Amy Grant Feels ‘Nothing But Gratitude’ for Blockbuster ‘Heart in Motion’ Album, 30 Years Later; Six-time Grammy-winning Singer Discusses Her Career, Surviving Open-Heart Surgery and Pandemic Lessons in Interview with Billboard

Cameron Powell*
Amy Grant

A 30th-anniversary re-release including previously unreleased tracks & updated remixes is out Friday.

If they’re lucky, every artist has an album that is a game-changer — a body of work that propels their career to a new level. For Amy Grant, that album was Heart in Motion. The six-time Grammy winner is celebrating the 30th anniversary of that iconic album with a special double-disc out Friday via Capitol Christian Music Group that features previously unreleased tracks and updated remixes.

Sitting in the kitchen of her Nashville home, Grant — who had open heart surgery last year — doesn’t look old enough to be celebrating such a milestone. But then, throughout her career, Grant has maintained the same youthful glow she had when she began as a guitar-wielding, songwriting teen looking to follow in the footsteps of influences like Joni MitchellJames Taylor and Carole King.

Born in Augusta, Ga., Grant grew up in Nashville and scored a record deal at 15 with Word Records, soon becoming one of the burgeoning contemporary Christian music scene’s top artists. “My senior year in [college] when everybody was applying for real jobs, I was just releasing a record called Age to Age. Up to that point, I just couldn’t believe that a hobby that I loved so much was generating enough work and income where I thought, ‘This is a real job,’” Grant recalls. “But as far as thinking I arrived, I think no matter how much you love doing something, there’s a little part of every creative person that goes, ‘I feel like I have pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes my whole life.’”

Grant, who has won 26 Dove Awards, is credited with putting Christian music on the map as the first contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first to perform at the Grammys.

When she donned a leopard-print blazer on the cover of 1985’s Unguarded album and scored her first pop hit “Find a Way,” Grant’s move into mainstream music brought criticism from fans who felt she should stick to Christian music. Grant followed with 1988’s Lead Me On, which has been dubbed by CCM magazine as the greatest Christian album of all time, but she didn’t let public opinion sway her from developing a more expansive sound.

Originally released on March 5, 1991, Heart in Motion solidified her crossover success. The album received four Grammy nominations, has sold more than 5 million copies and garnered four Hot 100 top 10 singles, including “Baby Baby,” which hit No. 1. Those songs and more will be available to fans via vinyl beginning July 30, and there is a fan bundle that includes the double disc, an exclusive bonus single disc with commentary, a limited-edition photo book, T-shirt and a Heart in Motion keychain.

Grant, who will head out on a 39-city tour in August, revisited the making of the album with Billboard, as well as talking about her career, surviving open-heart surgery and lessons learned during the pandemic.

What do you remember most about the original launch of Heart in Motion 30 years ago?

If music was some kind of an airborne vehicle, the experience of Heart in Motion was like having rocket engines attached to that vessel. It was the first time I had worked with multiple producers [Brown Bannister, Michael Omartian and Keith Thomas], all of whom I knew and was good friends with, and two great record companies [A&M and Word], wonderful songwriters and musicians. It was a time in Nashville when I don’t know if there was as much of a pop music presence in this town, and so for every door that kept flying open it felt like a shared celebration. It was just so exciting. I worked just as hard on every other record that I made, but that one had the farthest reach in worldwide touring opportunities, in worldwide album sales and really the platform that I still enjoy especially to do different kinds of philanthropy. I feel nothing but gratitude for all the adventure.

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SOURCE: Billboard – Deborah Evans Price

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