As one of those rare artists who tops the charts in several musical genres, Amy Grant brings to the stage an eclectic blend of songs suitable for all ages. It’s not unusual to see several generations of fans at her shows, clapping and singing along with every word. After all, the artistic energy she delivers is infectious.
Grant has reunited with long-time friend Michael W. Smith to co-bill their popular Christmas tour, scheduled for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The tour begins Dec. 1 in Charleston, W.V., and concludes in Cincinnati, OH, Dec. 10. She then returns to Nashville, her hometown, for several performances with her equally talented husband, Vince Gill.
The Grant/Smith show, which over the years has become one of music’s most highly anticipated Christmas tributes, will feature selections spanning the artists’ expansive Christmas repertoires and combine their vast collection of critically-acclaimed holiday albums. David Hamilton will direct a full band and large vocal group.
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“Christmas is about hope and we all need to be reminded of that right now,” says Grant. “Reuniting with Michael for a run of Christmas shows just feels right. We both love Christmas music and doing this tour together is one of my favorite things I get to do all year long.” Smith adds, “This is my absolute favorite time of the year and I am so happy to be back on the road with my dear friend. We’ve been doing this tour together for many years and it just never gets old. It is going to be something extra special this year.”
Grant grew up in Nashville surrounded by relatives. “We had a lot of holiday gatherings which were special,” she recalls. “At one point there were five generations at the table.” She began performing in high school at the age of 15 and always blended faith with pop to broaden the base of song content. In many respects, she helped put Contemporary Christian Music on the map by becoming the first Contemporary Christian artist to have a platinum record, the first to hit No. 1 on the Pop charts and the first to perform at the GRAMMY Awards.
With three multi-platinum albums, six platinum albums and four gold albums, her total career album sales have exceeded 30 million and over one billion global streams. In addition to her six GRAMMY Awards, Grant has earned 26 Dove Awards, including four Artist of the Year Awards. In April of 2016, Grant celebrated the 25th anniversary of her iconic hit “Baby Baby” with a worldwide release of the song featuring pop sensation Tori Kelly.
Her holiday performances never fail to captivate appreciative audiences. “It’s so wonderful to put these shows together,” says Grant, who since the early 1980s has been providing the public with an array of holiday shows that are both inspiring and emotive. “The audience is essential and makes every night beautiful and unique. I really love the theater setting, and especially the exchange of energy with the audience. It feels like a new show each night. The holiday season can come and go so fast. Our goal is to create an experience that’s a connect point for the people in attendance.”
Smith has written and recorded over 36 No. 1 songs, been honored with three GRAMMY Awards and 45 Dove Awards, one American Music Award, was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and has sold more than 15 million albums. Smith was also honored with a star-studded tribute concert in Nashville to celebrate his career by a myriad of legendary performers. His recent studio album A Million Lights and worship album Surrounded have together become his 30th and 31st Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart, more than any other solo artist in history.
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which opened in the downtown area in 1997 at a cost of $180 million, has attracted over 10 million visitors since its inception. It was seen by many as the first step in the city’s road to revival, and brought people to Newark who otherwise might not have visited the city. Over the years the world’s most famous performers have graced the stage at the Center, which also presents over 200 free community events annually along with 3,000 classes and workshops.
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