Six-time GRAMMY® winner Amy Grant has released a very special project: Behind The Eyes (25th Anniversary Expanded Edition). The updated package arrives exactly 25 years after the album's initial release. Upon its initial release, the record went to No. 2 on Billboard's Christian albums chart and No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, the first single from the album, "Takes a Little Time", was a Top Five Adult Contemporary hit and a Top Thirty pop chart single. "Like I Love You" and "I Will Be Your Friend" also reached the Adult Contemporary chart, at No. 10 and No. 27, respectively.
Featuring the original twelve tracks completely remastered, the 25th anniversary expanded edition also includes 18 bonus tracks comprised of previously unreleased songs, b-sides and demos from the original Behind The Eyes recording sessions. Two of the bonus tracks, "I Will Be Your Friend (2022 Version)" and "Turn This World Around (2022 Version)" were newly reimagined by producer Keith Thomas.
"I think I was in the process of making Behind The Eyes for a long time...two years maybe?", says Grant. "I started writing that record in 1995 on the House Of Love tour with Wayne Kirkpatrick who was our band leader and the album came out in 1997. I felt like my life was derailing for a lot of different reasons in that season, but it was different than the hidden derailing in the 80's. I felt like it was derailing with my eyes wide open. I think that for whatever reason the part of me that thought I had to make everything ok with everybody all the time...I just threw in the towel.
"I was looking for a safe place to figure out what life looked like now. What was expected of me? What did I expect of myself? I felt the need to confront the structure of my life. So many of the people I trusted and loved were on the payroll. I think everybody knew I was struggling, but none of us knew how to create some healing space.
Mostly, I needed to give myself permission to explore how I was internalizing the expectations of other people and how that was shaping my life. I would have to go through years of counseling to understand all those dynamics, but through songwriting I began to ask new questions...address the expectations...and give myself the freedom to fail. That's where the healing began."
When asked about the songwriting process and the vulnerability in the lyrics, Grant says, "As far as writing the songs, you can be feeling something and not even really know it until you sit down to write it in a song. I don't think I was trying to be controversial, but I think I felt very safe in my songwriting relationship with Wayne because I knew him so well. Wayne is such a quiet person and so easy to talk to. I'd felt like the House of Love record, which I was proud of, it felt like we were trying to do Heart In Motion 'second verse'. I thought to myself if I get the chance to make music it should be real. I'd like to look at it and recognize myself. So, every week Wayne and I would go to the cabin and write. Sometimes we'd get out there and just walk around and talk for hours and then out of those conversations would come a song."
Looking back 25 years later at the album, Grant reflects, "the writing of Behind The Eyes was a safe place to say what does life really look like? At some point, even though we were all a team, managers, record company, there comes a point in your life that you realize that whatever it is you're investing in the most is because no one can tell you what's really important. I saw that so many of my emotional needs were met through music and exterior working relationships. I honestly didn't know where it was all going to go. I was in the process of finding my way from the girl I had been to the woman I would become. In these songs I can still hear the pain, the struggle, the joy and the wonder of those years...of the road I took to get here."
Listening back to all 30 songs and especially the unreleased tracks from the original sessions, Amy says, "Snapshots of life...that's what these songs are. Rediscovering so many unreleased tracks was like finding an old roll of undeveloped film 25 years after taking the pictures!"