Scott Stapp

Stepping back into the spotlight Grammy Award winning Song­writer/Vocalist Scott Stapp is taking his The Space Between the Shadows tour across America. Florida fans will be able to catch this amazing talent on September 26th at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, September 27th in Amaturo Theater at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, October 3rd at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville and October 4th at Hard Rock Live in Orlando.

Taking a moment during this summer tour Stapp, Creed front man and solo artist (actually platinum certified from his previ­ous two solo albums) revealed details of his tour and album The Space Between The Shadows, his first released in six years, which has already spawned four singles. Two, “Pur­pose For Pain” and “Face of the Sun,” with “Name” and “Gone Too Soon” on the verge of being released.

SFL Music: The Space Between The Shadows, this album title sums up the songs on the album? The tour?

Scott Stapp: Well The Space Between the Shadows is to me, light. You know, it’s color. It’s finding the positivity and the light and the color in light. It’s coming out of those dark places and back into a place of peace and love and happiness and joy, and this album’s really a journey to that place. It’s actually a lyric from my upcoming new single which will be going to radio in about, oh five or six days called “Name.” It’s a lyric from that song, and when I was thinking about what to name the record, I felt after going over the body of work that, that was just the perfect title to sum up what my goal was. What it ended up being as I listened to the body of work, and that’s to find the light.

SFL Music: What prompted you to write this album? There are some serious topics. How did this all come about?

Stapp: Well I just felt it was time to make a new record and felt the creative juices beginning to flow, and decided to make an album. When I’m in the studio, I don’t go in with anything pre­planned. I really want to kind of come from at times, a stream of consciousness place, and at other times just digging deep within myself in terms of reflection on the past, or digging deep into what I’m feeling at the time, and then it all just, you know, kind of floods out as the process goes on.

SFL Music: The tour goes into the Fall. What can fans ex­pect from this show?

Stapp: It’s a real high energy rock n roll show. I try to bring that arena type rock show with production, lights and all the bells and whistles into whatever venue that I’m playing. So, it’s a journey. It’s a musical journey that will encompass a lot of material off my new album. A couple of songs off my previous solo album and then of course songs from my Creed cata­logue. So, really encompasses my entire career to date with an emphasis on my new record.

SFL Music: Well people are looking forward to that. What prompted you to go into music? You were an athlete and you had offers (scholarships) to play baseball in college, but you chose music. Why did you choose this route?

Stapp: Well it started at a very young age. I started perform­ing and singing publicly when I was eight or nine years old, and then got tuned in to a few rock bands watching MTV. That’s when the seed was planted. I remember being nine and watching the Def Leppard “Photograph” video come on MTV and I remember thinking in my head, man I want to do that, but also you know, I wanted to be a pro-ball player. So, I went and pursued both of those my entire life and then life situations and life circumstances just came to a fork in the road, and I made the decision to pursue music.

SFL Music: Two of your children sang on “Wake Up Call” that is on the new album The Space Between The Shad­ows?

Stapp: Yes.

SFL Music: How did that come about?

Stapp: That was an amazing experience to have them sing. You know, I was in the studio with my producers, and one of my producers Scott Stevens said, man it would be awe­some to have kids singing in this one section. I was like dude, that would be awesome, and he’s like, you know anybody? I was like, my kids! So, to have them involved in the studio process and have them come in, and we brought in some of their friends as well, and to have them see what daddy does making a record, and for them to be a part of it, was awesome, and it turned out great on the record.

SFL Music: That is very cool! Do they take formal music lessons as well?

Stapp: They both take formal guitar and piano lessons and they also have taken vocal lessons in the past, but I find that I work with them as well on all that, but sometimes, it’s funny to see your kids sometimes listen to other teachers better than they do you, he laughed.

SFL Music: Did you take lessons too growing up? You taught yourself as well?

Stapp: You know, I never had the attention span to stick with any lessons, any formal training with piano and guitar. I was playing by ear and learning songs off the radio, and so I would go into my piano lessons or whatever lessons they were, and I was you know, look what I learned. Look what I taught myself. When I was getting shut down and never wanting to teach me the basics and how to read music and notes I just lost interest, because I wanted to go ahead and play what I was hearing on the radio. So, I played well enough and had self-taught enough to use the piano and guitar as writing tools, but by no means am I a virtuoso or would call myself a pianist or a gui­tarist. They’re just writing tools for me that I use to create with.

