Scott Stapp created his sophomore album, “Proof of Life” as a personal chronicle of his journey through the ravages of addiction and depression to reclaimed faith and purpose in life. Just nominated for a Dove Award for best rock album, the work and the composer continue on a higher path of living in gratitude.
“I’m so grateful for this honor and to producer Howard Benson for taking this journey with me,” the singer-songwriter shared on his Facebook page, literally leaving his biggest thanks to fans in all capitals with “and to YOU for listening-THANK YOU!” Expressions of thankfulness have always been part of the artist’s interactions with fans and in his personal faith, as he recently shared during a workshop at SoulFest in New Hampshire. The festival is one of the largest and most well attended gatherings within Christian music, and is centered on themes of “Music, Love, Action” and “True love is unconditional.” Those concepts were difficult for Stapp himself to fit together until embarking on his own journey of recovery. His fear-based upbringing and approach to faith drilled by his stepfather created emotional and spiritual dilemmas which seemed insurmountable, as he details in his 2012 memoir, “Sinner’s Creed.”
Learning to embrace love and life over the constant fear of losing salvation became a prevailing theme of “Proof of Life.” From “Slow Suicide,” which became Stapp’s first song to top Billboard’s Christian charts, capturing the desperate cry to seize life amidst the throes of breaking toxic bonds of both substance and habitual situation, to “What Would Love Do” the album reflects healing as a day by day, lifelong process. Two more songs in the collection became top five on Christian charts. The encounters that Scott now shares with fans are much more like family gatherings of brothers and sisters, trading stories of the rewards that can come out of recovery, and partings with heartfelt hugs. During his chart topping reign with Creed, physical breakdown from pushing through touring and self-medicating to dull the sting of pain and isolation stole much of the lyricist’s memory, much less his reasons to celebrate. Today, Scott Stapp has come to know gratitude and grace, personified in the persons of wife, Jaclyn, their three children, ranging from teenager to preschooler, who lived out love without losing faith through the darkest days, to truly relate to the audiences filling the open air grounds of his fairground and festival stint, and above all, to feel true forgiveness and relationship with God.
The legs of the “Proof of Life” tour have taken Stapp from bar rooms to broad fields over the past months of rigors on the road, but his voice and his message have never sounded stronger. “I had moments with God. In places where God wasn't supposed to be,” he relates of his personal path to redemption and reclaiming the fullness of life. “If I can just do what I do, create the music, sing, and let a new hope come to allow God to guide and put someone on the path uniquely intended for them to find God, then that’s my purpose.” Released from his past entanglements of striving for perfect performance ever followed by the pain of falling short, like every traveler on the path of faith, this is a new man in Christ, learning to accept grace and goodness. Learning to receive love and acceptance has been a learning process for the front man, who now knows what it is to celebrate life, whether in divine reflection, heartfelt encouragement from a fan, sharing a birthday cake on the road, an album of the year nomination. The final track of the album speaks his newfound joy again and again through the chorus: “I’m dying to live.” Reaping rewards of any good labor has a place in life.