To The Lord” and “El Shaddai,” the album gave Grant her first Grammy Award and also won three GMA Dove Awards. Grant took home her second Grammy Award for the 1983 EP “Ageless Medley.” The Christian chart topper “Angel,” from the 1984 album “Straight Ahead,” won the singer her third Grammy Award, for Best Gospel Performance. However, Grant did not enjoy significant crossover success until the releases of the platinum album “Unguarded” (1985), which won her next Grammy Award in 1986, and the pop music blockbuster “Heart In Motion” (1991), which produced the popular single “Baby Baby.” Co-written by Grant and Keith Thomas, the song rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became her second single to top the chart (the first was her duet with Peter Cetera, “The Next Time I Fall,” 1986). In between the albums, she released the Grammy winning Gospel/Christian album “Lead Me On” (1988). She won her sixth Grammy Award 17 years later for “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith” (2005), her 11th Christian chart topping album.
In addition to Grammy Awards, Grant has also collected a number of GMA Dove Awards. She was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 19, 2006, and the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007. She became an inductee of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2003. Besides music, Grant is an occasional actress, an author, and a television host.
One of People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1992), Grant has been married twice. She has three children with her first husband, fellow Christian musician Gary Chapman, whom she was married to from June 1982 to June 1999. She married her current husband, Vince Gill, in March 2000. They have one daughter together.
Childhood and Family:
Amy Lee Grant was born on November 25, 1960, in Augusta, Georgia, to Dr. Burton Paine Grant and Gloria Grant. She has three older sisters, Mimi, Kathy, and Carol. When she was a year old, her family briefly moved to Houston, Texas, but then moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Amy grew up in good home and her family was profoundly religious. Amy took piano lessons when she was 10 but later switched to guitar when she attended Ensworth grammar school. She started performing with her guitar at service meetings at the Harpeth Hall School, an all girls private school located in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating, she majored in English at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She transferred to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, before deciding to leave college to focus on her music career. At Vanderbilt, she joined the sorority Kappa Alpha Theta.
On June 19, 1982, Amy married Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Gary Chapman (born on August 19, 1957). The couple had a son, Matthew Garrison Chapman (born on September 25, 1987) and two daughters, Millie Chapman and Sara Cannon Chapman, before divorcing in June 1999. On March 10, 2000, Amy married country singer, songwriter and musician Vince Gill (born on April 12, 1957). They had a daughter they named Corrina Grant Gill on March 12, 2001.
Age to Age
While working as an intern at a recording studio, Amy Grant made a tape of her songs for her parents, which was heard by producer Brown Bannister who then played it for gospel singer Chris Christian. With the help of Christian, the then-16 year old Grant eventually scored a record deal with the gospel label Word Records.
The self titled debut album “Amy Grant” was launched in 1977 with Grant writing most of the songs. Produced by Chris Christian, the album was a success thanks to the Top 10 Christian radio hits “Old Man's Rubble,” “Beautiful Music” and “What A Difference You've Made.” The sophomore effort, “My Father's Eyes,” followed on April 20, 1979, for producer Brown Bannister. The title track, written by future first husband Gary Chapman, rose to No. 1 while the song “Faith Walkin' People,” which was co-written by Grant and Bannister, became her next Top 10 Christian hit. The album earned gold certification in 1987.
While a sophomore at Furman University, Grant released the album “Never Alone” in 1980. Although it was not as popular as it predecessor, the album produced the Top 10 Christian hit song “Look What Has Happened To Me,” which was co-written by Chapman and Bannister. Two live albums followed in 1981. The “Amy Grant in Concert” spawned the Top 10 Christian radio hits “Singing A Love Song” and “Mimi's House.” The album rose to No. 38 on Billboard's Top Contemporary Christian chart in 1995. “In Concert Volume Two” had the songs “You Gave Me Love,” “Nobody Loves Me Like You,” “Fill Me With Your Love” and “I'm Gonna Fly” became Top 10 Christian hits.
After dropping out of college, Grant enjoyed a breakthrough hit with the sixth album “Age to Age,” which rose to No. 1 on the Top Contemporary Christian chart in 1983 and spawned the No. 1 Christian hit singles “Sing Your Praise To The Lord” and “El Shaddai” (both 1982). The album went gold in 1983, making Grant the first Christian solo artist to achieve the position, and was certified platinum in 1985, becoming the first Christian music album to go platinum. It also won Grant a 1983 Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary, and GMA Doves for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Recorded Music Packaging of the Year. The single “El Shaddai” picked up a GMA Dove for Song of the Year.