SFL Music: The Doors are one of your influences?

Stapp: Yeah, The Doors and U2. I could rattle off a bunch of other bands, but I think The Doors were a huge influence in terms of how I read and saw in movies how Jim Morrison ap­proached his lyric writing and the importance he put on that, and how he looked at it as poetry. Then U2, major influence again, you know, how the lyric writing was looked at. How prominent it was, and how meaningful it was, and then also how they wrote these songs that just made you feel, and cited an emotion and had meaning. It was more than just the rock n roll lifestyle, and so I would say U2 was the largest and biggest influence on me as a songwriter and as an artist.

SFL Music: Did you go to Florida State (FSU)?

Stapp: Yes, I did. I went to Florida State.

SFL Music: Majoring in music?

Stapp: No. I was all over the place. At one point in time I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer so I majored in Politi­cal Science and minored in English, and also studied film and also studied Philosophy, Psychology. I just kind of bounced around trying to find myself and ah, got a record deal, was called off to New York during my final semester. Midterms of my senior year.

SFL Music: Wow, so you went with your passion of music.

Stapp: Yeah, really had no choice at the time.

SFL Music: Good choice.

Stapp: Yeah, it turned out to be a good choice.

SFL Music: There are a couple of songs on the new al­bum. One was written for your children (“Name”) over­coming obstacles and another was “Gone Too Soon” for Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell. Were you friends with them? What inspired you to write that song?

Stapp: Yeah, I wouldn’t say we were friends in the traditional sense, but we definitely were acquaintances. Everyone was kind and polite and I had much admiration for them, and that song “Gone Too Soon” was inspired by a culmination of events in one day. Chester passed on the same day as Chris Cor­nell’s birthday which brought up the memory of Chris’s pass­ing and then you know, I’m flipping through the TV and I’m seeing a school shooting, and I’m seeing suicide rates for Vets going through the roof, and I even believe right around the same time I heard of an elementary school student commit­ting suicide, and drug overdoses were up, and it all just hit me about the loss. The loss of lives, and I went to the studio, got together with a couple of buddies of mine and wrote that song. Really, it’s just kind of how that impacted me in that mo­ment, but also with a hopeful feeling of, you know, celebration of their lives and then realizing from my belief, that we’ll meet again one day. So, that song really has got much of a broader reach besides those specific things that I listed, and really can relate to anyone who’s loved somebody and lost them.

SFL Music: Your songs are definitely relatable. Is there anything you’d like your fans to gain or learn from your music?

Stapp: You know, I just want to connect with people. I just want to connect with people on an emotional level. On a human level through my music, and that’s been my goal since day one. To kind of share this human experi­ence and the gamut of emo­tions that we experience as human beings. I’m not trying to tap into a niche or limit my creativity and my work to any kind of specific genre. That’s why my albums have been so diverse from the heavier rock tunes, to the songs that have become big pop hits. I write based on feeling and wanting to connect, and feel that I’ve always had the desire to con­nect with the masses, just like the bands that I’ve looked up to the most like U2. So, really that’s what it’s all about for me.

SFL Music: What encouraged you to start With Arms Wide Open Foundation?

Stapp: I started that in 1998 with really, just a conviction and a passion to help children and families in need. For many, many, many years I just did that behind the scenes and partnered with other organizations, or helped people as my heart felt compelled; but then as my life had its own struggles and trials and tribulations, the foundation has since expanded, and now we not only help children and families, but we also help Vets that are suffering from mental health issues, PTSD. It also ex­tends to help those suffering from addiction and alcoholism. So, it’s really grown and just over the last, I think few years, I’ve kind of taken it public because I realize you can do much more to help if more people are involved.

SFL Music: Your children also have organizations that they volunteer time to?

Stapp: That’s my wife’s foundation which is in partnership with mine. She started a foundation while she was in college at Stetson (University) and it’s really taken off. I am so proud of her. Every year now here in Nashville she does a big back to school bash which continues to grow and grow and grow, where she provides back packs full of school supplies to chil­dren in need and families who can’t afford them. We had a huge event this year again where the kids got haircuts, medi­cal exams, school supplies, new clothes because of her pas­sion for education and helping kids and families that need help, because she really thinks that it’s not only giving them something that they need, but that, that first day of school and feeling prepared and feeling confident sets the tone for the entire year, but also is a valu­able life skill about prepara­tion. So, it’s something that the whole family has become passionate about, and now that Jaclyn has involved our children in, I’m just so proud of her for the works that she’s doing there.

