Recording Artist Denis Grady

By Michael K. Jones

A Brief History

Born June 25, 1952, Canadian Denis Grady's blends Country, Gospel, Pop and Folk music. On Nov 18, 2000 at the U.C.M.V.A. awards in Washington, DC Denis Grady won "Best Country Song of the Year" and "Best Country Album of the Year" Voted "GOSPEL ARTIST OF THE YEAR" by the Alberta Recording Industry Association for his first CD entitled "Running Too Long"

Interview with Denis Grady

Q. Could you tell us a little about your albums and style of music?

A. I have one album out, "Running Too Long" released in 1998. The recording is a culmination of work the previous 20 years. I was writing a lot of songs and finding my way spiritually. It seems clear that the timing of the release was on God's schedule. In retrospect I realized that I needed to be prepared to embark on the vocation as a Christian artist. Two key areas are the music quality and the quality of my walk with Christ.

The style of my music is a mix of country and pop.

People often think of Jackson Browne when they hear some of my songs. He has been a major influence and I consider it a compliment to be compared to him. I grew up in the 1960's so the Beatles were a big influence.

I must also add that my older brother Paul who has had his songs recorded by Anne Murray and Emmylou Harris, has always been a great teacher.

Q. Is there one piece of work that you have done musically that remains a favorite?

A. I have a song entitled, "Eyes of Love" on the CD that I wrote for two friends who where getting married. We are close and had shared a lot of healing together. The song acknowledges the generous fidelity of God when we experience serious pain and abandonment. I had been listening to an Irish group, " Stockton's Wing" and they influenced the melody. It is a comfortable song to sing and the message seems to stay current in ministering to people who are dealing with depression.

Q. Is there any new material you are working on that we can look forward too I the future?

A. I am working on my second cd. I am very excited about the songs. I have an excellent producer in Calgary, Canada, Jerry Proppe, who has a great talent in arranging and engineering. I feel a challenge to improve in all facets, better lyrics with a relevant spiritual message and good musical contrast in the melodies.

In a way the first cd initiated a dialogue with an audience. The second cd must continue this relationship maintaining depth and a sense of connection.

Q. When you are on stage performing to a Christian audience, what are you feeling inside and what is the message that you hope you are sending?

A. When I am on stage performing, I always pray that the Spirit be in control. The image of vessel really helps. I am more comfortable performing these days thanks to the confidence that the Lord gives, I am not afraid of making mistakes. I must prepare for each concert by practicing and praying. It is an awesome experience to be looking people in the eye as I am singing and silently saying to them, God loves you, you are His precious child, you are okay!!

Q. Could you tell us what you feel to be the highlight of your career thus far?

A. I have several highlights. I was playing a concert in Calgary with my good buddy Jerry Aull from Atlanta. Jerry is an amazing wonderful brother. There were some mentally handicapped people from L'Arche in the audience. One of the men started banging on a tambourine during my song "Thank You Lord". His worker tried to get him to stop, but I had noticed that his tambourine was on the beat so I asked him to come up on stage. Well two of his friends joined us. One girl was playing the spoons, very well and another one was dancing and singing, though she wasn't sure of the words.

My soul was flooded with delirious joy! We just kept playing the song and the audience got right into with us.

Another high light was in Piacenza, Italy. I was playing to 2500 young people who were on their way to World Youth Day in Rome. They just started dancing to the music and having fun. About 20 of them came up on stage and joined arms. There was this great spiritual energy happening all over.

Q. As a Roman Catholic could you share some of your thoughts about your love for the Blessed Mother?

A. I have loved Mary since childhood. I saw the film Our Lady of Fatima when I was 8 years old and was awed by it. I try to say the rosary daily and we have many icons of Mary in our home. The mysteries really draw me to Jesus in a real way. My wife Wendy & I attended an apparition in Schio Italy last August. This really shook my earlier relationship and thinking about Mary. I play a lot of Protestant churches and have encountered some blatant hostility about Catholics and Mary. After Schio I have felt more deeply assured that God indeed has Mary at work to intercede for us. I believe more deeply in her messages to comfort us and show us the way. I think of my relationship with my earthly mother, who has been such an amazing gift in my life. I magnify this experience with Mary. I have started to write some songs for Mary to honour her for saying yes to God and being the mother of Jesus .She has promised in time to reveal to all humanity her role in God's plan of salvation. I must put that ahead of my fear of rejection from my Protestant brothers and sisters who do not understand who she really is. I have felt her grace at work in my life this past year and I am excited because it is so real to me now.

