Jeremy Camp is one of the most accomplished male artists in Christian music. With 5 RIAA Gold Albums, 5 million albums sold, a GRAMMY Award nomination, 3 American Music Award nominations, 5 Dove Awards, 4 ASCAP “Songwriter of the Year” Awards, Camp has over 40 No. 1 radio hits across all formats. Camp’s highly anticipated new record, When You Speak, is set to drop on September 10. Also this year, Camp’s nonprofit called Speaking Louder has continued its mission to reach hundreds of thousands around the world through free evangelistic concerts in partnership with local ministry leaders and establishing lasting mercy-based projects. In this TCB Exclusive, Camp explains how God spoke to his heart during the pandemic and inspired a change in perspective that laid the foundation for this new collection of songs. Camp also talks about his definition of success for the album and the continued impactful work of his nonprofit.
Can you talk about the title When You Speak and the meaning behind the cover art?
When everything started with the pandemic and everyone’s lives were completely interrupted, I remember just thinking that I can’t wait to get through this. And we’re still trying to get through this, and it’s not even a bad thing to say, but God really spoke to my heart in a clear way. I don’t say that flippantly because it’s a bold statement to say, and He said “Jeremy, I want to get through to you during this.” And it changed my perspective of wanting to just get through this, to ask the Lord what He wanted to teach me in this time. Obviously, everything is different, everything is changed, and I’m not in control. And it really sent me on this trajectory that I need to trust Him. The scriptures that we hear all the time but that hit us deeper in certain moments. I’ve heard Proverbs 3:5-6 so many times, and it’s all those things that you have to dig in deep. What is God teaching me? The title track is scratching the surface of the whole thing that God is doing with my heart. And because of that, there is a lot of depth in this record. I’ve been saying a lot this time to please listen to the album from start to finish because you have to get a full understanding of all that God was doing and I was processing. And the cover has a pop to it. The last album was a desert scene, and I think that continued on a little bit to this season as well. But out of this time also sprung a life and joy from all that God is doing in my heart, and I think the depiction of these songs and how colorful the album and video is, is stepping out of the desert scene into new life.
You’ve pre-released quite a few tracks. Which of the tracks, not yet heard in pre-releases, are you most excited for people to hear?
I think looking back – these songs were all written during the pandemic. I can look back now and realize the emotions I was going through. I do look back and realize how through the emotions, God has brought me through. There are lots of songs I could talk about, but with “Steady Me” it says ‘you never promised I wouldn’t feel pain, but you promised you would be there with me to the end.’ And so for me, this whole conceptual album is very honest about how I’m feeling. I’m hurting. The chorus of “Steady Me” says ‘even when the ground beneath my feet begins to shake, You set my feet, You steady me. When my heart feels tossed along the waves, You steady me.” I look back and I’ve seen Him do that. I remember writing that and allowing Him to take my heart and steady my heart and steady my feet. I think it’s more the conclusion of the record – looking back now and seeing how faithful He has been during that time.
You recorded this new music during the pandemic. Was there any difference in how you approached this project, aside from logistics?
Logistically, you had writing over Zoom, singing in California to someone in Tennessee who is doing the vocals. But I think one of the things I realized in this album, is that I’ve always been busy. Yes, you have time off, but not a lot of time to process. I know God has given me songs, but this past year and a half I’ve had so much time to process. And process and let God dig deep into my heart. The difference in this record is that you are going to hear some really deep processing – in the whole record. I think that’s key because I want people to hear the whole record. Sometimes you have a few songs that you think really dug in deep, but I think the whole record just has such deep meaning to it.
How will you define success for this collection?
It actually stems from the ‘I Still Believe’ movie from not coming out like I thought it was going to. The whole idea for the movie was that it was going to be set up that it couldn’t fail because God was opening so many doors. And then the pandemic hit and it was in the theaters for a weekend. One of things my wife encouraged me was by saying ‘God didn’t break His promises. God never promised that the movie was going to be in theaters for a long time. God never promised that your tour wasn’t going to get canceled. What He promised is that He was going to use all of these things for His glory and His purposes.’ And so my point in saying that, is that the whole point behind this album is that God gets the glory and reaches as many people as possible. I’ve seen how God has used the movie to where it wasn’t a box office thing but used it in a deeper way because people were stuck at home and it reached them in a deeper way. And with this album, I just want this to go deeper. Whatever the expanse or width is cool, but I want it to go as deep as possible.
Your nonprofit, Speaking Louder, has been able to continue its work throughout the pandemic. Can you talk about how the work has been affected, or not, by the new life circumstances?
Speaking Louder is a nonprofit; we go oversees and the goal is to provide a whole encompassing outreach. We have a concert, give the gospel, and leave a lasting imprint. We also do health projects – build homes, wells, feed others. So we haven’t been able to go over, but we have been able to provide through our boots on the ground and financial assistance. In Uganda, we built a medical facility, which has provided medicine and a facility for 50,000 people in this island that haven’t had a place to go. So it’s been incredible to see how people have been giving to that as well.
What are you most expectant for in the remainder of 2021?
We are going on tour finally after a year and a half. And what I’m expectant for is a really sweet time for people being hungry for more of Jesus. I feel like the nights are going to be really powerful and we’re ready for hearts to be changed.