Award-winning contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter Natalie Grant will be in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Her performance in Alice McDermott Convocation Center is in conjunction with the fifth annual 24-hour Pray-a-Thon sponsored by University Mission and Ministry. Cosponsors include UIW’s Office of Residence Life, Office of Campus Life and K Love 91.3 FM radio station.
Admission is free.
The Pray-a-thon was the “brainchild of (alumni) Lauren Wapplehorst” said Beth Villarreal, director of University Mission and Ministry. “(We) co-sponsored the event with her the first year and then assumed sponsorship of it after that.”
Mission and Ministry “has wanted to bring a popular Christian musician for a few years now,” Villarreal said. “And this year, senior Aleck Rios approached UMM, UESP, and Residence Life with the opportunity to bring Natalie Grant to campus. This is an amazing opportunity for our entire campus to experience a wonderful musician and music that will inspire people of all faiths. Another connection we made this year was with KLOVE Christian radio station 91.3. KLOVE is promoting the Pray-a-thon and the concert. This provides us with a wonderful new way to connect to the San Antonio community.”
Grant, a native of Seattle, Wash., received the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year four consecutive years (2006-2009) and also won last year. In 2012, she also received a Grammy nomination for her performance of “Alive.”
Grant, 41, first started in contemporary Christian music when she auditioned for the traveling music group, Truth. Later she moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue her solo career where she signed with Benson Records in 1997 and released her self-titled debut in 1999.
She left Benson for Pamplin Music soon after and released the album “Stronger” in 2001. When Pamplin folded, Grant ended up at Curb Records where she has made five solo albums, starting with “Deeper Life” in 2003. Her breakthrough album, “Awaken,” released in 2005, went gold. Then came “Relentless” in 2008. Her last album, “Love Revolution,” was released in 2010.
Besides her music, Grant is noted for her fight against human trafficking – a struggle she began waging after she and her producer-husband, Bernie Helms, made a trip to India in 2004 where they witnessed what went on in the red-light district and what is being done to stop it.
The India trip inspired her founding in 2005 of The Home Foundation, which has since evolved into Abolition International, an international organization with the aim of eradicating sex trafficking through aftercare accreditation, advocacy, and education and provision of restoration homes for victims of sex trafficking. Last October, Grant received the 2012 Bishop Ketteler Award for Social Justice from the Sisters of Divine Providence, who honored her for her work against human trafficking.
Grant also credits her India experience for bringing “a new passion and direction to (my) music,” she said. Instead of focusing only on what song might be a hit, Grant said she focuses on songs that will inspire, give hope, and motivate others to make their lives matter.
Following an interview on “The 700 Club” where Grant revealed her struggles with bulimia, she wrote a book, “The Real Me: Being the Girl God Sees,” in 2005 where she shares how God
helped her get over the eating disorder.
Grant was a speaker and performer on the Revolve Tour, a conference for teen girls from Women of Faith, and she starred in the Gospel Music Channel’s made-for-television movie, “Decision,” in 2011.
Grant — who was told she could never have children — and her husband have three daughters: 5-year-old fraternal twins Grace Ana and Isabella Noelle, and Sadie Rose, 2.