iThere’s nothing like life experience to provide a deeper, richer emotional palette for a songwriter to draw from when crafting new music. For Amy Grant, it’s been 10 years since her last full studio album and it’s been a decade marked by soul-shaking milestones. As she’s always done, Grant has embraced both the triumphs and challenges, distilled them to their essence and poured the lessons learned into songs that ache with honesty and reverberate with gentle wisdom.
How Mercy Looks From Here is the soundtrack of a life well-lived. “A lot of major life changes happened during these past few years.” Grant says. “So on this record, there’s zero filler. Every song has a real story behind it.”
In telling those stories, Grant recruited an impressive array of friends and heroes, including James Taylor, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Eric Paslay, and Will Hoge. Working with producer Marshall Altman (Natasha Bedingfield, Matt Nathanson), Grant has delivered a vibrant collection of songs that are entertaining and substantive, and it wasn’t by accident. Inspired by a conversation with her ailing mother, Grant approached this album as a woman on a mission.
“A conversation I had with my mother a couple of months before she died helped set the direction for this record,” says Grant, whose mother passed away in April 2011. “Mom had a lifelong curiosity that kept her young at heart even when her mind was failing. One night, when I stopped by to visit her on my way to my bus to drive to a concert, she was surprised to discover that I was a singer ‘Oh you sing?’ she asked. I said, ‘Yes ma’am. I sing,’ She asked, ‘What kind of songs do you sing?’ I was explaining what I sang to her and she asked if she could get on the bus and go with me. She was frail and clearly wearing out and I said, ‘Not this time.’ She said, ‘Well if I can’t go, do me a favor. When you get on stage, sing something that matters.’”
That simple, profound bit of advice took root and became Grant’s mantra for this new record. “My plan is to dedicate this record to my mom,” she says. “And that’s how I describe it, it’s not all serious. It’s not all silly. It’s just things that matter.”
Grant has built a long, successful career on music that matters. Ever since she burst on the scene as a fresh-faced teenager bringing contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture, the Nashville native gained a reputation for creating potent songs that examined life’s complexities with an open heart and keen eye. She became the first artist in Christian music to have a platinum record and went on to become a crossover sensation, her musical gifts transcending genre boundaries to make her a household name. She’s earned six Grammy Awards and numerous Gospel Music Association Dove Awards as well as three multi-platinum albums, six platinum albums and four gold albums. She’s achieved 10 Top 40 pop singles and placed 17 hits on the Top 40 Adult Contemporary chart as well as scoring numerous hits on the contemporary Christian charts. A longtime and active Nashville resident, Grant is as well known for her philanthropy as her music. She and husband, Vince Gill, are tireless in their efforts to aid worthy causes.