With one listen to Jamie Grace’s highly anticipated sophomore album, it’s readily evident she’s a multi-faceted artist with an abundance of talent. As the song titles reveal, the exuberant young singer-songwriter is a “Fighter,” a “Friend,” “So Amazing” and “Every Bit of Lovely,” but it’s the album title that best encapsulates this season in the 2012 New Artist of the Year Dove Award winner’s life. She is Ready to Fly.
“The entire concept of Ready To Fly is being ready even when you don’t know what the Lord has planned for your future,” says Jamie. “I wrote the title track the night before I turned 18. I was crying out, wondering what God’s plan for me was. I started to doubt so many things but as I randomly began singing the lyrics to ‘Ready to Fly,’ I realized I don’t have to have my whole life figured out to start my journey. This record is about being in the waiting with God, yet while you’re waiting being ready to move – ready to fly – when the timing is right.”
Much has happened to the young Georgia native since she was discovered by TobyMac and signed to his label, Gotee Records. Jamie went from sitting on the floor of her dorm room writing love songs to God to sharing those songs with the world. As she did, it didn’t take long for people to fall in love with Jamie Grace and her indomitable spirit. Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when she was only 11, Jamie has refused to be defined by her challenges and has excelled in a highly competitive field on the strength of her intuitive songwriting, vibrant stage presence and loads of quirky charm.
Her debut album, One Song at a Time, earned Jamie the 2012 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year and the hit single “Hold Me” earned the pastor’s kid both GRAMMY® and Dove nominations. She’s appeared on such high profile media outlets as “The View” and her YouTube channel has surpassed 16 million views. The momentum continues with “Beautiful Day,” the first single from Ready To Fly, which has briskly ascended the charts since its release.
“I’m just pumped that people are already excited about ‘Beautiful Day’ and that they are playing it,” Jamie says, but she admits to being a little worried about what music biz insiders refer to as the sophomore slump. “This is scary, you have your whole life to write your first record and then you get to your second record and you’ve got one to three years, so it’s totally different. It was a little intimidating, but then there were days when I thought, ‘This is so fun!’ I was just excited because the songs were sounding really good. I felt very confident while I was in the studio recording this album.”
In recording Ready To Fly Jamie again teamed with producers Christopher Stevens (TobyMac), David Garcia (Britt Nicole) and Dave Wyatt (of TobyMac’s DiverseCity Band). She added a new team member to the mix, working for the first time with producer Chuck Butler (Royal Tailor). She also recruited some special guests to join her musical adventure. Manwell of Group 1 Crew is featured on “Just a Friend.” Her sister Morgan Harper Nichols joins in on the country-flavored “White Boots,” an upbeat ode to remaining pure that comes from Jamie’s unique perspective. Jason Crabb lends his distinctive vocals to the digital bonus track version of “Fighter.”
“Fighter” is an inspirational look at individuals who are facing challenges yet leaning on faith and persevering. Though the verses profile a hard-working dad, a struggling single mom and a young girl with cancer, the resilience and inspiration that Jamie sings about are qualities that she exudes in abundance. “The Waiting” is a poignant ballad Jamie co-wrote with Natalie Grant and her sister Morgan that Jamie started when a close friend was in a coma. Fueled by a strong undercurrent of hope, the song speaks of waiting on the Lord. “Do Life Big” is a joyous anthem that again captures Jamie’s vivacious approach to life and her art.
As sunny and effervescent as much of the album is, there’s also a strong foundation that reflects this season in the young artist’s life. “I’ve definitely matured spiritually,” says Jamie. “I have a deeper relationship with the Lord now, and I talk to Him about even more stuff than I did when I was younger. My friends and I talk about faith a lot more than we did when we were freshmen in college and so this music comes from a deeper place. It’s going to be really cool to share a little bit more of my diary pages, but I am also excited because there are a lot of songs on the record still that are giddy and show my dorky personality.”
One of Jamie’s favorite songs on the album is the buoyant “My First Love.” “I get so pumped when I hear that song,” she giggles. “When I sit down to write and I’m writing who I’m in love with, there’s no one to talk about but Jesus. Even if I had a boyfriend right now I’d be like, ‘Hey boyfriend! I’m going to write you a song, but first I’m directing to Jesus because he’s the only reason I’m here. ‘My First Love’ is definitely one of the happiest songs on the record.”
Happy, hopeful and passionately in love with Jesus are qualities that describe Jamie Grace. As she’s grown from a talented teen into an accomplished young woman, Jamie stands amazed at God’s hand on her life.
“I’ve always said that if the Lord told me tomorrow, ‘Hey, I need you to be a children’s minister and for you to come off the road and for that to be your full-time job,’ I would be okay with that,” Jamie says. “I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to do so much and I want to keep going, but if I have to stop, I could honestly say that I’ve done way more than what I was expecting. It’s an honor to get to do what I do, and I want to do it for the rest of my life.”