Featured Artist: Audrey Assad

Feb 01 2012

Audrey Assad was born in New Jersey in July 1983, and was raised in a religious Protestant household. She started to play the piano aged 2 and spent her youth moving around New Jersey before settling in Scotch Plains until she was 18. Audrey spent her adolescence being homeschooled, working at her father's businesses, and attending church events.

When Assad was 18 her family moved to Florida and she spent the next six years there. At 19 she briefly attended college and supported herself with odd jobs while beginning her musical career, writing and composing songs for the first time. Assad spent the next five years playing at various venues performing original songs and covers.

Around 2003 Assad recorded a 4-song demo with Drew Middleton, a member of the band Tenth Avenue North at the time. In 2008 when Assad was 24, she decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee to focus on her music career. In Nashville she worked with producers Paul Moak and Phillip LaRue and recorded a 5-song EP, Firefly, which was sold at shows and featured a handwritten cover made of a brown paper bag. Assad supported herself by working as a nanny before meeting fellow musician Matt Maher. Maher took Assad under his wing and brought her to various gigs, where she sang backing vocals and played sets during his shows. This time together around Maher's home base of Phoenix, Arizona, would later prompt Assad to move there from Nashville. During this time Assad started to work as a staff writer for EMI Christian Music Group Publishing, doing songwriting work with other artists.

Before the release of her debut album, Audrey released a three track taster EP called 'For Love Of You', this was a way of introducing people to Sparrow Records' newest female soloist. At the time Audrey was already well known to a number of popular Christian artists, having recorded a song with Jars of Clay for their album, sung vocals on several songs on Matt Maher's 'Alive Again' album, and had her song 'Winter Snow' appear on Chris Tomlin's Christmas album.

Her own debut album, 'The House You're Building', drew attention from CNN and was named Amazon.com's 'Best Christian Music of 2010', while iTunes awarded it 'Breakthrough Album of the Year' for the Christian & Gospel genre. In August, Assad released an exclusive iTunes 'Live From SoHo' album.

Heart'The House You're Building' drew attention from many, including LTTM reviewer Jono Davies who said that Audrey had "amazing soft vocals... yet at the same time the vocals are strong and powerful", he also went on to say "she isn't just a great singer, she knows how to record songs that are powerful, fresh and heartfelt.". Audrey's record company said, "A true songbird and songsmith in one, Audrey Assad weaves lyrics that inspire, challenge and encourage with melodies you’ll want to sing over and over again."

Now ready to release her latest album Heart, Audrey has once again been collaborating with other songwriters and producer Marshall Altman (Brooke Fraser, Natasha Bedingfield). The first single from the album was called 'Sparrow', with Audrey saying "I've always loved the old hymn, 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. Kyle Lee and I rearranged it with a new melody and it's become a really special moment for me, singing it live... it's so simple and yet so beautiful a picture, to know that my life is witnessed in all its frailty and wonder by God - and all of it, even my most secret suffering, matters."

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