Amy Grant PhotoBORN: November 25, 1960, Augusta, GA

Amy Grant is not only one of the most influential singers in contemporary Christian music, but also a successful pop star. She was born in Nashville, the youngest of four children, and released her self-titled debut album at age 15 after signing with Myrrh/Word Records in 1979. In 1982, she married singer/songwriter Gary Chapman, who was to become her co-writer by the late 1980s. Grant became a bonafide gospel star in 1982 following the release of her acclaimed album Age to Age, which won her a Grammy for Best Female Gospel Performance and three Dove Awards, including Artist of the Year.

In 1984, she released a Christmas album and Straight Ahead, the latter winning Grant another Dove award; the cut "Angels," which she co-wrote, won her another Grammy. In 1985, Age to Age was certified platinum, and her other two albums went gold. Her 1985 album, Unguarded, soon followed suit and again won her a Grammy. Grant caused an uproar amongst her loyal gospel audience with this album, which sported two successful pop crossover singles, "Find a Way" and "Wise Up." A year later, she made it to number one on the pop charts with "The Next Time I Fall," a duet with Peter Cetera.

Throughout the '80s Grant's success continued, as her albums went gold and platinum and won awards. She signed to A&M in 1990 and began focusing less on her squeaky-clean gospel singer persona, trying to project a more contemporary, sexy (albeit in a wholesome way) pop image. In 1991, she had three big hit singles on the pop charts: the number one "Baby Baby," "Every Heartbeat," and "That's What Love Is For." By the end of the year, the album had gone double platinum and continued to be a big seller. Grant frequently donates her time to several humanitarian efforts and has received honors from the American Cancer Society, the State of Tennessee, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, and St. John's University, which gave her its Pax Christi Award.

Released in 1994, House of Love followed up on the success of Heart in Motion with another round of wholesome pop, including the hit title duet with Vince Gill. But things took a more introspective turn with 1997's Behind the Eyes. The album's somber lyrics and spare arrangements were a noticeable departure from the lighthearted pop of her two previous records. But it was an important record, as it presaged her 1999 divorce from Gary Chapman, her husband of 16 years and father of her three children.

When the divorce was announced publicly, and it was revealed that Grant intended to marry longtime collaborator Gill, many in the Christian community were again up in arms over Grant's actions. Controversy ensued. Christian radio stations refused to play her songs; some Christian retail outlets pulled her albums. Nevertheless, on March 10, 2000, Grant married Gill in Nashville, and the two united their families. Their daughter Corrina was born a year later.

Recording-wise, the late '90s and early '00s found Grant performing Christmas music for a variety of venues. She released A Christmas to Remember, a collection of contemporary holiday music, in 1999, and hosted a prime time TV special based around the album's themes. The gospel album A Special Wish followed in 2001, leading up to the spring 2002 release of Legacy...Hymns and Faith. A landmark recording, Legacy was a tasteful look back at the music that both influenced and guided Grant throughout her 25 years as a performer. A new album, tentatively titled Simple Things, was scheduled for an August 2003 release. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Music Guide

Photography By: Victoria Pearson