By Tracy Riggs
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Making it in the music business takes time and hard work, but there are still stories of being “discovered” — and that’s part of 20-year-old Christian music artist Elizabeth Grace’s story.
Grace, who lives in Birmingham, released her debut single “Like Myself” last year, and it quickly climbed the charts, reaching No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot AC/CHR list and spending seven weeks at No. 1 on The Hot Chart.
Always musically inclined, Grace began piano lessons at a young age and soon realized she could play by ear. However, until about two years ago, only a few knew she could sing.
“I was really shy and really awkward, very introverted,” she said.
It took her proud mom begging her to sing and play at her home-school graduation ceremony before others realized her gift. She sang “Hills and Valleys” by Tauren Wells, and afterwards classmates and friends told her how great her voice was. They also asked if she was recording anything.
“I didn’t even think I could sing that well,” Grace said.
She kept practicing music by being active with a group of singer-songwriters at her church, but getting into the music business was “just a God-thing,” she said.
Grace uploaded a cover of a Sarah Reeves song to Instagram. Jeff Owen of Tenth Avenue North heard it and invited her to Nashville. That led to interest from several record companies.
Signing with Dream Records was a turning point, she said.
“It felt very surreal for me because this something I never expected to happen in my life. I never anticipated going into music,” she said.
Now she’s in Nashville once or twice a month working on her new album with other songwriters, including Owen, producer/songwriter Justin Amundrud and another Birmingham native, singer/songwriter Ray Ervin.
When Grace isn’t playing the piano or working on her songs, she works in a coffee shop part-time, hangs out with friends and plays video games. But there’s not a lot of time for those activities, as most of her time is dedicated to music.
To date she has released six singles as an indie artist and has been featured on Ervin’s single “The Ones.” Grace will be releasing a second single with Dream Records this summer and her debut album is set to be released in early October.
Despite her busy schedule and newfound fame, Grace’s main goal is still to help others. She went through many times when she wondered what her purpose was — or if she even had a purpose.
Connecting through music
During those times Grace, whose home church is New Life Church, a pentecostal congregation in Birmingham, clung to music and to John 13:7: “Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’”
And through this journey, Grace said she has become more self-reflective and wants to help others know they aren’t alone.
Her encouragement for fans is this: “Never be afraid to ask for help, whether that’s from a therapist or a pastor or even me. … Don’t stay trapped in your own mind.”
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