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Members include vocalists Heather Floyd (born 1970 in Abilene, TX); Denise Jones (born 1969 in Norman, OK, married to Stuart Jones); Terry Jones (b. 1970 in Marion County, CA; married to Chris Jones); and Shelley Phillips (born circa 1969 in Belleville, IL; married to David Breen). Addresses: Record company--Word Records, 3319 West End Avenue, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37203; (615) 385-9673, ext. 3210.
Point of Grace, Christian rock's glamorous and wholesome female quartet, followed their dreams into pop-gospel singing and attained an astounding level of success in a remarkably short period of time. The group, which consists of Denise Jones, Heather Floyd, Shelley Phillips-Breen, and Terry Jones, released their debut album, Point of Grace, in 1994. Six songs from the album reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Contemporary Christian chart. Point of Grace was hailed by the New York Times as a harbinger of the future and an indication that the public wants to listen to messages of hope, redemption, faith, and inspiration. Lynn Keesecker, vice president of the group's label, Word Records, told Bruce Sims of Gulf Coast Newspapers, "We are overwhelmed by the success that Point of Grace has accomplished in such a short time ... and foresee the group as attaining a position of major influence in contemporary Christian music."
Nicholas Davidoff of the New York Times described Point of Grace as, "a cleverly derivative confection adapted for Christian teen- age consumption from a series of mainstream pop girl-group templates: the Andrews Sisters, the Supremes and En Vogue."
Terry Jones and Denise Jones are not related, they merely happened to marry men with the same last name. While in high school, Jones, Jones, and Floyd formed a teen trio in their Norman, OK, church. The three women then attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR, together as education and music majors, and sang as a trio within a larger group called The Oklahoma Girls. Heather Floyd and Denise Jones had been friends since fifth grade, and they met Terry Jones in eighth grade. Their musical trio was so popular that the women decided to tour local churches on their own in 1991 as the Ouachitones. Shelley Phillips was Denise Jones's roommate at OBU at the time, and she asked if she could join the band as they toured, so the trio became a quartet. They switched to the name Say So, which stemmed from the biblical line "If you are redeemed of the Lord say so," and began singing simply for the fun of it. Denise Jones told the Springfield News-Sun's Lawrence Calder Trump, "We thought it would be fun to spend the summer singing at youth camps and festivals ... at the end of the summer people kept calling us to sing at this banquet and that, and we just kept doing it."
During the summer of 1992, the Say So quartet traveled to Estes Park, CO, to compete in the Christian Artists Seminar, where they met an executive from Word Records. The band was invited to visit Nashville for a demo tape. Word Records then signed the band, at which point they changed their name to Point of Grace. The band's name was inspired by a line that C.S. Lewis wrote: "Christians live each day on the point of God's grace." Word Records is currently the largest company dealing in Christian music in the world.
Floyd told Natalie Nichols of the Tulsa World, "We only planned to do it for fun for those couple of months....We went out and were so well-received it just snowballed. Radio just embraced us. We weren't doing it to have Number 1 records, but rather to get the message out, and we're doing just that."
The 1993 debut Point of Grace album became the strongest-selling debut album in Christian music; the six No. 1 singles from the album rendered Point of Grace ahead of Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul in the record books--each of whom had four No. 1 hits from their debut releases. According to Billboard magazine, Point of Grace was the first debut album of any genre to have six No. 1 hit singles. The singles on the band's debut release that reached No. 1 on Billboard's Contemporary Christian chart were "I'll Be Believing," "One More Broken Heart," "Jesus Will Still Be There," "Faith, Hope, and Love," "I Have No Doubt," and "No More Pain". The band received a Dove Award for New Artist of the Year in 1994 and a Favorite New Artist Award from the America's Christian Music Award judges.
Point of Grace's second album, The Whole Truth, released in 1995 within 20 months of their debut album, had three No. 1 hits on the Contemporary Christian chart: "The Great Divide," "Dying to Reach You," and "Gather at the River." A review of the album in USA Weekend concluded, "...Vocal-driven girl pop a la Wilson Phillips.... Incites fits of humming." Following the release of The Whole Truth Point of Grace sold a total of 500,000 units overall by July of 1995, and the band's second album held the No. 1 position on the SoundScan Christian retail chart in The CCM Update for 13 weeks. When the group tours, they generally play to between 1,500 and 3,000 people each performance. The group released an album featuring original recordings by some of gospel music's top artist, titled My Utmost for His Highest, and received a Dove Award for Special Event Album of the Year in 1996.
