In late September, a group of publicists, media moguls and celebrities gathered to hear the 59-year-old music great announce her retirement and farewell tour.
Patty’s career has spanned some four decades, during which she accumulated five Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards and 40 Dove Awards. She is one of only a few musicians to perform at three separate presidential inaugurations.
Born in Oklahoma City, Patty made her musical debut at age 2, singing “Jesus Loves Me” at her family’s church. The balladeer’s official career, though, began during college when she was studying to become a teacher and accepted a gig singing backup vocals for the Bill Gaither Trio.
As her popularity grew, Patty became one of the first Christian artists to gain the attention of mainstream audiences, even making multiple appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
While Patty’s music has influenced millions, the market’s demand for her musical style has waned. But rather than slip away quietly into the night, Patty wants to end her storied career on a high note. In February, she will launch “Forever Grateful,” a yearlong farewell tour, which will include approximately 90 dates and a performance at Carnegie Hall. BT
By Jonathan Merritt, Religion News Service