Jamie Grace is a contemporary Christian artist who in 2012 landed both a Grammy nomination and Dove Award for New Artist of the Year. If she wanted to pack an auditorium in Columbus, I’m sure she wouldn’t have had much of a problem, as long as there was advance marketing.
Instead, the 24-year-old singer and songwriter snuck into town late last week and then invited her fans to a pop-up show, which was held Saturday night at Calvary Baptist Church.
My daughter is a big Jamie Grace fan and has seen other artists promote pop-up concerts online. So I turned to her for an explanation about the whole pop up phenomenon.
She said such concerts are a way for celebrities to connect with their fans on a more intimate level. The artists roll into town unexpectedly, then use social media to alert people about where they will be performing. It’s all spontaneous and organic.
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Sounded good to me, so I went with that explanation.
On March 3, Grace posted a message on Facebook inviting Columbus fans to the pop-up show. The accompanying poster showed her playing an acoustic guitar and read: “Limited seating, tickets only $10.”
My daughter, who attends Calvary Christian School, was asked to help out backstage. My husband and I weren’t as familiar with the artist, whose music tends to appeal to a younger crowd. But we had heard her music on JOY FM 93.3 numerous times. So we decided to attend and looked forward to hearing hits such as “Hold Me,” “Beautiful Day” and “God Girl.”
We weren’t the only ones. When we arrived Saturday night, the church was filled with Jamie Grace fans, many of them little girls wearing “God Girl” T-shirts and dancing to her music. About 300 people attended, and 107.7 (The Truth) showed up to cover the event live.
Grace walked on stage rocking cowgirl boots, a lace skirt and T-shirt, her hair streaked with multiple bright colors. She picked up an acoustic guitar and immediately electrified the crowd with her unique blend of pop, folk and hip-hop sounds, accented with occasional Caribbean and Latin rhythms.
Because the concert was void of the usual fanfare associated with big events, we were able to experience the pure essence of Grace’s rich voice and feel the sheer power of her personality. She captivated the audience with humor and humility, as well as a powerful personal story.
We heard about her home-school years, when people thought she and her sister would become social misfits; what it was like being a 16-year-old trying to navigate the teenage years; her battle with Tourette syndrome; and her struggles now as a single young adult.
She also talked about how she mentors little girls and uses her music to reach them spiritually.
Through it all, Grace said, God has been right there with her, and that’s why she’s a “God Girl.”
At the end of the concert, fans — young and old — lined up for photos, autographs and Jamie Grace memorabilia. My family didn’t feel like standing in line, so we decided to get something to eat, taking two of my daughter’s friends with us.
It turned out to be a pretty nice affair for something that popped up so suddenly.
And I learned to go with the flow.