NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Christian singer Brandon Heath doesn't need to win a Grammy on Sunday to thank his biggest supporter publicly. She's going with him to the show.
The 33-year old Heath is taking his former high school choir teacher, Bobby Jean Frost. Heath is up for three awards, including best contemporary Christian album for "Leaving Eden" and contemporary Christian song and performance for "Your Love."
"I've got the hottest date at the Grammys, y'all," Heath said.
"The oldest, too," added Frost, 79, laughing.
Frost taught at Nashville's Hillsboro High School for 31 years and had Heath for four of them. During his freshman year in the choir, Frost encouraged him to audition for "Grammy in the Schools" with a chance to perform at an event in New York featuring Gloria Estefan.
Heath submitted a video of himself singing Garth Brooks' "One Night A Day" — and he won.
"That was really the moment when I thought, 'I could actually do this for a career,'" Heath said. "So I figure, I'm nominated for a Grammy, I've got to take BJ with me."
Asked what she saw in Heath at that early age, Frost said "personality" without hesitation. Heath translated: "She means I talked a lot."
"I knew that he had talent, but sometimes talent only takes you so far," Frost said. "He had a willingness to work and to use his personality to get himself ahead."
That combination has taken Heath to the top of the Christian music charts, with No. 1 hits including "I'm Not Who I Was," ''Give Me Your Eyes" and "Your Love." He has won an Emmy Award and was the Gospel Music Association's male vocalist of the year in 2009 and 2010.
Heath said that teaching can be one of the most thankless jobs, but that there are special teachers who make a difference.
"I thought she kind of gave me a gift when I was young and had a vision that I could succeed in music," said Heath. "So I wanted to just show her that she was right."
Frost calls it a huge honor to be going to the Grammys with Heath, and said: "When your students do succeed, it is not a thankless job."
The Grammys air Sunday from Los Angeles on CBS.
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- Brandon Heath