A metro Atlanta woman is making a name for herself in the Christian music world. She picked up a Grammy nomination with her debut single, and a hit from her sophomore album cracked the top ten of the gospel and contemporary Christian radio charts.
Despite all the success, Jamie Grace Harper remembers tough times. She's drawing on those painful experiences as a way to serve others.
"I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at 11. That's where my life changed from being this little girl that had big dreams to feeling like this little girl where everything was taken from her. Over the years as I recovered from my depression, I learned how to deal with my illness. I learned that one of the main things helping me was my family: my parents, my sister, my church family and music," said Jamie Grace.
When Jamie Grace realized that music was a powerful way to bring healing to her own life, she thought she could use it to help others, too.
"But I was thinking one person," said Jamie Grace. "So I started doing YouTube videos and encouraging people. It started being like 50 people. And then it turned into a couple hundred people."
Jamie Grace's success continued to grow, and she was eventually signed by Gotee Records. However, she always remembered what she learned as a pastor's daughter, to make serving others her top priority.
"So growing up, we'd have a kid come and live with us while their parents were incarcerated or in rehab for a year," says Jamie Grace. "We always had kids living with us, always had a family living with us. We were always being blessed with the privilege to serve people and to love on people. So when I became an adult I just wanted to do that more. So we started the Jamie Grace Foundation."
This past summer, Jamie Grace and her sister went on tour. Every church where they performed was in need of money, for things like feeding the homeless, funding low income schools or helping people with huge medical bills.
"So instead of the money that we would have used for a tour bus or to pay us, we turned around and gave it back to the church. Most of our team was out to volunteer. Not everyone got paid. And we were okay with that."
Giving back to others has paid off for Jamie Grace, too. She'll never forget the moment she learned she was nominated for a Grammy.
"I said to my mom, 'Mom, I just got a text that I'm a Grammy nominee,' and my mom started screaming, and she's like, ‘What's a Grammy?’"
Jamie says, "When my dream of doing music started it was never to get a record deal or get on the radio or any of those things. It was more of just, I had music in my life that blessed me and I wanted to hopefully do that for other people."
Jamie Grace's current single is called "Fighter."
Her sister, Morgan Harper Nichols, has also been signed by TobyMac's label, Gotee Records.
Morgan has a single out now called "Storyteller."