Jamie Grace--Extended Interview

After our interview with Jamie Grace (see the September '14 issue), she had time for a few extra questions.

Clubhouse: How long was your new album, Ready to Fly, percolating? Was it since One Song at a Time came out three years ago?

Jamie: Yeah, it’s pretty funny. I’ve definitely been writing for this record the last three years. But the song “Ready to Fly,” which is the title track of the record, I actually wrote five years ago. So some of the songs too—the ideas—I’ve been thinking about for years. And I just kind of got to the point where I can actually write about it. Sometimes you have an idea you want to write about and you write three or four songs about it. Then finally the fifth song you write and it’s like, “Oh, that’s the good one.” Sometimes it takes a little longer than expected.

Your lyrics are always really clever. Did you write poetry growing up?

Well, I was home-schooled. I definitely had—from 4 or 5 years old—writing assignments in poetry and that kind of thing. So I’ve always been writing, since I was very young. I really got into songwriting once I got to college when I was about 16. So that’s when I got into the concept of writing songs and the idea of structuring something to tell people a story in three verses or less.

Was English your favorite subject in school?

Probably so. Even once I got to college, I loved it. I studied Child and Youth Development, so once I was in college I became fascinated with that kind of stuff. But I really did love English.

There’s a line in “Little Ol’ Me” that says, “Don’t give up, don’t be afraid.” What does that mean to you?

When I was writing “Little Ol’ Me,” I wrote it with my sister, Morgan, and two awesome writers named Juan and Joel. So it’s four of us in total. My sister’s an awesome writer, too. The four of us were just sitting there and we couldn’t decide what we wanted to write about. And my sister said, “You say a lot in interviews about ‘little ol’ me, how could God use little ol’ me?’ ” But God has a really big plan for each and every one of us. Sometimes it can be scary to think that He can use us. I know for me, my mind is blown that God would use me as part of His plan, as part of telling His kids about Him. It’s like, “Why would You use me, God?” That line in the song is where God’s speaking to us, “Don’t give up now. Don’t be afraid.” We are all called and we are all made for something big. And this is not the time to be afraid. This is not the time to be scared, to step down, to give up. This is the time to say, “I am a child of God, and I was called to do His work. And nothing ever will stop me from doing that work.”

Being consistent in living out our faith can be difficult. How can we be more consistent?

Something what’s really important is not doing the right thing for other people. If we choose to do the right thing because our parents are watching, then when we get to a sleepover, it won’t matter anymore. I think it’s important to do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. For me, there are certain movies and TV shows that I wasn’t allowed to watch growing up, and certain songs I wasn’t allowed to listen to. But once I got about 8 or 9 years old, it was no longer, “I’m not allowed to do this.” It was, “I don’t listen to this because this is not something that is encouraging.” Or, “This is not something that is about my Savior.” Or, “This is not appropriate for a child to listen to.”
I had to learn to make those decisions myself. So that way, when I was at a friend’s house and they were playing a music video and doing dances that I didn’t think were good, I didn’t say, “Oh, my mom won’t let me watch this.” I said, “You know, guys, God is still watching. Even though our parents aren’t home and even though the baby sitter’s upstairs reading a book. God’s still watching us. So we shouldn’t do this because we have an accountability to Him.” Our parents won’t always be around to make checkmarks and make sure we’re doing the right thing. And our teachers won’t always be there to give us good grades if we’re doing the right thing. It’s about doing what’s right.

You’ve developed a cool style all your own. How can you stay true to who God created you when you’re being bombarded with so many other messages and images?

Just as an encouragement to girls—this may not sound like an encouragement, but I promise that it is—don’t think that shopping gets any easier as you get older. It’s hard to shop and be modest. So you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone in that. Because it’s really hard to shop for me, even at 22 years old. There are skirts that I want to buy or shirts that I want to buy, but the way they’re cut is too tight or too low or too short. It’s really annoying. But the plus side to that is that we get to be creative. We don’t buy things right off the shelf and wear them. We get to come up with new ways to wear things. Maybe the shirt is too tight, but that means getting to wear a really cool baggy sweater right over it. Then you get to wear two colors. So you mix and match to make something fun. Maybe that skirt is too short, but you wear jeans under it and make a new style. So I think it’s just learning how to take those things that seem like disadvantages and making them into advantages. I deal with this thing all the time. Wanting to shop at the popular stores at the mall, but I get there and say, “I would never wear that. That is not acceptable.” But it gives us an outlet to be creative, and it gives us an outlet to buy two things instead of one. So don’t see it as a bad thing.

How can Clubhouse readers “Do Life Big” like it says in your song?

We should try to live like Jesus lived. He’s amazing. That’s how we can do life big. Take time away from video games and watching TV and go out and serve and love and give. Do something out of the ordinary. Something big. Something you think Jesus would do to love and serve and give. Most of us, fortunately, know what it feels like to be loved and have someone go out of their way to care about us. So take that feeling and go share it with someone else. Go out and just do life big.

Copyright © 2014 by Focus on the Family. Photo © Whitney Huynh; used by permission.