singer | songwriter | actress

Because Simple Music :)

I got tagged in a blog written by Brant Hansen (one of the coolest humans ever) “defending” Christian radio in response to an article that doesn’t seem to love it as much.

I’m going to speak for Jamie Grace – cause that’s me, haha. And I’m the only person I feel led to speak for.

I also want to clarify, this is not the first time I have heard thoughts in regards to my music being “too cheesy” or “not Christian enough.” So know that this post is an explosion of my thoughts as to why my music is often so simple.

I heard of this original blog post 7 minutes ago. Here are the quotes pertaining to me.

Contemporary Christian pop music might be taking Psalm 100’s command to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” a little too far. Jamie Grace’s “Beautiful Day” was one of the top 10 Christian songs of 2014 and has a typically peppy chorus: “This feeling can’t be wrong / I’m about to get my worship on / Take me away / It’s a beautiful day.” Switch it out for Pharrell’s “Happy,” and a congregation might not be able to tell the difference.

The upbeat lyrics of “Beautiful Day” aren’t exceptional. I took a look at the last five years of Billboard’s year-end top 50 Christian songs1 to see whether Christian pop is unrelentingly cheerful. I looked at pairs of concepts across the entire collection of lyrics2 (life and death, grace and sin, etc.)3 and calculated the ratio of positive to negative words. For every pair I checked, positive words were far more common than negative ones.

Dear writer, you are right. My lyrics are very peppy and I consider it a compliment. However, there is a place where you are wrong. Beautiful Day is not based off of Psalm 100 but rather Psalm 118. Verse 24 to be exact. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Beautiful Day is a song, written through pain and heartache, to remind myself, and whomever may listen, that there is always a reason to find joy.

I won’t dig into “my story” right now. It can be lengthy, and the majority of the people who have been to a live show or visit my website already know my story. But, I will say this, when you spent your childhood not wanting to live and you finally found joy? Your upbeat songs won’t be deep. The will be peppy. And I cannot be more grateful for the ability to be peppy.

I spent most of middle and high school depressed, medicated and very sick. Every song I wrote was dark, painful and borderline suicidal. I didn’t want to live anymore, and often times would ask my dad why God made me live if I didn’t want to. The privilege to write a simple, easy listening pop song is one I never thought would be my reality.

Additionally, I love to go deep. And if anyone ever wants to have a conversation with me that is beyond the intentional care free style that is a majority of my music, I will. On social media. Where I jump into conversations about Faith and identity with teens and was even privileged to be a part of leading a fan to accepted Christ via Instagram DMs. Or in Twitter DMs where I’ve chatted with kids who are suicidal or at the verge of running away from home and have been a tiny part of their insane stories of building an element of confidence and finding home.

I also like to go deep at my church. Where I preach on Tuesday nights with young adults. Or at my home with my mom. She’s really sick and we sometimes spend nights praying and crying together, reminding eachother of the promises of the Lord. Or on my Youtube channel, where I dig into deeper topics about Faith and lifestyle. Or my podcast (before it was a “webshow,”) where I take scriptures and share what God is sharing with me.

Or at my live show, where I share my testimony. And the testimony’s that have been shared with me. As I set up songs like “Just Trust” written about a toddler with cancer or “To Love You Back” about salvation.

But, forgive me if the songs you hear from me on the radio don’t “go there.” When you’ve spent a bulk of your life wishing it away and you finally get a glimpse of joy? (Essentially when Psalm 30:5 becomes your life) You cannot help but find the simplest way to write it, sing it, scream it. So that all who hear will know of the joy you found.

So, to quote Brant…

It turns out that people on the way home from a tough job do not use the radio to hear a song about sorrow and judgment. (We can foist it on them for their own good, but they have these darn buttons they can click.)

This does not mean they are lacking spiritual depth. It does mean that they are human beings, living real lives, who could use some real encouragement.

I’ve been the overwhelmed, depressed teenager. I’ve been the I-want-to-quit-my-job 20 something! Sometimes I’ll turn on a slow heavy hitter by Switchfoot, Fiction Family, Johnnyswim, Chris Rice, Steffany Gretzinger, Morgan Harper Nichols or Nichole Nordeman – to name some of my favorites – but sometimes the best thing to get me out of bed is an upbeat 2001 ZOEgirl song with the simplest lyrics and chords. Peppy, I know! 😉 So in return, I toss out a mix! The deep ballads and the giddy not-so-ballads. A mixture of the good and the not-so-good of my life. Even with that, my music is only a small part of who I am. But you catch my drift… yeah?

I’m 100% okay if someone hears my music and doesn’t like it. Realistically, if everyone in the world just loveddddddd me I wouldn’t get to go to the store just casually and buy stuff. So I don’t need everyyyybody to be a Jamie Grace fan, lol. And again, I can’t speak for the intentions of every writer of music. But I know for a fact that this girl, has a purpose, an intent and dare I say a calling to reach out to those who feel they have lost their joy, and hopefully share a little with them.

And if anyone who enjoys listening to me wants something deeper? Ready to Fly is dedicated to a little girl who lost her life and was blessed by my peppy, giddy songs. Not Alone is a song written for a woman whose son was dying and wasn’t sure how much long he would have. Come to Me was written after seeing a testimony of Johnny Cash as told by his sister, Joanne. They might not be on radio, but a they’re a significant part of who I am.

