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February 14, 2012

My First Trip to the Grammys

Grammy nominee Jamie-Grace, 20, had a blast in LA, even though she didn't win

Guest blogger Jamie-Grace Harper, who recently turned 20, was the youngest songwriting nominee at the Grammy Awards, earning a nod for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for “Hold Me,” an insanely catchy duet with tobyMac. We asked Harper – who has risen above her struggles with Tourette’s syndrome – to write about her first trip to the Grammys.

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When the Grammy nominees were announced in November, I wasn’t really paying attention. So when my friend and crazy talented singer Mandisa texted me and said, “Congrats, miss Grammy nominee,” I was pretty sure she was pulling a crazy trick on me. But then I went to the Grammy website and saw my song right there in the middle of some amazingly talented Christian artists. I kind of went crazy!

When the big weekend finally rolled around, it was crazy. I had a Friday night show in North Carolina, and then after some crazy early flights and jet lags, my sister, my bro-in law, and I finally landed in Los Angeles. We met up with our parents who were just as excited as we were about one of our first stops: Tommy’s, our favorite L.A. restaurant (best chili burgers everrrr!). After our chili fix, we were off to pick up my custom-made rhinestone cowboy boots -- designed by my actress-friend Sloane Avery – for Sunday’s big event. They were absolutely stunning, and as a Georgia girl that loves southern gospel and country music, it made me feel "at home" to have my boots on.

I also felt at home because my family was with me; I couldn't imagine it any other way. It was like a homecoming in some ways – my dad, my sister, and I were all born in L. A. Plus my sister sang harmony on “Hold Me.” So I needed my family with me to share the moment. So at about 12 noon on Sunday, we walked downstairs in our fancy clothes and got in a limo to head over to the Grammy's. (It still feels like that sentence is fiction!)

Walking down the red carpet was an amazing privilege. I was able to share a word of encouragement by telling the story behind "Hold Me" with EXTRA, Access Hollywood, and grammy.com. I also did the whole "stand here and smile for 15 photographers" thing – I was crazy nervous but unbelievably excited and honored.

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Afterward, my whole family (pictured at right) headed to the pre-telecast. We sat with our friend Natalie Grant and her husband, Bernie Herms, while they announced the winners. My dear friend Laura Story won the award for our category with her beautiful song "Blessings," and I was so excited for her. She and I have written together a few times and she's always so encouraging. I also had the chance to meet Kirk Franklin, Alison Krauss, Steve Martin, and see some friends like Brandon Heath, Dave Barnes, and Louie Giglio, who later introduced me to Chris Tomlin, who is hilarious. Then we headed over to the "actual” Grammys, running into our producer Chris Stevens on the way.

I sat with my mom at the telecast, where I really enjoyed the performances by Coldplay, The Band Perry, and the Tony Bennett/Carrie Underwood duet. And for the first time, I was absolutely speechless in front of someone when Reba walked out on stage. I own a pair of pink cowboy boots and a purple suitcase from the Reba line as well as some 33s from everyone's favorite redhead.

The road from being a YouTube kid to a Grammy nomination for "Hold Me" has been crazy, and I am so grateful. I’m still freaking out that it actually happened. I could not have done this on my own; I’m so thankful for my family and my music family (tobyMac, Chris Stevens), but most of all for the God I serve who put a dream in my heart, and has given me so many opportunities to fulfill that dream.

If I never get to go to the Grammys again, I'll never forget February 12, 2012. Ever.

Check out Jamie-Grace’s interview with Grammy.com here:

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