Meet Jennifer Knapp
This Kansas-born singer-songwriter has very quietly and quickly sold over 850,000 copies of her first two label releases, 1997's Kansas and 2000's Lay It Down. Her debut is now certified GOLD with over half a million sold. Coupled with extensive touring, Knapp proved herself as a folk-inspired rock artist whose masterful stroke paints introspective portraits of life's bumpy road. Song after song, she empties her soul through catchy poetic lyrics that utter the precise words so many hearts have long struggled to find. This year Knapp returns with her most stirring collection of songs yet for her third label release, The Way I Am.
Knapp recorded The Way I Am at New York City’s The Power Station, the historic studio that birthed landmark albums by artists like Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, the Ramones, the Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. Knapp's perspective on songwriting and the sheer honesty of her music led to an impressive collection of contributors within the studio's hallowed halls. Taking the production helm was Tony McAnany (Madonna, Missy Elliott, Sinead O'Connor). He and Jennifer led a host of all-star players that included strings maestro Jeremy Lubbock (Michael Jackson, Madonna, Barbra Streisand), drummer Vinnie Cauliuta (Sting, Frank Zappa), bassist Tony Levin (Tracy Chapman, Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Paula Cole), programming whiz David Hentschel (Elton John, Genesis), and guitarist Nick Moroch (Vanessa Williams, David Sanborn, The BeeGees).
From the London Symphony Orchestra to the profoundly intimate percussion, The Way I Am features the most realized, full-sounding backdrop for Knapp's lyrical impressions. The musical dynamics draw out the emotion and passion, especially with the compelling spiritual themes that run through her songs. In fact, the struggles and inner-conflicts addressed in her music are often expressed in the form of confessional prayers. In this way, Knapp joins artists like Lauryn Hill, Bono, DMX, and others, who are very articulate in composing songs directly to God.
With The Way I Am, Knapp continues the spiritual dialogue by writing about the aspects of her faith that she doesn't quite understand. Songs like "Come To Me" and "By and By" find the balance between struggling for deeper understanding yet remaining content not knowing the mysteries of life. Likewise, "Say Won't You Say" and "No Regrets" accept the challenge to find rest in the confusing blur of daily grind. Without wavering, each song on The Way I Am comes across as a biographical snapshot that addresses the deeper issues of love, hope, loss, and forgiveness in a context that offers grace and peace.
As a teenager, the classically-trained Knapp attended Pittsburgh State University on a music scholarship. Though at first it appeared her major was Freshman Partying 101, fellow students inspired her to open her mind to spiritual matters and eventually incorporate them into her music. From there, Knapp began performing throughout the Midwest selling her two custom recordings at shows. Her second indie album, WISHING WELL, attracted the attention of Nashville label Gotee Records, who signed her the following year. With her personal songwriting and gut-rock vocal style, Knapp immediately connected with a national audience who, like herself, had known difficulty in life and was looking for genuine insight.
As an incredibly active performer, Knapp has already shared the stage with many greats, including several peers during dates she did on the last Lilith Fair tour. In the 120 shows she performed in 2001, Knapp impacted almost a million individuals. This makes it no surprise that Pollstar Magazine included her among its Top 50 touring acts of the Winter/Spring 2001 season.
Joining only the best artists, Knapp exemplifies how hook-laden edgy pop music can still have the depth to inspire both the ear and the soul. The Way I Am is an album of substance and style, and heading into 2002, Knapp appears destined to connect her songs with a world hungry for that “something more” that her music delivers.