The John F. Kennedy Center's 45th class of honourees just announced includes well-known Christian artist Amy Grant alongside four other accomplished artists.
Grant will be receiving the 45th Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements, alongside acclaimed actor and filmmaker George Clooney, the legendary singer of soul, Gospel, R&B, and pop Gladys Knight, Cuban-born American composer, conductor, and educator Tania León, and iconic Irish rock band U2.
"Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Amy Grant became the first artist to bring contemporary Christian music to the forefront of American culture, then equally thrived after crossing over into mainstream pop with hit after hit, and today is revered as the 'Queen of Christian Pop'," says Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.
The recipients will be honoured at the annual national celebration of the arts in Washington, D.C.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine ever receiving this prestigious Kennedy Center Honor," says Grant on Facebook. "Through the years I’ve watched so many of my heroes serenaded by colleagues and fellow artists, always moved by the ability of music and film to bring us together and to see the best in each other. I cannot wait to celebrate with my fellow honorees, friends and family. Thank you for widening the circle to include all of us."
In February of 2018, one of the honourees Gladys Knight performed the gospel hymn 'His Eye Is on the Sparrow' at The Kennedy Center during the annual "Let Freedom Ring" celebration to honour the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honoured on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these—it just wouldn’t have seemed possible," says Knight. "It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list. To be honoured as a Kennedy Center Honoree is among the highlights of my career. I stand here with my fans, my family, my friends, my team, and my faith in accepting such an amazing distinction."
Actor George Clooney shares his excitement after the announcement.
"Growing up in a small town in Kentucky I could never have imagined that someday I’d be the one sitting in the balcony at the Kennedy Center Honors," says Clooney. "To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honour. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family."
Band members of U2, including Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr. also shared their gratitude for winning an American award like this.
"We consider America to be a home away from home and we are very grateful to the Kennedy Center Honors for welcoming us into this great clan of extraordinary artists."