Amy Grant was a senior in high school when her debut album took the music industry by surprise.

That self-titled record was, in its way, as seminal and genre-defining as first releases by Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols and Run-DMC. When “Amy Grant” hit shelves in 1977, the Contemporary Christian music category barely existed. Grant’s unexpected popularity suggested that there was an enormous appetite for devotional songwriting and inspirational pop-rock.

Thirty million record sales later, Grant still stands as the most successful artist in the history of the genre. She has spent most of her life in the music business. But she insists she never felt the pressure of public scrutiny when she was breaking in.

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