(RNS) — The Kennedy Middle Honors, on its forty fifth event, acknowledged singer and songwriter Amy Grant, marking the primary time the highest cultural distinction was given to a recent Christian musician.
“There are tales of tenacity, tales of religion, tales of unfettered creativity and tales of endurance,” stated actress and 2002 honoree Chita Rivera on the Sunday (Dec. 4) occasion that highlighted the “queen of Christian pop” together with actor George Clooney, singer Gladys Knight, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Tania León and the rock band U2.
“Tonight, we broaden that spectrum to incorporate for the primary time ever a recent Christian music artist, Amy Grant,” she stated. “In her wonderful 40-plus years, Amy has logged success after success with out ever compromising her religion or her individuality.”
In a quick red-carpet interview simply earlier than the black-tie occasion, Grant stated she hoped to dwell as much as the honour in representing the style.
“Properly, I’m a bit of little bit of a rascal; I hope I do them proud,” she stated, laughing.
Her arrival on the Kennedy Middle got here lower than 5 months after a bike accident and hospital keep — neither of which the musician can keep in mind — that compelled her to postpone some live performance dates.
Grant, who described herself as “doing nicely,” stated she appreciated being again on tour and on the Kennedy Middle, even when it felt a bit of overwhelming after her prolonged time of relaxation.
“I felt like I used to be feeling actually assured on my two-mile-an-hour treadmill after which I merged onto Interstate visitors,” she stated. “Simply did my first present final week. And this has been such a ravishing option to reengage.”
Grant, 61, has six Grammys and greater than 20 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Affiliation. The Gospel Music Corridor of Fame honoree signed her first report deal at age 17.
She grew to become the primary modern Christian musician to have a No. 1 hit on the pop charts with “Subsequent Time I Fall,” a 1986 duet with Peter Cetera of the band Chicago. 5 years later, her fame unfold with “Child, Child,” successful from her 1991 platinum album “Coronary heart in Movement.”
GMA President and Government Director Jackie Patillo, who described Grant as “a Christian music sweetheart,” stated it’s a “large deal” that the Kennedy Middle has taken this step to honor an artist who crossed over to mainstream pop and served as an envoy of the Christian music subgenre.
“I feel that Amy Grant lives a really holistic life in that her religion is simply part of the whole lot that she does, and so whether or not her music is being acknowledged or performed on pop radio or CCM (stations), she’s, nonetheless, persistently Amy Grant,” stated Patillo.
“The best way God has used her has stretched the business and the church.”
Grant, who, like different honorees, sat in an Opera Home balcony not removed from President Biden, Vice President Harris and their spouses, drank within the reward with out having to take the stage to talk or carry out.
Within the viewers of greater than 1,900 had been actresses Anna Deavere Smith and Julia Roberts, politicians Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and Dallas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes and Grant’s first report producer Brown Bannister.
Kennedy Middle Board Chair David Rubenstein acknowledged the importance of the popularity of latest Christian music.
“We felt that it was lengthy overdue,” he informed Faith New Service. “There was just one one who might actually fulfill that requirement, and that was Amy.”
Gospel artist CeCe Winans echoed Rubenstein’s remark when she appeared along with her brother BeBe on the purple carpet shortly earlier than the occasion started however began with an exuberant “Woo!”
“We’re so excited,” she stated. “It’s been a very long time coming. However she’s an ideal individual to open up that door. And so we’re enthusiastic about that.”
Added her brother: “Amen.”
Afterward stage, the Winans duo joined to fete Grant in a medley that includes her songs, “Sing Your Reward to the Lord” and “El Shaddai,” as CCM artist Michael W. Smith performed the piano and the Howard Gospel Choir added their voices.
When the present opened with the nationwide anthem, singer Tricia Yearwood joined the choir, directed by Kirk Franklin, for an upbeat model of the patriotic tune. The background included a moonlit sky, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Capitol and a waving American flag.
Previous to the occasion, Smith stated he was thrilled to see his longtime good friend honored for her function in music, together with the subgenre she helped him enter.
“I wouldn’t be standing right here speaking to you if it hadn’t been for Amy,” he informed RNS as he appeared on the occasion earlier than persevering with their joint Christmas tour this week. “I used to be her opening act in 1982.”
Others in and past the music business spoke of Grant’s affect on and off the stage.
Sheryl Crow, who sang Grant’s “Child, Child” in her honor, spoke of how Grant had impressed her as a musician, mom and good friend.
“Amy Grant’s music had a profound impact on me as a younger faculty scholar,” stated Crow. “Her music was a staple along with her deeply soulful voice and her uplifting message of hope and religion,” stated Crow. “Amy additionally taught me that it was doable to be humorous, irreverent and Christian all on the similar time.”
The section of this system honoring Grant included video clips of her 4 kids talking of occasions after they accompanied her on tour after they had been younger, impressed a track — she wrote “Baby, Baby” about daughter Millie — or appeared on “The Tonight Present with Jay Leno,” as was the case with daughter Sarah when she was a child.
A glitch with a guitar triggered a clumsy pause as nation musicians The Highwomen ready to sing “Someplace Down the Street” for Grant and the viewers.
“We love you Amy,” somebody shouted earlier than this system moved forward after a “technical difficulties” announcement.
Veteran broadcaster Katie Couric, a detailed good friend of Grant’s, added to the refrain of accolades, talking about classes Grant had heeded.
“Amy, you as soon as shared the 4 phrases your candy mother stated to you, phrases you’ve by no means forgotten: Sing one thing that issues,” Couric stated. “Properly, you’ve achieved it and also you’re nonetheless doing it.”
A two-hour presentation of the Kennedy Middle Honors, which lasted greater than three hours, will air on CBS at 8 p.m. EST/PST on Dec. 28.