Audrey Nicole Assad (born July 1, 1983) is an American singer-songwriter and contemporary Christian music artist. Her debut album, The House You're Building, was released through Sparrow Records in July 2010 and went to be named Christian Album of 2010 on Amazon.com and the Christian Breakthrough Album of the Year on iTunes. She has worked and toured with other CCM artists such as Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, Matt Maher and Jars of Clay. Her most recent album, Evergreen, was released in 2018.
Audrey Assad was born in Secaucus, New Jersey to an American mother from the state of Virginia and a Arab-American father of Syrian descent. She was raised in a Protestant family of the Plymouth Brethren denomination. She started to play the piano at 2 and spent her youth moving around New Jersey before settling in Scotch Plains from ages 7 to 18. She attended public school until middle school, where her experience there caused her to ask her mother to homeschool her, which she did. Assad spent her adolescence being homeschooled, working at her father's businesses, and attending church events.
Early career in Florida
In 2002, when Assad was 18, her family moved to Florida and she spent the next six years there. At 19 she briefly attended college and supported herself with odd jobs while beginning her musical career, writing and composing songs for the first time. Assad spent the next five years playing at various venues performing original songs and covers. Venues ranged from restaurants, weddings and coffee shops to leading and organizing worship concerts at church. Around 2003 Assad recorded a 4-song demo with Drew Middleton, a member of the CCM band Tenth Avenue North at the time, whom Assad toured with occasionally.
Nashville and the Firefly EP
In 2008 when Assad was 24, she decided to move to Nashville, Tennessee to continue and focus on her music career. She raised $7,000 from friends and fans to support her move from Florida. In Nashville she worked with producers Paul Moak and Phillip LaRue, recording a five-song EP, Firefly, which sold at shows and featured a handwritten cover made of a brown paper bag. She supported herself by working as a nanny before meeting fellow Catholic musician Matt Maher. Maher took Assad under his wing and brought her to various gigs, where she sang back-up vocals and played sets during his shows. This time together around Maher's home base of Phoenix, Arizona, would later prompt Assad to move there from Nashville. During this time Assad signed on to work as a staff writer for EMI Christian Music Group Publishing, doing songwriting work with other artists.
In 2009 Assad signed with Sparrow Records, who had been talking to Assad after the release of her EP. For her first album, Assad then met and played for producer Marshall Altman, who would agree to produce what would become The House You're Building. Altman and Assad recorded the album at the Galt Line Studio in Los Angeles. The House You're Building was released on July 13, 2010, and the title track was featured as a free download on iTunes Discovery Download. The album performed well commercially and critically, going on to become the amazon.com “Best Album of 2010” in the Christian Music category, as well as being the best selling new artist in the Christian Music category of 2010 according to SoundScan. The album reached No. 12 on the Billboard Christian Albums chart and No. 6 on its Heatseekers chart.
Her sophomore album, Heart, was released on February 14, 2012. The album sold 7,300 units in its debut week, an increase of 185 percent over her previous album, and reached No. 18 on the overall iTunes chart. In large part it was a further development of the ″piano-driven style and lyrical depth″ that The House You're Building had shown. The track "Sparrow", was released as a single, and similarly did well. "Sparrow" was based on the classic gospel hymn "His Eye Is on the Sparrow", which Assad has said she loved seeing and hearing in Sister Act 2 when she was young.
Fortunate Fall Records
Wanting to steer her music closer to liturgical and worship music, and attracted by the economic advantages of independent production, Audrey Assad parted ways with Sparrow Records "on good terms." With the help of her husband, William Price III, Assad ran a Kickstarter campaign that reached double its goal by its finish on April 15, 2013. The proceeds paid for Assad's third studio album, Fortunate Fall, which Assad produced herself under the name "Fortunate Fall Records", as well as a live concert EP, O Happy Fault, and a film of the concert.
Assad released her second independent album, Inheritance, on February 12, 2016. Besides two original songs, both co-written with Matt Maher, the rest of the album contains new renditions of traditional church hymns such as "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Be Thou My Vision," as well as a new rendition of the Latin-language hymn "Ubi caritas." "Holy, Holy, Holy" saw radio airplay after its release as a single on March 15, 2016.
On July 10, 2017, Assad announced via her Twitter page that she was recording her first album of original material since Fortunate Fall, indicating a release in February 2018. The album, titled Evergreen, became available for pre-order via PledgeMusic, with 5% of campaign proceeds going towards Preemptive Love Coalition.
Musical style and themes
Assad grew up in a religious household but listened to secular music growing up through her mother's influence, including The Carpenters, James Taylor and Celine Dion, as well as French and Middle Eastern music from her dad's influence. Later she discovered and began listening to Christian music such as the Newsboys, Nichole Nordeman and Cindy Morgan. When she was 2 she started playing the piano, but it wasn't until she was 19 when she began leading worship that she started writing and performing her own music. Assad played in local Florida venues with a style she described as folky and "average girl with a guitar/piano stuff". The Firefly EP that she recorded with Paul Moak was also described as folky and rootsy.
Her current style is a mix of religious and non-religious themed songs that draw from her Catholic faith as well as literary references from her love of reading literature and poetry. A majority of her religious songs are written in a way that emphasizes being sung to God rather than about God.
Growing up Assad was raised in a Protestant religious household and reconfirmed her faith at the age of 19. She converted to Catholicism in 2007 in Florida.
Assad currently lives near Nashville, after living in Phoenix. She is married to William Gene Price III, whom she met in Arizona while on tour with Matt Maher in 2008. The couple married on February 19, 2011 in Phoenix. In October 2013, Assad announced that they were expecting their first child. She gave birth to a son named William G. Price IV in May 2014. On October 19, 2017, Assad gave birth to their second child, a daughter named Camila St. Clare.
Assad is also a public speaker about pornography and masturbation addiction, as account of her own past addiction. She often talks about her past addiction when she performs at her concerts, recommends "confession, accountability and counseling" to overcome such addiction.
Firefly EP (2008)
For Love of You EP (Sparrow Records, 2010) (Digital)
The House You're Building (Sparrow Records, 2010)
iTunes Live from SoHo (Sparrow Records, 2011)
Heart (Sparrow Records, 2012)
Fortunate Fall (independent, August 13, 2013)
O Happy Fault EP (Fortunate Fall Records, March 18, 2014) (Soundtrack of the film. 5 of these 6 live songs are from Fortunate Fall.)
Death Be Not Proud EP (Fortunate Fall Records, May 20, 2014) (5 unique songs.)
Inheritance (Fortunate Fall Records, February 12, 2016)
Evergreen (Fortunate Fall, Records, February 23, 2018)