Amy Grant is releasing her first full-length album in 10 years next week, and she's packed all of her last decade's triumphs and challenges into the 11-track LP.
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Grant revealed that her mother (who died in April 2011) helped set the direction for the album, citing one of their last conversations where her mom advised her, "When you get on stage, sing something that matters."
"The hardest time to write a song is when you don't have anything to say," said Grant. "[When] 10 years go by, there's a lot to write about."
The six-time Grammy winner enlisted the help of Sheryl Crow, James Taylor and Carole King to help her tell the personal stories on the album.
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Taylor sings on the album's first single Don't Try So Hard, and Grant said he was the only one who could have pulled it off.
"I've loved his voice forever," Grant said with a smile. "I said, 'I hear James Taylor on these lines and I'd love to ask him if he'd sing on this.' He worked from home and he really spent some time stylizing it. He sent me a really sweet email afterwards saying that he'd 'spent the last several days with my voice in his head and hoped I was pleased.'"
Her time away from music seems to have given Grant a renewed fervor for the job -- a feeling that she doesn't expect to leave her any time soon.
"At some point in life you realize that some things really matter and some things don't," Grant said. "Living matters. Celebrating life matters. Seeing the value in hard times matters. Relationships and people matter. Faith matters. I feel like that's where my head has been while writing and recording this project. I feel this is a very positive record. I hope it is life affirming. Life prepares us for the journey. You don't know what's ahead and that is one of the great things about getting older in a framework of faith. Faith is the one thing that stands the test of time."
The album, How Mercy Looks From Here, will be available May 14.