BETWEEN THE LINER NOTES
Jeremy Camp Gets Loud
By Jesse Carey
Since his debut album Stay in 2005, Jeremy Camp has become one of the most popular young stars in Christian music. In the last three years, he has recorded three Gold albums, won several Dove Awards and continues to have songs land on major movie soundtracks (including the latest Chronicles of Narnia installment and The Bridge to Terabithia). But for his new project, which releases next month, Camp is showing no signs of being satisfied with success. The first single from the album, “There Will Be a Day,” which is currently rising on Christian Radio charts, shows that Speaking Louder Than Before digs deeper than previous outings.
We recent had the chance to talk to Jeremy, who discussed the new record, the role of ministry in his music and why this project means so much to him.
You’ve had a really successful career so far—that makes the title of the new album pretty interesting. Why are you calling it Speaking Louder Than Before?
It’s funny because, doing this for a while, I kind of got to a place where I was like, “Lord I don’t want to just get up there and do the some old thing and say the same old thing. I want to have refreshed vision and renewed passion for what I’m doing.” And as I’m praying, God started breaking my heart—in a good way—but showing me the state of where society is and this generation. I started having this urgency and desperation that I’ve never really had before.
I’ve always seen the need, and I’ve always wanted to go fill that need and be a part of changing people’s lives. But now there’s this desperation I think that I’ve never had this intense before.
There’s a scripture in Mark 16:15 that says, “Go into all the nations and preach the Gospel to every creature.” I do that—when I’m from stage I always share the Gospel and there are people who are evangelist that get on stage and are awesome—but all of us, (if you’ve given your heart to Jesus, if you’ve been forgiven, you’ve asked him into you life) we’re all walking examples of that Gospel. And we all have an opportunity in a sense, to speak up, to share what God has done in our lives.
So for me there’s an urgency in my heart in my like never before. I think a lot of it stemmed from [knowing] there are a lot of people that maybe speak the truth, but there’s no love involved. The scripture in Corinthians says we can speak the tongues of men and of angels and do all these things, but if you have not love, it’s only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. It’s basically pointless.
If you really see through the eyes of how God sees people, He loves them, but what did He do? He spoke the truth. And the truth will set you free, and you shall be free indeed. I think that started the whole concept—actions speak louder than words, but what if you have words with those actions? Let’s speak up like we never have before.
You encounter a lot of young people, and I know you have a heart for reaching them. What kinds of unique challenges face this generation?
It’s like that little thing, “If the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll keep you busy”. We live in such a self-gratifying nation, and everything is instantaneous. You can get anything at the whim of your fingertips—it’s like, “Yes, you are going to deal with all that sin, but also you’re going just going to deal with distractions”.
You’re going to be dealing with all these things that are showing you that you don’t really need to surrender your life over, because we have all that we need. We have all this stuff—and then you’re so distracted.
You can fill up your time with anything that you want. And stuff per se is not bad—technology is awesome; if you use it for the right the reason, it’s great. You have the accessibility of everything at your fingertips. I never had that growing up. It’s crazy.
It’s the distraction and the accessibly. Everything is in your face. The battle is that you’re getting things from all ends like never before and the intensity is being turned up like never before. So there’s a call to be set apart, and there’s a call to speak the truth, and there’s a call to start standing up and putting your faith in action.
Along with Christian fans of your music, you’re also getting some mainstream attention. You’ve even been featured on several movie soundtracks. Does it present a unique challenge to you as a songwriter knowing that people who are hearing your music are potentially hearing the Gospel for the first time?
Oh for sure. I had someone the other day who came to a concert and came up and said, “I came here because I heard your song on The Bridge to Terabithia soundtrack.” And I was like, “Man, this is awesome!” And for me, I just do what I’m called to do and not comprise anything. That’s been cool because that has brought people and opened up doors.
If God wants to open those doors, great. But I’m not going to tone down anything to get there. I write personally, and I think everyone can relate to that.
Your first single, “There Will Be a Day”, seems to talk about life’s difficulties as well as the temporal nature of suffering. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
Honestly, I just stated thinking of my own life and my experiences and how, even if it’s not me sharing about the loss of my wife, it’s just life experiences. [Jeremy’s first wife passed away in 2001, after a battle with cancer.]
It starts off, “I try to hold on to this world with everything that I have, but I feel the weight of what it brings and the hurt it tries to grab.”
In anything, anybody that tries to just hold on to this world, it’s like you start becoming that temporal focus, then when you realize, “Man, trails and things—it doesn’t matter”.
There’s a part in that song that says, “The beauty that’s in store out weighs the hurt of life’s sting.” And it’s so true. It doesn’t mean we sit there and just go, “Oh whatever, now I’m just going to wait for heaven”. That’s not the point. It’s that hope we have to deal with things. This is temporal—keep that in mind. While we’re here, let’s go tell that to people. Because when you have hope, people respond to hope. And that’s for me, where it came out of. Revelation 21:4 says, “There will be a day of no more tears, no more sorrow, no more pain.”
More than just the collection of individual songs, did you notice any themes start to come together when you were recording the album?
I see three things that happened. You see that sense of like, your wretched nature, the sins and trials, and the things in which you are, but then it points you to the hope that we have even though we go through those things. And then from all those experiences, you see the response of speaking louder than before—now, we know all that stuff, so let’s go now and share this hope that we’ve experienced with people around us. It’s a challenging album. Hopefully it helps you respond: OK, now, let’s go out and share the Gospel.
Send Jesse your comments on this article.
Jesse Carey is the Interactive Media Producer for CBN.com. With a background in entertainment and pop-culture writing, he offers his insight on music, movies, TV, trends and current events from a unique perspective that examines what implications the latest news has on Christians.
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