Ready to Fly is the follow-up to Jamie Grace’s highly successful debut album Hold Me, which was released in 2011. The young artist from Atlanta, Georgia was discovered by tobyMac via her YouTube channel, and Hold Me earned her a Grammy nomination and the 2012 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year.
I met Jamie Grace at Walt Disney World shortly after her discovery by tobyMac. The Magic Kingdom hosts a Christian music festival, Night of Joy, every year, and Grace and tobyMac were on hand for a special concert for youth leaders who would be bringing groups from their churches to the big event later in the year.
It truly seems like God was at work when he led tobyMac to discover Grace’s YouTube channel and give the talented young artist a boost. She told me that when he initially called, she refused to believe it was really THE tobyMac! Happily, he called back and convinced her that it wasn’t a joke, and the rest is history.
Jamie Grace is known for her high energy music, and her Ready to Fly album is no exception. It carries a powerful message, and the songs are sure to perk you up and inspire you or give you a boost of faith when you’re having a rough day.
Grace has a phenomenal success story, but it also adds a lot of pressure. Would Ready to Fly be a worthy successor to such a stellar debut? It seems as though so many new artists come out of the gate strong, only to falter the second time around.
Thankfully, for Grace, the answer is yes. It stands strong on its own and even reflects some maturing of style and a bit of experimentation. Grace dabbles a bit in a dance sound, but most of the songs are true to the style she established on Hold Me.
The whole album is strong, but it has a few stand-out songs. One of my favorites is “Beautiful Day,” which is almost like a morning affirmation. I enjoy reading affirmation books to start my day in a positive mindset, and listening to this song early gives me the same kind of feeling. It’s an especially great Sunday morning song as you’re preparing to go to church, with lyrics like, “It’s a love so true, I could never get enough of You, this feeling can’t be wrong, I’m about to get my worship on. Take me away, it’s a beautiful day.”
I also enjoyed the track “Every Bit of Lovely,” which is just as good for its message as for its music. It’s all about being yourself rather than following the latest trends and fads. That’s a message that’s sorely needed in a culture of temptation that constantly beckons young Christian women to be like celebrities who are glorified for their raunchy behavior.
The title track and song “Fighter” is packed with inspiration for anyone who has faced struggles and who needs a bit of encouragement to keep up the good fight, with strong lyrics like, “He’s a fighter, got that fire, when they thought he’d fade away. Throws a fist up, as he gets up, feelin’ stronger everyday” Just about every Christian has gone through those rough times, so that song is immediately relatable and inspiring.
On “White Boots” we get a nice little treat. Morgan, Grace’s older sister, joins her on the vocals. We also hear from Manwell from Group 1 Crew and Jason Crabb on this album.
There isn’t much to critique about this album. It’s a solid effort that provides a great block of upbeat, inspirational music. The only thing I would change is to tone down the music a bit, as it occasionally threatened to overpower Grace’s voice on some of the tracks. Fortunately, she’s a powerful young lady herself, so she holds her own and it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment.
The album has 14 tracks, including ‘Just a Friend,’ which features Manwell of Group 1 Crew, and an acoustic version of ‘Fighter’ with Jason Crabb:
1. So Amazing (prelude)
2. Beautiful Day
3. Just a Friend
5. Little Ol’ Me
6. To Love You Back
7. Do Life Big
8. Every Bit of Lovely
9. White Boots
10. The Waiting
11. My First Love
12. Always You
13. Ready to Fly (Avery’s Song)
14. Fighter (acoustic with Jason Crabb)
In the song “Do Life Big,” Grace says “So go and do life big, I wanna do life big,” and she’s a strong young woman who takes those words to heart. Expect to see big things from her in the future as she continues to build a solid reputation on the Christian music scene.