Jennifer Knapp is an American-Australian folk rock musician best known for her first hit single “Undo Me” from her 1998 debut album Kansas, and “A Little More” from her 2000 Grammy Award-nominated album Lay It Down.
Sound Observations With Jennifer Knapp
by David Moye
It’s been an interesting eight years for singer Jennifer Knapp.
Back in 2002, Knapp was a popular Christian singer with hit singles like “Undo Me” from her 1998 debut album Kansas, and “A Little More” from her 2000 Grammy Award-nominated album Lay It Down.
But she wasn’t happy with the music. Never a prolific songwriter in the first place, Knapp discovered that the music that gave her fame and fortune wasn’t satisfying her soul.
“The question you face as a songwriter is how do you deal with your own insecurities? With the voices inside your head,” she said. “If I don’t have that confidence; if I think it sucks, I can’t do it.”
Knapp, who is playing Anthology Sept. 17, said the artistic crisis came at a time when she was going through was Charles Dickens called the best of times and the worst of times. She fell in love (that was good) and it was with a woman (that was still good, but it was with another woman and that’s a no no in her in the Christian music field).
So she quit playing music altogether, moved to Australia with her partner and spent the first three years playing Playstation 3. No joke.
“It’s a great way to disconnect,” she laughed. “I still play two to three hours sometimes when I need to unplug. My game is actually a version of Cricket that you can’t get in the states and an Asian horse racing game called Gallop Racing that is very long and storied. I also enjoy hockey. I use it as a way to get rid of the voice in my head.”
Most people are surprised that Knapp was able to go nearly five years without picking up a guitar, but, seriously, it just didn’t come up.
“I really need to be in a place where I’m undistracted in order to write songs,” she said. “I can’t be thinking about bills. I can’t be thinking about other stuff. I need to be feeling, not thinking.
“People ask me what I did creatively for seven years. Did I write or paint? At first, I said I did nothing, but then I thought about it and I took hundreds of photos each day. I funneled my creativity into that.”
But if you’re a songwriter, no matter how long the well is dried-up, they eventually return and so they did for Knapp, who released “Letting Go” earlier this year.
She started letting go in her own way two months before the record’s release by coming out as a gay women. Although there were some rumblings among her fan base, Knapp is pleased by the overall reaction. However, because much of her music has always been about questioning herself and her faith, the label of Christian artist may have been more of a shackle than fears of how her audience might react if they found out she was gay.
“It used to be that I thought my level of faith was how I was measured as an artist, and I got frustrated at times because I felt I needed to write about the questions surrounding faith. Keeping faith can be a struggle – and I think that is why I think I always had more than just a Christian audience.
“I must admit that I did wonder that if my music wasn’t cloaked in the church, would it still have value? But my faith is what it is,” she said. “If it’s strong, it’s strong. I’ve discovered that half the battle is initiating the journey.”