“Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come when you can be one?” – Natalie Grant
This, Grant’s tenth album, is rooted in a spirit of hope and strength but also one of urgency. “I had an overwhelming sense of, ‘I have songs and messages brewing in my heart that I have to get out.’ Being in such a strong and positive place in my own life has made me want to create songs that would remind people you can’t always change your circumstances, but you can always change your perspective, and with a change in perspective, you can find joy and freedom amidst the struggle.”
Some of that urgency came from within: for the first time in ages, Grant felt healthy both inside and out; she’d shed 40 pounds — unveiled on the August 17th cover of “First For Women” magazine — she’d launched a jewelry line called NG by Natalie Grant, featuring items inscribed with inspiring phrases, and she was donating a portion of the proceeds of that line to Hope for Justice, a nonprofit that restores children who are victims of human trafficking, an organization Grant founded in 2005 as Abolition International.
“One of the biggest problems in our entire culture, especially American culture, I believe, stems from a sense of entitlement,” she explains. “I’m entitled to a good life, I’m entitled to success. When we have a sense of entitlement in our own life, we can’t stop to think about what somebody else needs, because we’re too busy being upset about our own unmet expectations. I think it all comes down to a change in perspective, when you instead ask yourself, ‘What can I do’ instead of ‘what can they do?’ ”
That idea surfaces again and again throughout ‘Be One.’
Inspired by soulfully-elegant and innovative artists of her upbringing like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, coupled with some 80’s inspired production— Grant weaves original melodies and arrangements with the substantial and meaningful lyrics she’s become known for.
Grant soars on the powerful title track, reminiscent at times of Whitney, while on the sparkling “Symphonies,” which recalls the avant-pop of Sia, she declares, “I won’t let my fear resound/ chaos, you won’t drown me out” as strings soar and swell behind her. On the bright, ringing “Good Day” she sings, “When everything is changing, the truth is still the same/…I’m gonna dance to the beat of ‘Amazing Grace.’”
And on the softly-driving “Love Has Won,” she exhorts, “Lift up your head” over tense, throbbing electronics.
Throughout, Grant’s message is clear: we all have the ability to persevere and to triumph, change is not beyond our grasp, but sometimes we need to take the first steps. “So many people are panicking over what they perceive to be a greater presence of darkness in the world,” Grant says. “To me, it’s not a greater presence of darkness — it’s an absence of light.” Throughout, ‘Be One’ challenges listeners to be that light, and gives them the encouragement to do so.
“‘Be One’ is the first time since my very first record where I led the process,” says Grant.
The record’s forward-thinking sound was as important as its message. “One of my goals on this record was to create something that was contemporary, yet at the same time classic. I wanted to make it sound fresh, but still feel like home.”
She accomplishes just that by co-writing seven of the album’s 11 tracks and enlisting her husband Bernie Herms (currently producing Barbra Streisand and Josh Groban’s next projects) as producer and featuring her brother Steve on “Nothing But The Blood” and daughters, Grace and Bella (twins, 8) and Sadie (4) on “Ever Be.”
Those moments are what ‘Be One’ is all about — focusing energy on the things in life that truly matter, turning the impossible into possible by changing your own perspective, and not simply waiting for a miracle, but deciding to be one. “When you take your mind off your own problems and ask, ‘How can I be a light in the world? How can I stop saying ‘You should’ and start saying ‘I will?’ I will do more than talk about hope and love – I will live a life that demonstrates hope and love.”
Over the course of her 16-year career, Grant has seen the results of her commitment. Her nine albums have netted her a total of 25 Dove Award nominations (and eight wins), and she has received four Grammy nominations, including one for her last #1 album ‘Hurricane.’ ‘Be One’ is Grant’s most evocative and personal album to date, one designed to bring a message of hope and light to listeners everywhere.
‘Be One’ Track Listing:
1. Be One
2. Good Day
3. King Of The World
4. Love Has Won
8. Never Miss A Beat
9. Ever Be
10. More Than Anything
11. Nothing But The Blood