Bright Start to a Bright Future
Posted September 19, 2011
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer
The Internet can be a valuable tool when it comes to discovering new music, especially in Jamie Grace's case. The 19-year-old Atlanta native has been an up-and-comer in the Christian music scene for the last several years, having toured both as a singer and emcee with the iShine Tour.
Jamie’s biggest break however, came in the latter half of 2010 when she was discovered by--would you believe it?--tobyMac, from her CCM cover songs on YouTube. Jamie’s talent caught his attention right away; he immediately knew there was something special about her.
“When some people sing and play, it’s almost effortless, and their joy is all over them,” Toby is quoted as saying. “That’s what grabbed my attention with Jamie Grace. I’ve not been this excited to work with an artist in a long time.”
A whirlwind year would follow the announcement that Jamie was the latest addition to the Gotee Records roster. Not only did her first single, “Hold Me,” maintain the No. 1 spot on Christian Hit Radio for over several weeks straight, she dove right into touring on the 2011 Revolve “Dream On” tour, and headed into the studio to record her first full length album with acclaimed producer Chris Stevens. She did all this, plus carried a full load of college classes in her pursuit to become a children's pastor. Some might call her a superwoman and others might call her crazy, but it was that free spirit and energetic attitude that immediately won her over to the masses.
As a very big fan of Jamie Grace as an iShine artist, I—along with many others—eagerly anticipated the September 2011 release of Jamie's debut album, One Song At a Time, and it doesn’t disappoint.
The album begins with a short prelude titled “Ready To Fly,” which transitions nicely into the aforementioned, “Hold Me,” a duet with TobyMac and hands down Christian music’s Summer anthem of 2011. Moving onto new music, the breezy and relaxed “With You” talks about the stresses of everyday life, but how everything seems to disappear when we stop and focus on God.
“Show Jesus” shines a different light on what other people see when believers show the love of Jesus, while the country flavored “Come To Me” brings a NEEDTOBREATHE vibe to a poignant song about resting in the Lord. “God Girl” is an anthem for all girls about waiting for God to lead them to their husbands. It encourages ladies to avoid all the pressure the world puts on them to find love on their own and understand they are loved by God. It sends a great message and is a sure highlight on this album.
The piano driven “Holding On”--co-written by Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real--talks about facing doubt and holding on to the truth found in the word of God. “You Lead” picks up the pace of the album once more and takes the role as the most upbeat song on the record. Musically, it follows along the catchy pop lines of “Hold Me” and conveys a wonderful message about walking by faith. I would love to see it as a radio single in the future.
The album’s namesake, “One Song At a Time,” previously featured on her debut EP earlier this year, has been re-recorded for this album and highlights Jamie’s hope for her ministry in music, relating her private life and her carrier to be “note by note by line, one song at a time.”
“1945” is hands-down the standout track on this record and quite possibly one of the best CCM pop songs of the year. Whimsical and charming, it offers a look back at the simplistic lifestyle of prior decades, and how although life might have been far more simple back then, we’ve been placed on Earth for such a time as this: “I could have been born in ‘45, but the truth is, I got here right on time and I thank God for every day of my life, it’s suits me just right.”
The album comes to a close with the moving and melodic “Not Alone,” talking about God being there for us, even in the hardest moments in life. It’s an unexpected way to finish an overall upbeat album, but with Jamie’s soulful vocals and passionate lyrics, it works, and somehow manages to bring the album full circle in the end.
There are going to be several times while listening to this record you forget you're listening to a young twentysomething share her life experiences, and think you're relating to an old friend. Jamie’s style of songwriting is honest and quirky, almost as if you were reading out of the pages of her diary, and it’s what makers her lyrics both unique and fun to listen to. Musically, this album is all over the place--pop, subtle rock, hip-hop, even country--but it highlights the musical capabilities that made Jamie such a hit on YouTube.
Coming in at around 45 minutes in length, the album feels a little short, but that's kind of a good thing, because it only leaves you wanting more. One Song At a Time is one of the strongest debut albums of the year and one to which men and women alike will be able to listen and relate. Jamie Grace has a VERY bright career ahead of her in this industry, and it will not only be a treat to watch her grow as a musician and songwriter, but also as someone who has made herself a confidant to her listeners. There is no doubt about it: this album is beautiful start to a very beautiful future.
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