Nine years ago, when Steve Curtis Chapman started his rise in the contemporary Christian music scene, there was a minor identity problem to overcome.
“There definitely have been people asking me what it’s like being married to Amy Grant,” he says with a laugh, referring to occasional confusion with Grant’s husband, singer Gary Chapman. “My wife hasn’t appreciated that too much.”
Such mistakes are exceedingly rare nowadays, though. Steven Curtis Chapman has achieved unprecedented levels of success in contemporary Christian music. Critics and fans alike have poured out a host of awards: 28 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, three Grammy Awards, three R.I.A.A. certified Gold records, 22 number one singles, and an array of songwriting honors. And as one of the country’s largest concert draws, he has touched untold millions who have caught his music live.
As a songwriter, the Paducah, Kentucky, native made a name for himself penning songs for Billy Dean, Charlie Daniels and Glen Campbell, among others. Despite not considering himself a singer, Chapman’s songwriting demos soon caught the ears of A&R scouts across the country. The young songwriter signed to EMI’s Sparrow label in 1987 and released his first recording, First Hand shortly after. Since then, Chapman has hardly had time to breathe and his surging career has mirrored contemporary Christian music’s wildfire growth.
His latest effort, Signs Of Life, features a more aggressive edge, both musically and lyrically, than past projects. It boasts a more modern eclectic sound – one that veers from rock to folk and back again. And lyrically, Chapman’s new songs are about real people, facing real struggles in a real world. In response to the reaction these intensely personal, painfully true lyrics about people and places from the past and present are drawing from listeners, Chapman says, “I needed to ask myself, ‘When people look at me , do they see someone just going through the motions of living? Or do they really see signs of life?”
He continues, “You know, in making this record, I’ve been completely consumed with the creative process and in restoring my passion for music and my love for God. I can honestly say that this is the record I’ve always wanted to make.”