I am not personally one of the ones who chooses which songs are or aren’t played on radio but I am grateful to be a part of a medium that plays music that inspires and encourages people on a daily basis. But whether it is a deep album cut, live unreleased song or a peppy Jamie Grace song you hear on the radio, I am not trying to be exceptional by the standards of any man (or woman). I am simply a 24 year old saved by grace with a story to tell and the privilege of a platform I can barely believe. And that, is the only exception I need.

17 Comments on “Because Simple Music :)

  1. You know, this is probably why I think YOU are pretty dang awesome.

    I struggle with depression and Asperger’s Syndrome. I’m extremely (by nature) dark and existential. And frankly, the idea that the good news is GOOD NEWS is incredibly appealing to me.

    Without God, yeah – none of this makes sense.

    Here’s to those of us who don’t quite fit in, thanking God that we get to sit at His table.

  2. First, I must say I’m thrilled you mentioned ZOEgirl. Theirs was the best music during my tween years! I’m glad you wrote this. We all need to hear different types of music at different points of our life–or even different moments of the day. Sometimes I have to turn off Air1 because the tone just doesn’t fit my mood and it’s bothering me, while other times it’s playing just what I need to hear. The upbeat anthems and celebratory songs have their place and purpose–as do the more solemn songs of worship. I personally love listening to My Epic’s songs when I need something more serious and thought provoking. I’m actually waiting to get their new EP “Viscera” in the mail right now. =}

  3. Well said! Stay true to your calling. It is clearly of God and you are a blessing to me and so many others! And, it IS a Beautiful Day! Blessings!!

  4. Great response! Keep following God’s leading with your music and being light to others.

  5. Very well-said, Jamie. So much of your music touches me in a very deep place. Music doesn’t have to be complex or sad to be deep. Thanks for sharing your unique gift of music with us!

  6. I love “Beautiful Day”! Thanks for sharing your heart and for having a passion to minister to those dealing with difficult times! Prayers for your Mom and her health as well!

  7. I found you by accident before you were played on the radio. It was at a very dark time in my life. I looked you up and bought your album loved every single song! I listened to you every morning I got in my car. I downloaded you on every media I owned you lifted my spirits and those around me. There is enough darkness in the world. Thank you for letting God use you to be a bright light for those of us that sometimes get stuck in the dark. You never fail to put a smile on my face when I hear one of your songs! You dear girl are a blessing too many . Much love from this fan Kandi. God bless you

  8. It’s so unbelievably believable the kind of person you are! Through you God brings people up from darkness just when they’ve almost lost all hope. God bless you, and thanks for writing this.

  9. Jamie, two years ago I was in a dark place. My marriage had fallen apart and I’m here raising a child with autism who has regressed twice since my husband kicked us out. It’s the music that stopped me from hanging myself on the back porch. It’s the upbeat music that reminded me that though my husband didn’t love me anymore God loved me far more then any one could.

  10. I just watched your video about your back story and I’m curious if you’ve ever looked into the condition called PANDAS. I ask because my son has the exact same symptoms as you did when you were younger but we believe it’s an auto immune attack on the brain. I think it gets better as you get older but we are in the throes of it right now. We had to pull my son out of school for a long while because his symptoms were so bad. We are attempting to put him back in, in September and your story gives me such hope for him. He’s told me he wishes he were dead and we just keep praying over him and trying to heal him.

    Thanks for allowing Jesus to use you ❤️

  11. Jamie-Grace…I’m a 20 year old young lady from Kenya. The first time I heard one of your songs, I thought, “This is amazing! It’s simple…n I can relate to this.” That was back in 2011. I had just gotten saved n didn’t know much but from your songs I found encouragement n from your stories I found hope. I used to be depressed and thought I wasn’t enough, pretty enough or good enough to have great friends or a great life, but the message placed in your heart by God changed that. I thought, “If Jamie-Grace has been through that much and can write amazing songs, who am I to sit here n call God’s own creation ‘not good enough’ ?”
    Continue being you…n keep ’em songs coming as God leads you…
    Love you tonnes!

  12. I had the privilege to hear Billy Graham speak and share the message of Salvation with thousands of people. The thing I remember most is how simple his message was. It was simply the message of salvation, presented in a simple and clear way and the response was overwhelming. The message in your music is exactly what it needs to be, what God has laid on your heart to share and God is using it!! I love that my six year old daughter can sing along and understand the messages in your songs that is helping lay the foundation of God’s love and grace.

    Keep following Christ and heeding His calling and He’ll continue to speak to those that will listen.

  13. i really love your response. the truth is, your music is giving hope to some of us and making us trust God the more. God bless u dear

  14. Great response, but really, there is no need to justify who you are or what you do. Someone once told me that you shouldn’t reply to ignorance. You show us every day through your lyrics and words of encouragement that every day is a beautiful day in the Lord. You are a light in a dark place and some people just don’t want to see the light. Keep doing what you are doing and stay encouraged you’re a God Girl who is Every Bit of Lovely!

  15. You show us every day through your lyrics and words of encouragement that every day is a beautiful day in the Lord. You are a light in a dark place. Keep doing what you are doing and stay encouraged. You’re a God Girl who is Every Bit of Lovely!

  16. I am 44 years old and many days I need your “peppy” music and it has gotten me through some tough times. I am so glad you are you and you inspire me! As a mother to 5 kids. I am so grateful to hear your story-you encourage me! I love your posts on dating and your family too. Thanks for keeping it real. Keep on keeping on!

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