Natalie Grant is one of Christian music’s hottest stars, with her newsest album hitting #1 on the Billboard “Top Christian Artists” chart and #17 on the overall album chart in its first week of release.

That success isn’t a surprise for a singer who has dominated the music scene in recent years. But even for such a veteran artist, Hurricane was a bit of a creative risk.

The songs on the album are very personal and touch on the issues Grant has been wrestling with in recent years. She sings about the challenges of balancing motherhood and a career, her doubts about her skills as a mother and her battle with post-partum depression after the birth of her third child. It’s an ambitious album but one that manages to be both meaningful and entertaining.

“This record is full of music that is positive and bright, both musically and lyrically, which is almost the antitheses to how I have felt for the last few years, but it is the result of hope and faith,” Grant said in press release that accompanied the album. “Even when everything seems dark, my faith keeps the light on. I feel these songs help me to tell that truth in a fresh way.”

Like many Christians, Grant has struggled to find a balance in her life and in several recent interviews she has said that the subject of depression was an especially difficult problem to admit publicly.

It’s easy to feel as if you’ve failed somehow on a personal level and that the depression would lift, if only your relationship was stronger with God. With this album, Grant talks about the importance of being part of a community of believers. It’s only through our relationship with family, friends and with God that we can finally find a sense of personal worth and peace.

But despite some of the heavy subjects, Hurricane is also a joyful album with songs that can lift up the spirit. And that ability is part of the reason Grant has been a force on the Christian music scene for nearly a decade. She has the ability to combine thoughtful and very personal lyrics with a sound that seems contemporary while still tackling the important issues facing Christians in an increasingly secular world.

Hurricane also marks the beginning of a new phase of Grant’s career as she expands beyond her successful music career. She recently headlined a concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy and will head out on the road for a series of concerts with Steven Curtis Chapman.

Meanwhile, Grant also just wrapped filming the upcoming Christian film Persecuted, in which she portrays the wife of a framed evangelist. That film is expected to be released in 2014.

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