13 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

2005's Awaken advanced Natalie Grant several steps away from lightweight teen-pop towards more substantial lyric themes and musical settings. Grant’s vocal gifts are obvious here — her full-bodied lows and smoothly-executed highs are used to advance her message rather than for technical effect. Awaken emphasizes the positive on sleek, faith-affirming numbers like “Something Beautiful,” “Live 4 Today,” and “Captured.” More weighty are piano-centered ballads like “Held” (an affirmation of hope amid sorrow) and “Home” (a poignant look at human trafficking). Grant reveals yet another side of her talents by turning in a credible Southern soul performance (in tandem with Wynonna Judd) on “Bring It All Together.” Though she can pour on the melodrama if need be, Grant truly shines on songs like “The Real Me,” when her trembling voice captures the urgency of spiritual need. Producer Bernie Herms (Natalie’s husband) surrounds her in layered sonic backdrops, mixing modern pop with theater rock and a touch of Maria Carey-style R&B. Awaken catches Grant still on the rise, embracing her divahood while retaining her grace.

EDITORS’ NOTES

2005's Awaken advanced Natalie Grant several steps away from lightweight teen-pop towards more substantial lyric themes and musical settings. Grant’s vocal gifts are obvious here — her full-bodied lows and smoothly-executed highs are used to advance her message rather than for technical effect. Awaken emphasizes the positive on sleek, faith-affirming numbers like “Something Beautiful,” “Live 4 Today,” and “Captured.” More weighty are piano-centered ballads like “Held” (an affirmation of hope amid sorrow) and “Home” (a poignant look at human trafficking). Grant reveals yet another side of her talents by turning in a credible Southern soul performance (in tandem with Wynonna Judd) on “Bring It All Together.” Though she can pour on the melodrama if need be, Grant truly shines on songs like “The Real Me,” when her trembling voice captures the urgency of spiritual need. Producer Bernie Herms (Natalie’s husband) surrounds her in layered sonic backdrops, mixing modern pop with theater rock and a touch of Maria Carey-style R&B. Awaken catches Grant still on the rise, embracing her divahood while retaining her grace.

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About Natalie Grant

Christian vocalist Natalie Grant launched her career as a member of the Truth before moving to Nashville, TN in pursuit of a solo career. She signed with Benson Records in 1997 and began working on her self-titled debut, which was released in 1999. By the following year, though, Grant had left the label and struck up a relationship with Pamplin Music, who released her 2001 sophomore album, Stronger. When that label folded, she began a multi-year partnership with Curb Records, who helped her become one of the Christian community's most popular gospel vocalists.

Deeper Life was released in 2003. Grant wrote many of the album's tracks, including "Live for Today," which was nominated for a Dove Award. "No Sign of It" also received some mainstream attention after finding its way onto the movie soundtrack for View from the Top, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. March 2005 saw the release of her next album, Awaken, which was followed up that fall with the Christmas album Believe. Both releases helped Grant win the 2006 Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year. She took home the same award in 2007, 2008, and 2009; meanwhile, she continued releasing well-received contemporary Christian albums, including 2008's Relentless and 2010's Love Revolution. Her single, "Alive," which appeared on the 2011 Bible-inspired compilation, Music Inspired by The Story, earned her a Grammy nomination the following year. 2013's Hurricane proved to be another major success for Grant, topping Billboard's Christian Albums chart and reaching #17 on the Top 200. In addition to her musical career, Grant has played an active role campaigning against human trafficking and is the founder of the anti-trafficking organization Abolition International. She continued to release music with an uplifting and passionate message on her ninth studio album, 2015's Be One. ~ Ashleigh Kittle & Andrew Leahey

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