Natalie Grant: Hope In the Hurricane

nataliegranthurricanenewalbum-300x278For Natalie Grant, life is like a three-ring circus. The GRAMMY®-nominated artist and mother of three attests it’s a constant juggling act she’s still waiting to get right.

Grant admits, “Truthfully, most days I feel like the spinning plates are going to all come crashing down around me,I fall into bed and think,‘Okay, tomorrow I have got to do this better.’ And then I wake up, and I go, ‘God, please help me,’ and I try it again.”

Currently, Grant’s spinning plates include her husband, producer Bernie Herms; three young daughters, twins Bella and Gracie, 6, and Sadie, 2; an unforgiving touring schedule; album promotion for her forthcoming record; filming for her new movie and continued advocacy work for her nonprofit, Abolition International. How does she do it?

“There’s never a perfect balance. It’s chaos, beautiful chaos, but chaos nonetheless,” Grant confesses. “Without pressing into the presence of God, there is no survival. It doesn’t mean the chaos is going to subside or that there’s going to be perfect order and you’re going to have it all worked out. It’s probably going to stay chaotic, but [there’s] strength from spending time with the Lord and allowing His strength to just permeate every aspect of your life.”

With an RIAA-certified gold record for her landmark release, Awaken, five Dove Awards for GMA Female Vocalist of the Year, a string of radio hits and a GRAMMY® nomination, one might wonder where Grant finds the motivation or the time to continue to drive her career forward, especially with three young daughters in tow. It seems no matter the length of her to-do list, the singer can’t escape her God-given calling in all aspects of her life.

“I feel created to tell the truth of God through music, but more that that, I want my daughters to see a woman who doesn’t shy away from the calling of God on her life and that she can be prayerfully a wonderful wife and a committed, responsible mommy, but also still stay true to who God has designed and called and created her to be,” Grant shares.

“So often as women, I think we have these labels put on us – mommy, carpooler, laundry doer, grocery shopper, all these titles – and then we go, But who am I? Who am I outside of being this person’s wife or this person’s mom?” she continues. “God still has an individual plan for me aside from all of that, and I want my daughters to see a strong woman of God who’s walking that out.”

Trials and Tribulations

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Her new album, Hurricane (Curb), reveals the mother of three putting her faith into action in the midst of personal challenges. In the past three years since Grant has released a full-length studio recording, she’s experienced the birth of her third child and the unexpected postpartum depression that followed, her father’s cancer diagnosis and her nephew’s spiraling drug addiction – all reflected in the ten-song set list. The title track was written in response to Grant’s battle with depression and the guilt she felt about her mixed emotions surrounding having a third child that she didn’t feel prepared for. “That’s what music does so powerfully. It sometimes says something to someone that words alone just can’t do,” she contends. The haunting “Burn Bright” is an encouraging letter to her nephew set to music, while the achingly sweet “When I Leave the Room,” penned by Nichole Nordeman, is dedicated to her daughters.

Based on the lyrical depth and the raw honesty of Hurricane, listeners will be surprised to learn that Grant originally went into the recording process with a phone-it-in mentality. “So I’m like, ‘Just bring me the songs. I’ll record them really fast. I don’t have space for this in my life,’” Grant candidly admits. “It’s funny because I ended up writing more on this record than any other record in my career, and [the songs] are so personal. I think it’s because God was like, ‘Okay, I get it. You’re all worn out. You’re at the end of your rope, but look what I can do when you’re at the end.’” Ironically, the finished work turned out to be one of the most prolific of her career.

Grant and her husband, who produced the entire project, recorded the album in their home studio, working on it late into the night each evening after their kids were in bed. The album’s high-intensity pop sensibilities belie the extremely raw, personal nature of the lyrics. The up-beat melodies run in stark contrast to the dark lyrical content that permeates the record. “I think that’s the result of hope,” Grant surmises. “Hope is what keeps the light on. We have this hope that somehow survives the darkest moments… There’s going to be a break in the clouds. There’s going to be a moment where hope survives, and I think that’s what this record was for me.”

For more info, visit www.nataliegrant.com.