One of the most well-known and influential couples in the music business visited Belmont University today to discuss their experiences within the industry as well as their thoughts on life, faith and artistry. Amy Grant and Vince Gill delighted a packed Massey Performing Arts Center with their conversation as part of the Curb College’s ongoing “Insider’s View” series, hosted by Harry Chapman. This event was co-sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Development.
Grant and Gill, who celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary in March, opened the morning discussing their Belmont connections. Grant’s first music demos, at age 17, were recorded at Belmont by then-student and current famed producer Brown Bannister. Those demos were then played for a Word Records music executive, leading to Grant’s first record contract. Gill’s connections, on the other hand, came through Belmont Athletics and his long-term friendship with men’s basketball coach Rick Byrd.
Most of the morning’s conversation, however, revolved around the couple’s thoughts on artistry and faith. “Amy and I had very different upbringings,” Gill said. “She played mostly in churches on Wednesday nights and Sundays, and I played mostly in the beer joints. Come to find out 35-40 years later that we were playing to the same people.”
Chapman asked the couple how they had managed such lengthy careers in the business. “Longevity is based on a lot of things, but it’s greatness that keeps people like James Taylor or Bonnie Raitt sticking around for 30 years. I know first hand that there are people parking my car who can play me under the table.”
Grant added that she and Gill both suspect they have already passed the peaks of their career, and that they often share a phrase that helps keep them grounded and focused: “Gracious on the way up, gracious on the way down.” She added, “When you love music, you just do it whenever you can… Music shouldn’t be exclusive.”
Gill said that at this point he’s not counting on sales or accolades to justify his career, but rather is pushing himself to make the best music he can and enjoy the process. “If you can let go of the results, you’ll find great peace in your music. Whether it sells 10 million copies or 10, none of the notes have changed. I’m willing to let music be in the moment.”
Gill and Grant each shared a song with the audience. Grant, whose new album Somewhere Down the Road released last week, offered “Find What You’re Looking For,” while Gill sang a song called “Red Words,” inspired by his wife’s strong faith.
Grant said, “I tell my kids that when you experience the Great Other reaching toward you, don’t miss the chance to respond. Years ago I realized that the best things in my life happened outside my plan. Maker of the Universe, feel free to inject your creativity into my plan.” Click here for more photos from the event. Click here to watch the event.
Amy Grant has sold more than 30 million albums and won six Grammy Awards as well as numerous Dove Awards. She has had 17 Top-40 hit songs as well as a string of Contemporary Christian hits. Vince Gill has sold more than 26 million albums and has earned 18 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year twice. Gill is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and has received 19 Grammys.