Steven Curtis Chapman has spent the last 35 years writing and performing genre-defining songs that shaped a generation. With a staggering 49 No. 1 singles in his catalog, he is the most awarded artist in Christian music history, winning 59 GMA Dove Awards, five GRAMMY Awards, an American Music Award, and selling more than eleven million albums with ten RIAA-Certified Gold or Platinum albums. In short, Steven Curtis Chapman is synonymous with contemporary Christian music. After so much success, some might think recording a new album would be second nature. But for Chapman, starting a new chapter wasn’t so easy.Read More
Steven Curtis Chapman has spent the last 35 years writing and performing genre-defining songs that shaped a generation. With a staggering 49 No. 1 singles in his catalog, he is the most awarded artist in Christian music history, winning 59 GMA Dove Awards, five GRAMMY Awards, an American Music Award, and selling more than eleven million albums with ten RIAA-Certified Gold or Platinum albums. In short, Steven Curtis Chapman is synonymous with contemporary Christian music. After so much success, some might think recording a new album would be second nature. But for Chapman, starting a new chapter wasn’t so easy.
The ever-present inner critic whispering “can he do it again?” made the hitmaker question whether making new music was the right move. “When you have success beyond what you can imagine,” Chapman says, “it’s a two-edged sword. At some point, you walk in with a bunch of new songs hoping people are ready to hear something new. The hard part is people don’t always want that. They want to hear the hits.” But when he looked deep within his own heart, Chapman found he still had stories left to tell. “I finally gave myself permission to say, don’t question if this is relevant or where it’s gonna fit or will it work in the current landscape of Christian music,” Chapmans says. “I had to silence the voices, sit down with my guitar, and write whatever was stirring in me, let it come out however it came out. I couldn’t think about – will this matter to the Christian music community, will it get played on radio, will it fit into the landscape?”
Untying himself from the long list of expectations set Chapman free to do what he does best – craft sweeping, heart-stirring, vulnerable yet triumphant songs that strike a new chord. It’s Chapman back to his glory days, recalling mega-hits like “The Great Adventure,” “Dive,” and “More To This Life.” But don’t mistake familiarity as a re-hash. With relevant, poignant lyrics, chill-inducing melodies, and Chapman’s stellar musicianship, Still is filled with entirely fresh, life-giving songs for the masses. His gift for writing tear-stained lyrics about serving a God he doesn’t always understand but always, always trusts is on full display. Chapman holds nothing back, his full-voiced cries of praise echoing God’s faithfulness in days gone by and trust in His mercy for the days ahead. “That’s what I’m trying to do with this project,” Chapman says, “remember where I’ve been and where I’m going.”
Lead track “Still,” a driving insta-classic that’s joyfully reminiscent of Chapman’s earliest hits, spills over with gratitude and hope for the One who is faithful…still. “The word ‘still’ really emerged out of all the pain and chaos and confusion of the last few years,” Chapman shares. “It’s an anchor word, kind of the wind that keeps moving my ship forward, whether in peaceful seas or raging wild seas, I still believe these things I’ve been singing about all these years.”
“Don’t Lose Heart,” a core track on the project, shines with Chapman’s fearless belief in possibility. It’s for those who’ve faced the insurmountable and made it through to the other side. “I feel like there are things I can say now,” Chapmans says, “even fourteen years after my own family’s tragedy. We’re not better, we’re just in a different place. I want to encourage people from the place where I am. I’ve been in a dark, dark valley and I’m still singing.”
Chapman’s willingness to shine a light on his pain, struggles, and faith, but also his joy, redemption, and hope infuses Still with universal goodness. Songs like “Kindness” and “A Desperate Benediction (Peace On Earth)” showcase Chapman’s signature nice guy persona, encouraging us to meet people where they are and make room for each other’s pain. “It’s Jesus’s kindness that drew us in,” he says. “Kindness is a deep conviction for me.”
The standout track, “Love Now,” is an emotional plea to cherish every moment. While dealing with the loss of both his brother-in-law and his longtime keyboard player within a matter of months, Chapman had a memorable conversation with Mike Weaver from Big Daddy Weave. “I was on tour with Big Daddy Weave and Mike and I were talking about suffering and how life is hard and often doesn’t make sense. But we said, what else can we do? Where else are we gonna go? The only thing scarier than right now is believing the story is over. This song is a reminder to love each other right now and trust God with the rest.”
Still was produced by what Chapman likes to call his “dream team,” which includes his long-time creative partner Brent Milligan along with Ben Shive, Brian Fowler, Micah Kuiper, and rounded out by Chapman’s sons, Caleb and Will Chapman, both of who are part of the rock band Colony House. The album is more than a collection of songs reflecting Chapman’s positive outlook. It’s his hard-earned contentment, his heart in a song, singing about grief that lingers but doesn’t destroy, faith that doubts but still believes, and showing kindness for others who are facing the same. It’s a picture of the human experience – the beautiful, the terrible, the painful, and the wonderful.