Grant: Giving as good as she gets|
She is one of Music City's most celebrated artists, a woman
who, as a teenager 26 years ago, took the Christian music scene by storm. Amy
Grant was the first contemporary Christian artist to have a gold record, and now
has sold nearly 22 million records worldwide. She's won five Grammy awards, 17
Dove awards -- including Artist of the Year four times -- and has
performed everywhere from the White House to The Grand Ole Opry. In the process,
she cemented the mainstream credibility of the Christian music industry it so
Yet it was her private life that made secular headlines.
In the late '90s she had a much-publicized friendship and rumored romance with
country music star Vince Gill. Her marriage to singer-songwriter Gary Chapman,
the father of their three children, was disintegrating. Her subsequent divorce
from Chapman and marriage to the recently divorced Gill sealed her doom with her
Christian fans and she was ostracized by the Christian press. Christian radio
stations stopped playing her music and bookstores stopped selling her albums.
After laying low during those turbulent years, Grant is making
a comeback of sorts with the release of her 18th album, "Simple Things."
She says she's the happiest she's ever been. Her life is full with Gill, her three
children, his one, and a daughter that was born a year after the two singers were
married in 2000.
Grant is active in a number of charities,
including Scholarship America, for which she serves as ambassador and spokeswoman,
and Habitat for Humanity.
How do you choose which causes you'll support and how active you'll be?
Grant: There's always a personal connection. To me, a charity has got to
make sense. There's so much need in the world. I was contacted by Scholarship
America, and I was blown away by the education numbers, people who don't get a
good education because the costs are so astronomical. I have paid for the educations
of several kids over the years, both high school and college, because it is so
Bankrate: Do you
think you've grasped the power that your name brings to a charity or an organization?
That some people are willing to give more money just because you're associated
Amy Grant: I don't
really ever think of it in those terms. But I do know that if it makes a difference,
it's so worth it for me.
Having been a part of the Christian music industry for so long, what was your
impression of it in the beginning and what is it today?
Grant: When I first started, there was this kind of hippie Jesus movement
that made its way from California to Boston, where my sisters were in school.
And they brought it home to me and my family. And it made it to my church, and
I got involved in it. Sort of singing in the window, that kind of thing. Today,
it's a thriving industry, and there are all kinds of styles represented. I think