Amy Grant Speaks about Her Album 'Somewhere Down the Road'
Singer Amy Grant talks about her new album, "Somewhere Down the Road" and the meaning behind it.
Guideposts: Hi. We're here in Central Park with Amy Grant. She's got a new album out, "Somewhere Down the Road." Today, she's going to tell us about it. So what does this album mean to you?
Amy Grant: Well, this album, it's the first record I've ever done that was thematic. And Brian Ward, a friend of mine at the record company, at EMI, suggested that I do a project about the journey of life. And first, I felt like, OK, I'm in a prime place to do this, because I have been writing and recording for almost a lifetime, over 30 years.
And so we just selected a couple of really old songs and a lot of new material, and we tried with the sequence of the record to just paint a picture of life. And some of the songs are specifically my experience, but I kind of feel like we all go through the same emotional journeys, even if they're not done in the same physical context.
And it begins with a really vulnerable song and ends with a picture of heaven. So that's the whole thing. And I know, in this day and era, people are going to cherry pick the songs they like. You know, they'll download one or two, but from an artistic standpoint, I would love it if somebody would listen to the whole thing all the way through.
GP: Well, I've listened to it. I love it. In particular, the one that you did with your daughter, can you tell me what it was like singing with her?
AG: I would love to. The first time I heard Sarah sing was when she was 15. And some people might think, oh, Amy and Vince's house, there must be music all the time. And there is, but it's not so much the children singing. And just to hear my daughter in the studio doing what I have done my whole life, I was so energetic.
I was just jumping around. Can I get y'all anything? And I finally thought, I'm going to drive them nuts. I need to just walk out, because I was, wa, you know?
GP: She's got such a beautiful voice.
AG: Thank you.
GP: But yeah, and that was another theme that I noticed in the album was passing down of wisdom from a grandmother to then you and then you to your kids. Why was that an important message for you?
AG: Well, the message really became apparent when we put the songs together. I've been doing a lot of recording over the last year, and I had a lot of extra time to record because I spent virtually no time on the road. My mother's really had declining health and a very dear friend of mine passed away in October, and I didn't want to miss any of her last days.
And so I was home, but you know, I couldn't be at my friend's bedside every second or with my mom, so I would go into the studio. I'd record a song here, a song there.
GP: There are so many songs that really underline that even if we have our failures and our dark times that there's usually a positive lesson or a transformation that comes out of it.
AG: Always. I mean, every good lesson learned, I believe, is learned through conflict and through hard times. And it's like when we see our children going through tough times, you know, I heard a phrase one time, you either prepare the road for the child or you prepare the child for the road. And I think I've done a little bit of both, sometimes to my children's disservice. You know, and to be glad every time there's a rough stretch of road to go that this is how we become wise.
GP: And so I also notice that your painting is on the cover of the album. Can you tell me about is that a new passion for you?
AG: I love art. I love crafts. Anytime I'm sent a project in a box, please paint a T-shirt for our auction, please do this, you know, draw a doodle, do an art piece. I mean, some people might harrumph. You know, go, oh, I can't believe I've got to do this. I'm like a kid at Christmas. I've got an art project.
GP: As you mentioned that part of the songs were from your past, were written in the '90s, the mid-'90s.
AG: Right, right.
GP: What was it like to revisit those again?
AG: It felt like—because I'm always writing and always recording something. And it was as though guests had appeared unexpectedly at my house. And I was just in the pantry, you know, what have I cooked recently? And throwing a meal or throwing a pot of soup together, and it just worked.
And that was really fun, because even in putting the record together, it felt spontaneous, not overly scrutinized and there's something, in a world and in a business, especially the music business, where everyone is always scrutinizing everything, to feel like something happened spontaneously, it felt that it was a piece of the honesty that mattered.
And so I'm just happy as I can be. I'm so glad to have new music to go out and give people, and it's fun to have people respond, but to me, much more important than number of sales or where a song might wind up on a chart, I have done all that. There's no mystery in that to me. But maybe that some of these songs could really matter to somebody, that matters to me.