This article was found in Nashville's newspaper "The Tennessean"
"Eager To Make Pop Splash"
Christian music star puts faith in Curb
by Tom Roland
Los Angeles- Natalie Grant hates playing for small, intimate audiences.
"I'd rather go to the dentist and have a root canal," she says, with typically unfettered honesty. "I could perform in front
of 50,000 before I could perform in front of 50."
Curb Records has made a point of showcasing her in vulnerable settings. Twice in the past year, she's journeyed from Nashville
to Los Angeles to perform in close quarters for jaded industry types, many of whom were just as likely attending for the free
lunch as for a chance to hear her sing.
"As uncomfortable as it may make me," she reasons, "whenever they have an opportunity for (me) to actually sing, especially
with just a guitar player, or even without all the tracks and the instruments and everything else, people can go, 'This is
real. This is actually real singing.'"
is absolutely real, a Nashville-based Christian artist with an impressive dynamic range and sense enough to employ it judiciously.
But the L.A. showcases are part of a game plan her associates hope will create a career shift. After recording one album each
for two other labels in business relationships that didn't quite work, Grant was signed last year by Curb, which envisions
her as a pop artist.
got a gift," label president Mike Curb says. "She can do just about anything she wants to do with her voice. It's a magnificent
instrument, and that voice can be successful in many different marketplaces."
If Curb succeeds in his plan, it won't be the first time he's taken a female artist from a Nashville-centric format and made
her relevant in a pop format. "We would take her to the world," Curb maintains, "the same way we did with LeAnn Rimes."
has built her credentials in Nashville's second-most-popular genre. Widely proclaimed as Christian music's newest diva, she
grabbed a Dove nomination for female vocalist of the year from the Gospel Music Association after a scant two albums.
from her third and newest album, Deeper Life, which was released last winter, are still charting well with strong
contemporary Christian airplay.
album also mixes black gospel roots with overt pop production, and one of its songs, Days Like These, appeared in
a key moment of the movie A View From the Top earlier this year.
"They have successfully crossed (Rimes) over to pop, and they did it with a soundtrack song, so in that way, I definitely
think that Curb knows the formula," Grant says.
When her second record deal folded she says Mike Curb was on the phone within 24 hours. "When Gid closes a door, he opens
a big, fat window," she says, laughing. "It was the fastest record deal ever made."
was prepared to market her album, which had already yielded successful singles in the Christian business, as a pop product
last summer. But with Grant itching to get back in the studio, the label decided to wait. With the stop-and-start disappointments
she's already experienced in her career, the wait seems worth it. For the first time, she says, Deeper Life
is a strong portrait of her as an artist and as a person.
feel like I've matured artistically and creatively," Grant says. With that maturity, she knows the path Curb is taking could
very well pay dividends, giving her a platform in both pop and Christian culture. She faces that possibility with an appropriate
balance of conviction in herself and resignation to other forces
"I'm driven to make this work," she insists, "but if it doesn't, my life isn't over."