Beginning his career in the shadow of his wife's death, contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Jeremy Camp's life and career are a testimony to how faith and hope can triumph over tragedy. Bolstered by his powerfully dramatic vocals, Camp's 2002 album Stay garnered considerable attention in CCM circles, and his subsequent work gained even larger audiences. His 2010 offering We Cry Out: The Worship Project even managed to crack the Billboard Top 20, cementing his position as one of the most popular Christian performers of his generation. 2021's When You Speak is a collection of songs rooted in perseverance that saw Camp exploring electronic influences.
Camp was born on January 12, 1978, in Lafayette, Indiana, where his father was the pastor of the town's Harvest Chapel church and taught his son to play guitar. After completing high school, Camp attended bible college in Southern California and developed a keen interest in music, influenced by the likes of U2, Delirious?, and Jars of Clay. When one of the worship leaders at the school heard Camp playing with some friends at his dormitory, he urged him to become involved with their music ministry program, and soon he was performing at Christian music events all over California, recording a self-released disc called Burden Me in 2000.
At one such appearance, Camp met a young woman named Melissa, and the two struck up a friendship that blossomed into a romance. When Melissa broke off the relationship after a few months, Camp was crushed, but when he next saw her, her life had taken a serious turn: she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was in the hospital. When Melissa went into remission, Camp married her, but after their honeymoon, they discovered the cancer had returned, and in early 2001 she passed on; she was only 21. Camp poured both his sorrow and the faith that helped see him through into his music, and in 2002 he was signed to BEC Recordings, which released his first nationally distributed album, Stay. It was both a critical and commercial success, and five songs from the disc reached the top of the Christian singles chart.
While touring in support of Stay, Camp met singer Adrienne Leisching, former singer with the Benjamin Gate; the two hit it off, and in 2003 they were married, and have since been blessed with three children. In 2004, Camp released his second album for BEC, Carried Me: The Worship Project, which matched the gold record success of Stay, and Camp won two Dove Award trophies for Best Male Vocalist and Best New Artist. In 2005, Camp released two albums -- a studio set, Restored, which rose to number 45 on the Billboard Top Albums chart and spawned three number one Christian singles, and a live disc, Live Unplugged from Franklin TN. Camp also recorded the song "Open Up Your Eyes" for the soundtrack of the hit film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which earned him another Dove Award. The fall of 2006 brought another studio set from Camp, Beyond Measure, which reached number 29 on the Billboard charts and produced two more hit singles. Speaking Louder Than Before arrived in 2008, followed by the concert album Jeremy Camp Live in 2009.
In 2010, Camp released the second installment in his praise series, We Cry Out: The Worship Project. The album scored two singles, "The Way," which hit the top spot on the Christian Music chart, and "Overcome," which came in at number two. He followed that set with Reckless in February of 2013. That same year, Camp published his memoirs, I Still Believe. Camp also founded Speaking Louder Ministries in 2013, an organization that works with churches and evangelical organization to stage crusade events around the world. In late 2014, Camp released a single, "He Knows," which he said was inspired by letters he received from fans wanting to know how the death of his first wife impacted his faith. "He Knows" was the first single from Camp's tenth studio album, I Will Follow, which arrived in February 2015. In the summer of 2017, Camp issued the single "Word of Life" in anticipation of the release of his 11th full-length outing, The Answer, which arrived later that October. Summer 2019 saw Camp begin issuing singles from his forthcoming 11th full-length effort. The resulting The Story's Not Over arrived later that September. Camp struggled with the political turmoil and health crises of 2020 and he turned to his faith for strength. The experience informed his next album, 2021's When You Speak, where he experimented with electronic pop without diluting his testimony. Mark Deming, Rovi