Q. As Catholic's we have many devotions, is there one that is close to your heart and could you tell us what it means to you?

A. I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

My parents for years had two pictures in our home of these images. I have many childhood memories of praying before them. The essence of the love of God radiates from the heart of Jesus. For me it is an eternal flow of God's mercy, love and light. In all my prayers I feel a deep consolation in going to Jesus, believing that from His heart is pure grace. I feel the virtue of purity from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I did not always understand the power of this grace, but in the past two years it is something that I ask for constantly.

Q. It seems that most of us have a conversion story that has brought us back to the Church, could you share some of your testimony?

A. I had a conversion experience in 1984. I was 32 years old and addicted to drugs and alcohol. In my mid teen years I had become rebellious and confused. I tried to stay with the Church as best I could. I was in alot of trouble and feeling like a hypocrite. I came to a place of complete defeat and it was the worse pain of my life. I kept trying to find an easy way out but until I admitted defeat nothing changed. By the grace of God I got clean and sober in 1984. I stayed active in the Church but in the early 1990's started attending a Protestant denomination because there was a very strong community spirit. I would still go to Mass but was not working on my Catholic faith. Through circumstance I started going to morning Mass everyday at St. Mary's Cathedral in Calgary in 1996. I had an experience before the Blessed Sacrament one morning where I caught myself treating Jesus like Santa Claus, I was just asking Him to fulfill my selfish will. When this revelation hit me, I just broke down crying. I started to see Jesus in this quiet way and it has been wonderful.

I am very committed to the Catholic Church and have taken several courses to learn more of our rich history and tradition.

Q. The highlight of the Mass is receiving Communion, can you describe to Medjugorje USA visitors how receiving the Eucharist makes you feel?

A. Receiving the Eucharist has become central to my life. I try to attend Mass everyday. In the past my thinking was, "Won't God be impressed when He looks up my record" but now that has nothing to do with it. I now approach it as, coming to the Throne of Christ and quietly and reverently presenting myself to Him as His child and servant. I know that my inner house must be clean for Him to come in and dwell. I believe with all my heart that He fully enters my being and as a result, His voice speaks from my soul. The stillness is important so I can listen to what He wants. There is sweetness in the desire to do His will. I know that I am nothing without Him. It is a truly awesome mystery that He chooses to come to us in this way.

Q. There have been many Marian apparitions throughout History, can you tell us if there is one apparition that stand out in your mind and why you feel a closeness to that apparition?

A. The apparitions of Fatima really touched me as a child. I understood better who I was praying to when I said the Hail Mary. I have some friends who have been to Medjugorje and their lives have been profoundly affected.

My good buddy Roberto Bignoli had a tremendous conversion experience there. I have read about those apparitions and have headed the messages.

I attended an apparition in Schio Italy as I indicated earlier and that has affected Wendy and I. We are spreading the word to our community in Canada. The experience in Schio was internal for me. I came to a deeper belief that Mary indeed is loving us by her warnings and messages of assurance if we repond to the will of God.

Q. Do you have any thoughts or impressions about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje?

A. I have been aware of Medjugorje since the 1980's and have read some of the messages. I hope to visit some day. It seems clear that there is an international message that God is sending through Mary and Medjugorje.

Q. If you could sit and talks to the young people in this world, what message would you bring?

A. If I could sit and talk to the young people in this world I would encourage them to seek a relationship with God and to be very wary of the ways of the world.

Q. What are your greatest hopes for this world?

A. My greatest hopes for this world is that the light of Christ shine everywhere. I believe that the world can still be transformed to an amazing place if all of us surrender to the will of God.

Q. Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview?

A. Thank you Michael for this opportunity and for the inspiration to get closer to our precious Mother. Keep up the great work that you are doing.

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