In 1996 the group released Life, Love & Other Mysteries in conjunction with a book of the same title, published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books. The book details the life story of each group member, and offers inspirational advice to their fans. The release of the book signaled a marketing position for Point of Grace beyond their music; the band was popular enough to offer collective advice and wholesome enough to serve as a Christian example. "It was so obvious ... that they are clearly the future of contemporary Christian music," Sue Carswell, a senior editor at Pocket Books said, "Christian pop is the next sensation and is coming into its own much like the country music industry has done." In 1996 Point of Grace garnered four additional Dove Awards, including Group of the Year.
When Christian artists such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith have crossed over into the mainstream market, they have been perceived as having moved afield of their Christian roots. Point of Grace, however, has the potential and resolve to appeal to a mainstream market while retaining their initial vision and purpose. Terry Jones told Release magazine's Douglas McKelvey, "What we know about is growing up in the church and being raised in Christian homes. That's us. That's our story." Word/Epic Records distributed Point of Grace's product into the mainstream market after the success of their first album. Denise Jones told Calder Trump, "We never planned to cross over (to pop music). We're not out to judge anybody. We just want to say hey, this worked for us, maybe it could work for you."
Point of Grace's ideas are worked into rhymes and melodies by more than 35 songwriters. The band also serves as the spokespeople for Mercy Ministries of America, a shelter for unwed mothers and troubled girls. Paul Moore, co-head of the William Morris Agency's Nashville office and the agent responsible for Point of Grace, told CCM Update, "Every department at William Morris--film, television, commercials, soundtrack, literary and even theatrical--is exploring ideas for Point of Grace. They are so incredibly marketable."
Point of Grace's Shelley Phillips told Time magazine's Patrick E. Cole, "I read John Grisham books. I watch Friends. We're not so separated from regular girls. We tell people to give the music a listen and give it a chance."
Heather Floyd summed up the group's philosophy when she told Camerin Courtney of Today's Christian Woman, "Our ministry and success are way beyond us. We're just four girls who like to sing and got together, and God has somehow blessed us. He's the one--not us--making the impact on others."
by B. Kimberly Taylor
Point of Grace's Career
Jones, Jones, and Floyd formed a teen trio in their Norman, OK, church in high school. The three women attended Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR, as education and music majors; sang as a trio within The Oklahoma Girls; toured local churches as the Ouachitones, 1991; Shelley Phillips joined the band, 1991; switched band name to Say So; traveled to Estes Park, CO, to compete in the Christian Artists Seminar, 1992; signed to Word Records, changed name to Point of Grace, and released self-titled debut album, 1993; released The Whole Truth, 1995; released My Utmost for His Highest, 1995; released Life, Love & Other Mysteries in conjunction with a book also entitled Life, Love, & Other Mysteries, published by Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books, 1996.
Point of Grace's Awards
Special Event Album of the Year for My Utmost for His Highest; America's Christian Music Award for Favorite New Artist, 1994; Dove Awards: New Artist of the Year, 1994; Group of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for The Whole Truth, Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year for "The Great Divide," 1996.
- Selective Works
- Point of Grace, Epic/Word Records, 1993.
- The Whole Truth, Epic/Word Records, 1995.
- My Utmost for His Highness, Epic/Word Records, 1995.
- Life, Love & Other Mysteries, Epic/Word Records, 1996.
- Billboard, August 3, 1996; December 16, 1995; December 9, 1995.
- Brio, September 1996.
- Contemporary Christian Music Magazine (CCM), September 1996.
- Contemporary Christian Music Magazine (CCM) Update, August 19, 1996; July 17, 1995.
- Gavin, November 24, 1995.
- Gulf Coast Newspapers, September 16, 1995.
- The Janesville Gazette, July 28, 1996.
- Ladies Home Journal, November 1995.
- London Sunday Times, April 2, 1995.
- New Music, Summer 1996.
- New York Times, February 5, 1995.
- Release, November/December 1996.
- Saturday Evening Post, March/April 1996.
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 11, 1995.
- Springfield News-Sun, July 22, 1996; July 18, 1996..
- Time, January 22, 1996.
- Today's Christian Woman, November/December 1996.
- USA Weekend, April 2, 1995.
Point of Grace Lyrics
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