Guess Who's Back?
After eight years away from the music scene, Jennifer Knapp is again writing, recording and playing a few select shows.
Music fans have a pretty short attention span these days, and no one understands this better than the artists themselves and those charged with marketing them.
In fact, that's why your favorite bands usually have something new in the pipeline every year—or at least every other year. After all, if you're not an artist with proven popularity a la U2 or Coldplay, to wait much longer may jeopardize your audience's interest level.
There are exceptions to the rule, and one of those is definitely singer/songwriter Jennifer Knapp. Even though she hasn't released anything new since The Way I Am in 2001 (the requisite greatest hits album, The Collection released in 2003 and a CD of live rarities hit shelves in 2006), Christian music fans still haven't stopped asking: "Where in the world is Jennifer Knapp?"
Her whereabouts have certainly made for lively online debate over the years, but aside from word that she's "on hiatus," nothing much more definitive has been offered.
But the launch of her new MySpace page this summer (myspace.com/jenniferknapp) and a Los Angeles show with Phillip LaRue in late September offered fans new hope. While Knapp isn't available for interviews yet, Dave Hopper of Maximum Artist Management in Nashville confirmed that they are "working with Jennifer," saying "there really isn't more to tell" since "the ball just started to roll again." Hopper said that "after a well-needed break, she has just starting writing/recording again and playing select shows."
As more details become available in the future, Hopper encourages fans to keep watching her websites for updates and to sign up for her e-mail list at www.jenniferknapp.com.
Band with a Mission
Leeland gets vocal about social justice on its third album, Love Is on the Move.
While it's clear that brothers Leeland and Jack Mooring, along with their friends Jake Holtz and Mike Smith love making music together, it's a sense of purpose and mission that ultimately makes all that time in the studio—and traveling miles and miles together—worthwhile.
And when the band entered the studio to begin work on its third project in three years, Jack says they knew it wasn't just recording as usual.
"The whole idea behind Love Is on the Move was really birthed out of God speaking to us. First of all, about returning to that simple heart of music, where we're literally like ‘God, all we want is your plan. All we want is your will. We don't want anything else but you. Anything outside of that, outside of His presence, is not good."
With that focus in mind, Jack says that a theme of social justice just made sense.
"We realized that once we get in the presence of God, and once we experience Him, if we're not going out and backing it up with some action, with taking care of the poor and the needy, with showing love to our neighbors, things like that, the songs that we're singing don't mean much," Jack shares. "After we got this whole idea of love is on the move, we discovered that love isn't love if it isn't doing something. And Jesus was the perfect example of that."
Backing up their words with action, the band has been working with Food for the Hungry and recently traveled to Asia to see the organization's work in action.
"It was certainly life-changing to see how Food for the Hungry is really transforming communities," he adds. "And we're excited about sharing our stories about our trip each night this fall when we're on tour with Brandon Heath and Francesca Battistelli. Food for the Hungry is partnering with us for the tour, and we're really excited about trying to get some kids sponsored."
For more information about Leeland, check out www.leelandonline.com.
About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities (including managing editor) for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including CCM Magazine, Crosswalk.com (she review movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media, Songs4Worship.com, BurnLounge, PassAlong.com and helped kickstart the first Christian music blog for MTV. She also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two fiction novels for NavPress in 2007.
© 2009 GospelMusicChannel.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
**This column first published on November 12, 2009.
About Gospel Music Channel
Gospel Music Channel is the fastest-growing network in television and can be seen in more than 40 million homes on various cable systems around the country and on DIRECTV on channel 338. For more information, visit www.gospelmusicchannel.com.