“Ageless Medley,” an EP that consisted of a medley of “Age to Age” songs, was release in the spring of 1983. It went to the Top 10 on the Christian radio charts and won Grant her next Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance, Female. Later that same year, on September 27, 1983, the holiday album “A Christmas Album” hit the music stores. The album was not as successful as “Age to Age,” but still made the Top 10 of the Top Contemporary Christian charts (#9) and produced the Top 20 Christian hit single “Emmanuel.” It peaked at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Holiday Albums and went gold in 1985 and platinum in 1989. “A Christmas Album” won a 1984 GMA Dove for Recorded Music Packaging of the Year.
The album “Straight Ahead” was released in February 1984. It peaked at No. 1 on the Top Contemporary Christian and stayed in that position for over 60 weeks. The song “Angel” remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Christian Singles chart for 13 weeks and nabbed a 1985 Grammy in the category of Best Gospel Performance. The album also won a GMA Dove for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year. “Straight Ahead” marked Grant's first album to chart on the Billboard 200 when it reached No. 133 in April 1985, just before the album went gold in May of that year.
Grant's success with mainstream audiences was verified with the high energy pop album “Unguarded.” Released on May 15, 1985, under Myrrh/A&M, the album raced up the Billboard Hot 200 and landed at No. 35 and remained a chart topper on the Top Contemporary Christian. The lead single “Find A Way,” which she co-wrote with Michael W. Smith, peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 7 on the Adult Contemporary and No. 1 on the Christian Singles charts. The second single, “Everywhere I Go,” charted on the Adult Contemporary at No. 28 and was the Top 4 hit on the Billboard Christian chart. The follow up single, “Wise Up,” put Grant back on the Billboard Hot 100 when it rose to No. 66 and was also a hit on the Adult Contemporary (#34) and Billboard Christian (#2). The fourth single from the album, “Sharayah” was a major hit on Christian radio (#2). “Unguarded” received gold certification in September 1985 and went platinum in June 1986 and brought Grant a 1986 Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Female, and a 1986 GMA Dove for Recorded Music Packaging of the Year.
After “Unguarded,” Grant released her first compilation album, “The Collection,” on July 22, 1986. It rose to No. 1 on the Top Contemporary Christian and No. 66 on the Billboard 200. The song “Stay for Awhile” rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Christian and No. 18 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Later that same year, Grant enjoyed her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with the popular duet “The Next Time I Fall,” which she sung with Peter Cetera. The song was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. The year also saw her record a duet with singer Randy Stonehill called “I Could Never Say Goodbye” and record “The Animals' Christmas” with Art Garfunkel.
Grant's studio album “Lead Me On” was released on June 28, 1988. It was a No. 1 hit on the Top Contemporary Christian and reached No. 71 on the Billboard 200. It generated Christian No. 1 hit singles with “Saved by Love,” “Lead Me On” and “What About The Love.” The first and second songs rose to No. 96 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 32 on the Adult Contemporary, respectively. The third single, “1974,” rose to No. 34 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The album won Grant a 1989 Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Female and GMA Doves for Pop/Contemporary Album Of The Year and Short Form Music Video Of The Year.
Grant gained huge success in the pop music scene with “Heart In Motion,” which hit the music stores on March 5, 1991, and subsequently rose to the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. It peaked at No. 1 on Top Contemporary Christian chart and also charted in the U.K. The lead single, “Baby Baby,” scorched through the Billboard 100 charts and landed at No. 1. The track also rose to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and the Top 10 in several other countries, including the U.K. (#2), Sweden (#5), Australian (#5) and Norway (#6). It was nominated for Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. The second single, “Hope Set High,” was a No. 1 Christian radio hit. Grant had her next mainstream radio hit with the third single “Every Heartbeat,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary. The forth track, “That's What Love Is For,” rose to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The follow ups “Good For Me” and “I Will Remember You” (both released in 1992) rose on the Adult Contemporary chart to No. 4 and No.2, respectively, and peaked at No. 8 and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, respectively. A blockbuster hit, “Heart In Motion” has been certified 5 times platinum by RIAA for sales of more than five million pieces and has become the best selling Christian music album ever released. The album was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year.
On October 6, 1992, Grant released the holiday album “Home for Christmas.” It rose to No. 1 on the Top Holiday Albums and the Top Contemporary Christian charts and performed even better than its predecessor on the Billboard 200. After the compilation album “Songs From the Loft” (1993), Grant released the album “House of Love” on August 16, 1994. Produced by Michael Omartian and Keith Thomas, the album topped the Contemporary Christian chart and rose to No. 13 on the Billboard 200. It generated several hits, including “The House of Love” (#5 on the Adult Contemporary, #37 on the Billboard Hot 100), “Lucky One” (#2 on the Adult Contemporary, #18 on the Billboard Hot 100) and the Christian No. 1 hits “Children Of The World” and “Helping Hand.”
