It’s raining in Nashville, and Steven Curtis Chapman has just dropped off two daughters at school.
For anyone who knows his story, this simple statement brings up lots of emotions.
That number should have been three: the number of daughters he and his wife adopted from China. But about four years ago, Maria, the youngest, was killed in an accident outside the family home.
That experience resonates throughout everything Chapman is working on.
“With the album ‘re:creation,’ my most recent record, I went back and visited the musical mile markers of the last 25 years,” he said. “I really wanted to restate some of the things I said over those years because they all become even more important, and there’s more purpose than ever when I sing some of those songs … because of what I walked through, my family and I, in the last four years.
“It’s been for us such an intense crucible of faith, testing our faith with each other and with God. Yet through that, so many of my songs have become even more profound for me.
“So I wanted to go back and recreate those songs. … and do it in different musical ways that felt really relevant to if I were to write these songs today, this is how the songs would be musically.”
As for marking the 25th anniversary of his first album, Chapman said, “I really quickly want to tell people that my first album came out when I was 10 years old, but I’d be lying if I said that. … I was youngish, but I wasn’t that young.”
He then put the number into perspective. “I actually became a grandpop in November. Our oldest daughter Emily has our first grandbaby, so we have Eiley, this amazing little granddaughter of ours.”
Tragedy hasn’t dissuaded the Chapmans from promoting adoption. During his concert tour (see story this page), Chapman said, “I’ll be talking about Show Hope and our passion there for orphans and adoption. That obviously continues to be one of the biggest parts of our life, the heart and soul of the Chapman family, and it continues to grow and do great things.”
Show Hope is the organization his family started to help people with adoption. It’s name comes from his first adopted daughter. He points people to the group’s website http://Showhope.org/ to research information about adoption.
“I’m in the process of working on a few different ideas for the first time in four years, I guess, four or five years even, but especially after Maria went to be with Jesus. Obviously at that point I did write ‘Beauty Will Rise’ out of that, which felt like a completely different experience. It was not me writing songs. It was me just crying out to God. ... I hoped others would be encouraged by it and God would use it that way, but I honestly made it for myself.”
Chapman wrote a few new songs for “re:creation,” but said he lacked the creativity needed to produce an entire album of new songs.
However, Chapman said, “For the first time, really starting out with this new year, I’ve really felt excited and feel like the wheels of creativity are turning in a new fresh way, and there are some things I am really looking forward to share, write and sing.”
He said he has been co-writing music with buddies who are well-known country writers as well as fellow Christians. “Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin are a couple very well-known country writers who wrote the song ‘The House That Built Me’ for Miranda Lambert” as well as music for many other artists.
Chapman also sang at the wedding of Hillary Scott, singer for Lady Antebellum. “I got to know her and be friends with her husband who is their drummer. We’ve been talking about, ‘We should write some songs together,’” Chapman said. “So it feels like a new season of creativity and writing for me.”