SFL Music: What is the name of the foundation?

Stapp: It’s called Children Are Magical and it goes by the ac­ronym CHARM. You can find out information about it at chil­

SFL Music: Well this is an organization our readers should look into. What made you move from Flori­da to Nashville, TN? You’re from Orlando?

Stapp: Yeah, we’re both from the greater Orlando area, my wife and I. We lived in Miami for a while and then Boca Ra­ton. Then a little over three years ago, we decided to move to Nashville. You know, I was here so much, writing and rehearsing with my band and stuff when I wasn’t on tour, that it just made sense that I could spend more time with my family. We could be together more when I wasn’t on tour if we lived here. It’s such an amazing place to raise kids and has such a thriving music community and music scene and again, it just enables me to take the kids to school, then go do what I’ve got to do in the studio or with my band, then pick them up from school and be a coach. When in the past living in Florida, I would be gone. I’d be away from the kids, and so it’s enabled me to be more involved in my children’s lives. Be more pres­ent, and that’s always number one.

SFL Music: You were inducted into the Florida Music Hall of Fame. How did that come about?

Stapp: I just got the call and got the letter that I had been in­ducted and it was such an honor, and I’m just filled with grati­tude that I was inducted and honored in that way. I would have never thought.

SFL Music: Yeah that’s awesome. Now you worked a vari­ety of various jobs in the past prior to your career. Do you think that played into your work ethic? What do you think you learned from those jobs, Oyster Shucker, Bar Tender, Pizza delivery?

Stapp: Landscaping, construction worker, roofer. You know what I mean, it taught me the value of work. You know I had to begin taking care of myself at a very young age, at 17, and so from 17 to the present, I’ve had to work and pay for everything that I have in my life to date. I had no help. So, I think it taught me the value of work and how to set goals and work to achieve those goals. It definitely has affected me in terms of my ap­proach to how I handle my business, and my wife and I handle my business now. Also, just what you put into it. You know, what you put in is what you get out. So, I think learning the value of good hard work and self-sufficiency and paying your bills and learning that at a very young age, definitely think, has a great and positive influence on your life as you grow and mature and become an adult.

SFL Music: That’s great advice. What would you advise up and coming artists?

Stapp: I would say focus on your music. Focus on writing good songs and then the best way to get that music heard and ex­posed is to record it and record it with quality. You know, your initial presentation of your work is very critical into getting dis­covered or getting it in the right hands of someone that can take you to the next level. So, hone in on your song writing, and then get it recorded and make it the highest quality record­ing and presentation that you can make so you can catch the eye of someone, if that’s the career that you want to pursue.

SFL Music: Is that how you approached your first band in Tallahassee?

Stapp: Yeah, that’s exactly what we did. We wrote our first twelve songs, found a local producer, put our heart and soul into recording the music, packaged it like it was something you could buy in the store, created our own fictitious record com­pany name, went around to the various CD stores in the city and said hey, we’re from Blue Collar Records, which was the name of the record company and company that we created, and we want to sell our CD’s here. Would you give it a trial run? They said, yes, and then our local radio station there in Tallahassee began playing us on the Local Bands Only show, and because of the feedback from the listeners, they ended up moving it to the regular radio station play list, and we ended up selling 5,000 CD’s that we had out within a week. That was enough to flag all the major record companies from all over the United States into, who’s this no name band from Tallahassee who sold 5,000 records in one week? So, you know, yeah, we approached it very seriously from the art design, to the packaging, to our pictures, and to our presentation, and to the quality of the recording, and looking back, that made a huge difference and paid off for us.

SFL Music: Is there anything else you want SFL readers to know about the show and new album?

Stapp: “Well, I’m just excited for everyone to go check out my new album The Space Between The Shadows. We had an amazing first week, you know being the number ten highest selling hard copy album in the country, the United States. Top five, actually number three Rock Album in the United States and the UK, and so, I really want to get that out there, and for those who haven’t heard the album yet, to check it out. It’s something I’m very proud of and if they’re going to come to the show, I think they’ll enjoy having heard some of the new material before we play it live.

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