His testimony has touched countless listeners, his songs have shot straight to the top of the charts, while his debut CD Stay and worship project Carried Me consistently resonate with fans across the country. Indeed, the last two years in Jeremy Camp's life have been replete with blessings, starting professionally with a phenomenal run of six number one smashes from Stay plus 2004 Dove Awards for "Male Vocalist of the Year" and "New Artist of the Year." The singer/songwriter has also been rewarded richly, especially in light of the initial turmoil derived from losing his first wife Melissa to cancer. Aside from finding solace for himself and providing comfort to others by sharing her story, the worship leader has discovered a new love in his life- recent bride Adrienne (familiar to music fans as former front woman for The Benjamin Gate) followed by the birth of their brand new baby girl, Isabella Rose.
"There's been so much that's happened," admits Camp, as he sits back and assesses the whirlwind surrounding his life and career as of late. "I've dealt with a lot of pain and met so many people that have experienced the same. People have accepted the music, I've met Adrienne, [Isabella's been born] and [I've] just been totally consumed by God's goodness."
Following a steady stream of travels- both literally in the touring sense and internally as the recovery process hit full stride- Camp has penned his most personal record to date, appropriately titled Restored to vulnerably expose his challenging past and rejoice in his peaceful present. The official sophomore project encompasses the emotions of being put back together, carrying on with his desire to minister, while providing an expository account of God's unconditional faithfulness.
"Even with all the pain surrounding Melissa's passing, it blows my mind to think of how many people have been strengthened by her story and how it has led me to lean on the Lord," Camp recalls. "To have that hurt find healing and me meeting Adrienne confirms that God has a perfect plan for our lives. Adrienne has been so blown away by Melissa's testimony and I've been so moved by how genuinely excited and interested she is in serving the Lord. It helps me see that our faithfulness also means He'll never leave your side no matter how deep your sense of struggle may get."
Such sentiments are further etched in the lyrical framework of Restored, which is sure to lend a calming presence to those in the midst of a trial period and hopefully cause them to emerge with a new sense of purpose. Take for instance Camp's candidness on the title cut where he speaks of his once feeble and almost broken soul, citing both the joy over salvation and a new romantic relationship as lifelines from the pit of despair. Setting that triumphant stage paves the way for fellow nuggets of revitalization like "My Desire," which oozes with its writer's craving to wholeheartedly be used by the Lord as a lifelong offering of appreciation.
"All the writing for this record has come from reflections as I've spent time with the Lord, growing and maturing with my walk," Camp contends. "He would teach me different things at different times and a lot of the concepts revolved around wrestling with God and then being brought to my knees."
One such reflection that specifically addresses that spiritual combat is "Take You Back," which will be supported by a short form music video (from the makers of Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me"). The song's stature is two fold, taking the side of either one submerged in anguish that's later settled by grace or a backslidden sinner who returns with Prodigal Son styled sincerity.
Besides surging with relatable and encouraging antidotes, Restored also carries Camp toward fresh musical territory that still stays germane to his signature sound. Included on the menu are stadium filling anthems, rock and roll pile drivers, swelling power ballads and delicately orchestrated reflections. Such a vast cross section stems from production work with indie icon Aaron Sprinkle (Poor Old Lu, Pedro the Lion) plus past collaborators Andy Dodd and Adam Watts. Additional credits of prominence include mixing by Chris Lord-Alge (Hole, Green Day) and mastering by Brian "Big Bass" Gardner (Outkast, No Doubt).
"The most amazing thing creatively was that all my original ideas matched up literally on the exact same track as what Aaron was thinking," Camp confirms. "In getting to work together and become friends throughout the course of the project, we really got an idea where each was coming from musically and it came together with all sorts of cool twists. This record is sonically very full sounding and I didn't listen to anybody in particular to say 'let's get it to sound like this.' Restored is just an honest reflection of how it all came out from those sessions."
Results include the mellow momentum build of "Lay Down My Pride," the empowering cries of "Nothing Else I Need" and the towering crescendos of "My Desire." Add some colorful contrasts, like the gritty rocker "Breathe" and the lushly arranged string swells of "Even When," and there's plenty for fans of all palettes to sink their teeth into.
"This is a really fresh and exciting album to listen to," continues Camp. "There's a consistent evolution that takes the old consistency and adds some new curves. I try some different tones with my voice and tried out a lot of different chord progressions. It's all coming straight from my heart, so there's passion in every detail."
Even greater than such artistic ardor is Camp's insatiable commitment to ministry, which still parallels his days of leading college Bible studies and touring with merely an acoustic guitar. "One thing God's taught me is to be an approachable, Godly man that seeks to live like Christ both on and off the stage," he sums up. "In no matter what way you're meeting me- in public, private or through Restored- you're going to see me letting it all hang out. I really want to comfort the believers who are hurting, exonerate the ones who need exonerating and see the ones who aren't saved come to know Jesus."
Click here to search songs by Jeremy Camp