Behind the Song Lyrics: “Ask Me” by Amy Grant

Though Amy Grant’s Heart in Motion is mostly remembered for the hits like “Baby Baby,” “I Will Remember You” and “That’s What Love is For,” digging a bit deeper in the collection of songs, “Ask Me” is one of the more vulnerable, revealing tracks Grant wrote on the 1991 album.

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Filled with reflections of a friend who opened up to the artist about the sexual abuse she endured throughout her childhood, “Ask Me” leans on heavier subject matter with Grant taking a more pop sound around the lyrics speaking from a young girl’s perspective on living through a darkness, and survival.

I see her as a little girl hiding in her room
She takes another bath and she sprays her momma’s perfume
To try to wipe away the scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind.

You see she’s his little rag, nothing more than just a waif
And he’s mopping up his need, she is tired and afraid
Maybe she’ll find a way through these awful years to disappear.

Now she’s looking in the mirror at a lovely woman face
No more frightened little girl, like she’s gone without a trace
Still she leaves the light burning in the hall
It’s hard to sleep at all.

Still she crawls up in her bed acting quiet as a mouse
Deep inside she’s listening for a creaking in the house
But noone’s left to harm her, she’s finally safe and sound
There’s a peace she’s found.

In a recent interview with Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly on Apple Music Country, Grant shared how the story and song of “Ask Me” first unraveled for her:

We were taking a long walk at the end of the day. And it’s so funny… vulnerability is somehow in direct proportion to lighting, because as the sun went down, and we couldn’t see each other’s faces as clearly, the conversation got more vulnerable. And I guess I was at the right place at the right time, but she started telling me about her childhood, years and years of her childhood, and she was acted upon by more than one person. And she described a scenario one time when – she was from the South – and that she was being acted upon on the screen porch, and that her brother was out in the yard and they caught eyes. And I said, “But didn’t you say something to him?” And she said, “Oh, Amy, I had already disappeared by then.” And I was just like, “Ugh.” And it just killed me, it just killed me. And I’ve got four daughters, and I’m sure they’ll have daughters… so many people are acted upon sexually. I just could not get away from those visuals and all that, and I wrote it into a song. Tom Hemby had given me a track because I’m not as good with music. I get so sick of the same four chords that I put, and I had said, “Just give me a track, a fully-developed track without a melody so I can have a playground to write on.” And that was exactly the track he handed me, and I wrote the melody and lyric on top of it. And when I played it for my friend, she just said, “How could you have known?” And I just think when we listen to each other’s stories, there’s different ways to do it. You can do it with “what’s gonna be my comeback story?” But I think one of the essentials of writing and creativity is to listen to another person’s story in such an interactive, embracing way that you actually are able to sing their story back to them.

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