Grammy-nominated Camp answers the call
By Lana Sweeten-Shults
GCU News Bureau
It’s never been just about the music for Jeremy Camp.
It’s been about the quieter times, too, with his family – wife Adrienne, their two daughters and son – when they’re in places such as India doing mission work.
“We were able to build houses. As a family unit, to do mission work is rewarding,” said Camp, a Grammy and Academy of Country Music Awards-nominated Christian artist headed to Grand Canyon University Arena for a a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday with special guest Royce Lovett (tickets available here.).
It’s something the family will do together again in a few months.
“We’re going to Uganda,” he said, adding that the family will help with the building of a medical center.
Spending time with his wife and children isn’t something Camp takes for granted. The music of his life hasn’t always hit the perfect chords: He lost his first wife, Melissa, to ovarian cancer. She was just 21.
Camp has spoken about that time, about meeting her at a worship service he was leading and falling in love with her after a few months of dating. She didn’t feel the same way at first, but he had set his sights on marrying her if she ever did say she loved him, and eventually she did.
It was on their honeymoon that she started feeling a pain in her stomach, and they found out that the ovarian cancer she had battled before their marriage had returned. They had been married for less than four months when she died.
Camp also has spoken about his and wife Adrienne’s heartaches, including losing a child to miscarriage.
That pain has been met by great joys in his life, too – a successful music career that, since his debut CD “Stay” in 2002, has produced four gold albums along with Grammy and AMA nods, and 41 radio No. 1’s, to name a few.
When he performs on the GCU campus, Camp will be coming off the release, just the day before, of his latest CD, “The Answer.”
It is his 15th album in 15 years.
Camp says titling a CD “The Answer” is definitely a bold thing – “Oh, OK, that’s pretty in your face,” he said, to claim you know the answer to life’s problems.
But for Camp, the answer really is simple.
“It’s Jesus,” he said. “He’s the answer to every problem.”
Camp said we live in a contentious time with great political divisions and racial tensions.
“With what is going on, with what is happening, people are searching for answers in all this crazy stuff. … Really, Jesus is everything that we need.” He said, despite all the divisions, “When we get to heaven, every tribe, every tongue, every nation will be together.”
Camp co-wrote the 10 songs on the album, partnering with everyone from songwriters Ed and Scott Cash to Ethan Hulse. The songs emanated from deep conversations with his fellow songwriters on what was going on in their lives. For Camp, many of these songs reflect his time in life with his wife and three children, one of whom just hit her teen years. As with most writers, his life always has inspired his songwriting, just as it did when he lost Melissa. That pain resulted in “Walk by Faith,” written on his honeymoon, and “I Still Believe,” written soon after her death.
“Word of Life,” the first single on “The Answer,” was inspired by Scripture, John 6:60-68, when many of Jesus’ disciples abandoned Him because they didn’t know if they wanted to do what it took to follow Him. Peter, however, stood steadfast. It was Peter who said, “Where else am I going to go?” Camp said, relaying that when life gets tough, there’s nowhere else to run and that we need to stay true to Jesus.
The song “My Defender” on the new CD expresses how God is our protector and fights for us. And the title track embodies the theme of the whole album – that we have to put our faith in Jesus, be steadfast to Him and look to Him for the answer to our problems.
Camp said the CD is different from past records stylewise.
“I try to push it a little bit. … I’ve incorporated some electronic stuff I haven’t used before. But lyrically, the content is just as deep,” he said.
Those who attend his concert can expect to hear some of these new tracks along with his big hits, such as “There Will Be A Day,” “Overcome,” “Jesus Saves,” “My God” and “Reckless,” to name a few.
They will also get to hear Camp minister.
The son of a pastor from LaFayette, Ind., Camp said he strayed from his faith for a time, then “gave my heart back to the Lord” when he was 16.
It was his dad who told him, “Let me teach you some chords on the guitar,” and he began to play and minister.
His own nonprofit organization is Speaking Louder Ministries. Recently, he got a few artist friends together and, on Facebook Live, raised a couple hundred thousand dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief.
“We love missions,” Camp said of his family.
He was inspired when a concert in India in 2016 drew 16,000 people – much more than he expected – who wanted to listen to his music and hear him speak.
“It makes my heart feel alive to minister the gospel and people respond.”
IF YOU GO
What: Jeremy Camp in concert
Where: Grand Canyon University Arena
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Special guest: Royce Lovett
Tickets: Range from $17.50 to $73 (all tickets subject to taxes and facility fee). Special church and group rates available.
Contact Lana Sweeten-Shults at (602) 639-7901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.