For years, Amy Grant has been the dean of contemporary Christian music.
Her eight studio albums released between 1977 and 1988 established her as the defining voice of the genre, and although she tried her hand at pop with the 1985 album “Unguarded” and her Billboard Hot 100 duet with Peter Cetera in 1986 (“The Next Time I Fall”), Grant’s heart remained in Christian music.
But in 1991, the soft, bouncy “Baby Baby” bauble burst onto pop radio, reaching No. 1 on the Hot 100 and catapulting Grant into mainstream audiences.
The album that carried the lead single, “Heart in Motion” (its title is taken from a line from “Baby Baby”), would sell 5 million copies, peak at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, and retain the title. Grant’s Christian fan base, number 1 for 32 weeks on the Christian Albums chart.
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And “Baby Baby” was just the beginning. “Heart in Motion” spawned four additional pop hits – “Every Heartbeat,” “That’s What Love is For,” “Good for Me” and “I Will Remember You” – before earning Grammy nominations for it. album of the year and song of the year (“Baby Baby”) at the 1992 awards ceremony.
The 30th anniversary of Grant’s most recognized release will be celebrated with a double-CD reissue on July 9, featuring the remastered original album and a second disc of unreleased songs and remixes of the hit singles “Heart in Motion”. On July 30, the album will arrive as remastered vinyl.
Grant underwent open heart surgery in June 2020 for partial abnormal pulmonary venous return (she is doing great, thanks for asking) and is also shaking off the post-COVID-19 fog after falling ill with the virus in January, a experience that she said she had kept her “at rest for about a month”.
In August, she will kick off a tour of Beaver Creek, Colo., And cross the country until November (her husband Vince Gill “will be playing in much bigger venues,” she laughed, as the Eagles hit the road).
Grant will be spotlighting “Heart in Motion” at his concerts, but also said the tour is a way to “celebrate the fact that I’m alive and I’m 60”.
She also revealed – with great pride – that the inspiration for “Baby Baby”, her then six-week-old daughter Millie is now pregnant with her own baby (baby).
Calling with a cup of coffee near her home in Nashville, Grant reminded USA TODAY of the “Heart in Motion” era.
Grant’s previous album, “Lead Me On,” was steeped in introspective lyrics and American roots, which made the refined pop-up tour of “Heart in Motion” surprising for longtime fans: “I went back and watched old interviews, since (the album came out) a lifetime ago. And in my favorite, I said I went from asking big, deep questions (about ‘Lead Me On’) and turning to the biggest crowds of all time with this record, and then I was pregnant with Millie and the environment in our house was so happy and light and silly and fun and that’s just what reflected (in the music). For me, it was just a happy time in my life and I felt very simple.
Daughter Millie doesn’t say much in public about “Baby Baby”: “She’s someone who holds her cards very close to her chest, so I guess I’ll never know what she thinks!” But I do Remember she went on a school trip to France and came back and said very quietly, “You would have been surprised that I got up in a karaoke bar and sang” Baby Baby “.
The song “Ask Me”, about sexual abuse, marked a highlight on the album: “This song was inspired by two of my friends and the shock of their childhood. One was from high school and the other from college and by that time I had many years in both friendships. I think back to little signals that were weird to me and that I didn’t understand. I remember being so happy that we had a song that could address (the topic). One of the most powerful things about this tour was that this particular song started and you saw a lonely figure rise up. And then another and another. And for me, it was like what an opportunity for someone to be seen.
Grant has known a full-fledged pop celebrity for several years, with high profile videos and mainstream appearances: “I just moved into each new circle with wide eyes and waiting. I have sort of a slow reaction. It is not even caution. I do not know what it is. Like many creative people, I’m an introvert who comes across as an extrovert. So every time another door opened, I kind of slipped through the door. I just remember taking a lot of deep breaths and saying, “How the hell did that happen? I often remember being in a really special or unique place and feeling such waves of gratitude, like, how is it possible that a few three minute songs created an environment where I stand on top of the Empire State Building at dawn and grant a wish to a child who is losing his sight? I remember touring Europe and the label needed a fifth video (for ‘I Will Remember You’) and they sent me a huge private plane and took me to a coast in Spain and I am on a rock in the Mediterranean Sea and they are shouting: “Wave your arms! Wave your arms! ‘ and I say to myself: “How did I get here?”
The 11 tracks on the album form a cohesive memory for Grant: “All of them are a beautiful and sweet memory for me. There is such inclusion and such hope. I love the feeling of “us” and “us” that I hear in these songs. You listen to (the first line of) ‘That’s What Love is For’ – ‘Sometimes we make it harder than it used to be’ (laughs). There is such honesty and purity. Everything seems out of control to me. I really believe that the best thing about music is the ability to lead and direct us.