After a three year absence, Grant returned to her studio for the album “Behind the Eyes.” Released near the end of her marriage to Chapman, on September 9, 1997, the album went to No. 8 on the Billboard 200 and No. 8 on the Top Contemporary Christian chart. The singles “Takes A Little Time” (1997), “I Will Be Your Friend” and “Like I Love You” (both 1998) all charted on the Adult Contemporary at No. 4, 24 and 10, respectively, with the first single also rising to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Behind the Eyes” won a 1998 GMA Dove for Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year. Grant closed out the decade with the release of the holiday album “A Christmas to Remember,” with the Patrick Williams Orchestra, on October 19, 1999. It went to No. 1 on the Top Contemporary Christian, No. 3 on Top Holiday Albums and No. 36 on The Billboard 200 and earned gold certification in 2000.
Back to her gospel music roots, Grant launched “Legacy... Hymns and Faith” on May 21, 2002, her first true religious album since 1988's “Lead Me On.” It topped the Contemporary Christian and reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200. The album won a GMA Dove for Inspirational Album of the Year and the track “The River's Gonna Keep On Rolling” won for Country Recorded Song of the Year at the same gala.
On August 19, 2003, Grant released the pop album “Simple Things.” It peaked at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart and No. 23 on the Billboard 200. The title track “Simple Things” rose to No. 7 on the U.S. Christian chart and No. 23 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Following the compilation album “Greatest Hits 1986–2004” (2004), she launched “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith,” a sequel to her hymn collection, on May 3, 2005. While a No. 1 hit on the Top Christian Albums, the album only rose to No. 42 on the Billboard 200. However, it managed to bring Grant a 2006 Grammy for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album, her first win since 1989. It also picked up a 2006 GMA Dove for Inspirational Album of the Year.
Since “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith,” Grant has released the compilations albums “My Best Christmas” (2005), “Greatest Hits” (2007, # 8 on the Top Christian Albums and #11 on the Top Christian & Gospel Albums) and “The Christmas Collection” (2008, #2 on the Top Christian Albums and the Top Christian and Gospel Albums and #5 on the Top Holiday Albums) as well as the live album “Time Again...Amy Grant Live” (2006, #6 on the Top Christian Albums).
Apart from music, Grant is also an occasional actress. Making her debut in the 1984 TV special “Story, Songs and Stars,” alongside Tom Wopat and Paul Williams, she returned after many years with a voice role on the made for TV film “Snowden on Ice” (1997). Two years later, she starred as Maryann Lowery in the CBS television movie “A Song from the Heart” (1999), opposite D.W. Moffett. She then provided the voice of Jenny in a series of Ray Nelson's animated shorts called “On the Farm: Cocka Doodle Doo the Right Thing” (2004), “On the Farm: A Friend Planting Seeds is a Friend Indeed” (2004), “On the Farm: The Prodigal Pig” (2006) and “Lost: A Sheep Story” (2006). She also served as the narrator on “One Symphony Place: A World Premiere Live from Music City” (2006) and “Gershwin at One Symphony Place” (2008) and emerged as a TV host in 2005 when she was hired to host the NBC reality TV special “Three Wishes.” She also hosted the music special “An Evening with Amy Grant, Featuring the Nashville Symphony” (2007).
Grant has written several books. She released “Amy Grant's Heart to Heart Bible Stories” in 1985, “Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)” in 2001, and a memoir called “Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far” in 2007.
Grammy: Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album, “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith,” 2006
GMA Dove: Inspirational Album of the Year, “Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith,” 2006
GMA Dove: Inspirational Album of the Year, “Legacy... Hymns and Faith,” 2003
GMA Dove: Country Recorded Song of the Year, “The River's Gonna Keep On Rolling” 2003
GMA Dove: Pop/Contemporary Album Of The Year, “Behind the Eyes,” 1998
Grammy: Best Gospel Performance, Female, “Lead Me On,” 1989
GMA Dove: Pop/Contemporary Album Of The Year and Short Form Music Video Of The Year, “Lead Me On,” 1989
Grammy: Best Gospel Performance, Female “Unguarded,” 1986
GMA Dove: Recorded Music Packaging of the Year, 1986
Grammy: Best Gospel Performance, “Angels,” 1985
GMA Dove: Pop/Contemporary Album Of The Year, “Straight Ahead,” 1985
GMA Dove: Recorded Music Packaging Of The Year, “A Christmas Album,” 1984
Grammy: Best Gospel Performance, Female, “Ageless Medley,” 1984
Grammy: Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary, “Age to Age,” 1983
GMA Dove: Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year and Recorded Music Packaging of the Year, “Age to Age,” 1983
GMA Dove: Song of the Year, “El Shaddai,” 1983