By Peter Cronin
The Musical Miracle Known As Jamie Grace
In her life, in her faith and in her music, Jamie Grace is a born believer. But standing on stage at a recent performance, looking out at a sea of young faces singing along to every word of her Grammy-nominated debut single, even she had trouble believing it.
“They sang the chorus, the verses and even the bridge, every word,” says the 20-year-old singer/songwriter, still bubbling over at the memory. “I almost started crying because they really knew the whole song. That just blows me away.”
With a stadium-sized talent and a song as uplifting and irresistable as “Hold Me,” her reggae-fied hit single, Jamie Grace had better get used to those types of joyous and spontaneous audience reactions. Luckily, having grown up singing and playing, in the Atlanta-area church where her dad is pastor and her mom is associate pastor, she’s somewhat accustomed to the spotlight and she’s got her feet planted firmly on the ground.
“I’m lucky to have people around me who make sure that I’m the artist I want to be and that I’m also staying true to who I am,” she says. “I also have a sister that beats me up when I need it!”
Music has been a part of Grace’s life since before she can remember, but things got serious when she was 13 and she received a gift of a set of drums from her grandfather.
“He showed me a beat, and that’s when I realized music was in my blood,” she says. “It was an overwhelming feeling.”
Diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at the age of 11, Grace’s singing, playing and songwriting have served as her primary therapy, helping her deal with and control the frequent and sometimes violent body tics associated with the condition. In an effort to share her music and help others struggling with Tourette’s, the young singer turned to YouTube, where her videos quickly caught the attention of Contemporary Christian star and Gotee Records President tobyMac.
“toby sent me a message on Twitter,” she says. “I always say I was raised on dc Talk and Veggie Tales, so I thought it was a joke.”
Artist and producer eventually connected and Grace’s career quickly shifted into high gear, with the label releasing an introductory EP in early 2011 and her full-length debut, One Song At A Time, in September. She’s also been flexing her acting muscles, taking on a recurring role on Trinity Broadcasting’s iShine KNECT. As if that weren’t enough, she’ll graduate in May from Atlanta’s Point University with a degree in Child and Youth Development. After graduation, she’ll join the Revolve Tour with fellow Contemporary Christian artists Hawk Nelson and Stellar Kart.
As her ground-breaking “Hold Me” continues to impact lives (it received a prestigious Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Song) Grace remains very much in control of her reality and knows exactly where she is meant to be.
“When I listen to these songs, I can visualize those moments in my life where I needed to share my feelings,” she says. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to connect with other kids out there going through the same stuff that I am.”