Grant Goes For Six

If Natalie Grant snags the best female vocalist trophy at Thursday’s Dove Awards, it will mark her third win in a row in the category. But the award she’s most excited about has nothing to do with her vocal performance: She’s proudest of being nominated for writing her hit “I Will Not be Moved.”

Grant is up for a total of six trophies at the Dove awards, which honors Christian and gospel music. Only Chris Tomlin has more Dove nominations, with seven.

Besides being nominated for female vocalist and pop/contemporary album for her CD “Relentless,” she is also nominated for songwriter of the year for writing “I Will Not Be Moved” (the song is also nominated for song of the year, worship song of the year and pop/contemporary recorded song).

“That is the greatest honor ever because when I first moved to this town I had never written a song before,” said the Seattle native, who came to Nashville a decade ago. “I knew I could sing, and I was way into the habit of doing what was easy and comfortable, and I didn’t want to take risks and I was too afraid to put myself out there.”

But Grant forced herself from her comfort zone, and today she writes or co-writes most of her own tunes.

“I was singing incredible songwriters’ songs but it was somebody else’s experience, and I would go and sing in front of an audience and I wanted them to say more than ‘Oh, she can hit the high notes.’ I wanted them to connect with me. And I began to figure out that the only way they’re going connect with me is if I actually let them in.”

Grant is best known for her ballads, like the crossover hit “Held,” but she went in the opposite direction after the birth of her twin daughters in 2007. “I Will Not Be Moved” is a grungy guitar-driven affirmation of faith.

“It was important for me to have that because I felt like I was having these babies and people were expecting that I might do some sweet lullaby records, so I wanted to show them that just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t rock,” said Grant, who is married to her producer, Bernie Herms.

“That kind of music has always been in me, and I’ve always performed that kind of music,” she said, though adding: “Most people don’t think of me that way.”

The Dove Awards air live from the Grand Ole Opry House on the Gospel Music Channel.