Sandi Patty has been surrounded by music her whole life. Singing her first solo at age 2 was probably a good indication that the road to singers-ville was promising. Now as the most-awarded female vocalist in Christian music, as well as winner of four Billboard Music Awards, five — yes, five — Grammys and 40 Dove Awards, her 30-year career seems to be unstoppable. With more than 11 million records sold and another album ready for release in September, Patty can do no wrong. And now, she’s coming to humble old Gainesville. See a can’t-miss show on Aug. 18 at Westside Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m.
What led up to your first Grammy?
A: “It was the duet with (Larnelle) Harrison, and I did “He’s More Than Wonderful.” I mean, getting that first one was pretty special. It’s nice when the people in the same industry you’re in believe in you and support you. It’s like they’re saying, ‘Keep it out.’ It’s a wonderful source of encouragement. It gave me the confidence to just, ya know, keep moving on.”
Have you ventured into any other music besides Christian?
A: “Well, gospel and inspirational music is a very heartfelt part of what I do. I also grew up listening to a lot of Broadway. I did do ‘Broadway Stories’ a few years ago where I sang Broadway songs, but it was more of personal project than a career change. But people love Broadway music. It’s just beautiful, from ‘The Sound of Music’ to ‘Never Walk Alone.’ It’s been fun to get to sing that across the country. Again, I think my heart is most with Christian and inspirational music, though.”
Who dubbed you “The Voice,” and what does that mean to you?
A: “I bet it was some promoter who said, ‘Hey this is pretty catchy,’ so it kind of stuck. I don’t know if that is just how I’d like to be remembered, but I do love singing so much. I was a shy kid, and with singing I could say what was in my heart. It’s different singing in a bedroom when no one’s looking, I had to work and look through that shyness. Probably since I was about, well my dad said I sang my first solo in church when I was 2 years old. My dad was a minister of music, and mom was a church pianist. I was the one sitting in the front row at church, in the church choir, piano lessons. At first I actually wanted to be a school teacher. I knew music was hard work; I just wanted to get a job that would be backup of sorts. But in college I started singing with Bill and Gloria Gaither, so that really gave me my real love of being able to sing in front of people. I was a backup singer with a well-known gospel group and sang solo from time to time with them. That really seemed to open doors.
How will your new album “Everlasting” for Target released Sept. 3 be similar or different than previous ones? And why the two-year break between this and your last album?
A: “I’m a mom of eight kids. I didn’t birth all of them, but I raised them. As they grow and new seasons pass and all that, I love being home and taking care of my family. That’s why there are a lot of breaks between records. This new project has a lot of well-known hymn titles and inspirational music. I love the simplicity of these arrangements and the laid back feel of them. I definitely picked songs for the album that I grew up with as well as new, wonderful worship songs that really needed to be on the project, and I’m so excited that Target picked it up.”