MIFFLINTOWN - Contemporary Christian singer Jamie Grace was once just a pastor's kid with a YouTube video.
Jamie Grace will bring her "Do Life Big" Tour to Cedar Grove Brethren in Christ Church this Sunday in Mifflintown. The concert begins at 6 p.m. and doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20.
Five years ago, the 22 year-old originally from Atlanta, Ga., would never have dreamed of leading her own concert tour or being under the record label headed by Christian rapper Toby Mac.
Jamie Grace, contemporary Christian singer, will bring her ‘Do Life Big’ tour to Cedar Grove Brethren in Christ Church this Sunday in Mifflintown. The concert begins at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20.
The love of music began for her early in life as her family settled in Atlanta when she was only 2 1/2 years old.
"I've basically been a pastor's kid my whole life," she said this week during a phone interview.
She said she always wanted to be involved in the church one way or another.
"I was like 5 and working on the sound system at church," she said with a laugh.
As she grew, her interests varied as they do for most young girls.
"When I was 7, I wanted to be a circus trainer, a singer and an actress," she said.
But when she was around 13 years old, her heart leaned ever closer toward music. Her mom was the church worship leader and the pre-teen asked her if she could learn more about what she did.
"I always tell young people if you want to be a worship leader, you should walk up to your church's worship leader and say, 'Hey, can we have coffee and just talk about what you do?'" Jamie Grace said, adding that if teens want to be a drummer or a guitarist in a Christian band, they should find someone they admire who plays that instrument and ask them to get together.
As the teen years pressed on for Jamie Grace, she had a yearning to focus more and more on music. She began writing her own material and posting videos of herself singing on YouTube.
When she was around 18 years old, TobyMac happened to catch one of these videos and wanted to meet her.
"I was just like, 'Wow,'" she recalled.
Jamie Grace said the first concert she ever attended was a DC Talk show in which TobyMac was involved.
This made the decision to travel to Nashville even sweeter to the teen. TobyMac was not the only one to see the video and become interested. Country music group Sugarland also showed interest in the teenager as did Alicia Keys.
Christian music is where Jamie Grace wanted to be, and TobyMac was the one to help her get there. After meeting for ice cream at a cafe in Nashville, the superstar rapper signed Jamie Grace to his label, Gotee Records. Her first single, "Hold Me," was a hit on Christian radio immediately.
"It's been pretty crazy," she said ever since that meeting four years ago. "I have people walk up to me when I'm in Target and say "Are you Jamie Grace?' And I ask them 'How did you know that?'"
"I take it as a blessing for sure," she said.
Jamie Grace released her second album, "Ready to Fly," in January. This album, she said, is very much about what is on her heart.
"I always have so much to say. This album could have 100 songs," she said. "Some of the songs I write are just me and the piano and are exactly how it sounds on the record. "
She typically writes a verse and a chorus and then goes to either TobyMac or her sister, Morgan Harper Nichols. Both have co-written much of Jamie Grace's material, and Harper Nichols is on tour with Jamie Grace. She will perform this Sunday at Cedar Grove along with the male group NOW.
Jamie Grace's current hit "Beautiful Day" came together one day in the studio while she sang some melodies with her producer.
"I wrote that song because, when we say something is beautiful, we say it because everything is ok. But in Psalms it says this is the day the Lord has made. It's not just about the days when things are going good," she explained. "God is good in death, life, grieving ... it's still a beautiful day, and God is still worthy of being glorified. He's still holy."
It's these upbeat songs about life and God's work in it that keeps her fans wanting more. Many of those fans are still in junior high school.
She takes the idea of being a role model very seriously. It's a title she holds close to her heart and wants to live up to.
"If I stand up on stage and 350 of the people there are young girls 16 and under - it's all about them," she said.
Jamie Grace said she wants to uplift Christ and uplift others at the same time.
"If that's what I am here to do, then I count it a privilege," she said.
Jamie Grace said she sees these girls at her concerts and meets with them.
"I see them as my little sisters in Christ," she said.
Jamie Grace is also a college graduate with a degree in child development. She has a home next door to her parents and said she is living her dream. Still, she said, she can hardly believe she is living this life God has given her.
"So many people my age are out there wondering what they should do with their life. I am overwhelmed with gratitude," she added, noting she could lose her voice or the radio could stop playing her songs. "But God has given me a stability. I have a full time job. I have my dream job. And I'm a role model to little girls."
Jamie Grace is living each day like it's a beautiful day.