Where in the World Is Jennifer Knapp?Today I picked up the brand new "Jennifer Knapp" Live CD. She has created some of my all-time favorite music in the Christian genre. With her gritty sound and hard hitting, scripture driven lyrics, she made quite a splash in the Christian music scene when she first emerged 6 or 7 years ago, and had a part of changing the face of "Christian music" as we knew it at the time. Her music was powerful, her fans were many, she influenced countless future musicians, and she acheived a good measure of success in the music business.
Two or three years ago, though, something happened. Very suddenly, she disappeared from the scene. She hadn't even toured to support her third album (as I can recall, at least). At first I assumed she was on some sort of hiatus...but here it is, years later, and barely a word (let alone a note) has been uttered from her publically.
What's even more odd is that no one seems to want to admit it. Her record company has released two albums over the last year and a half: one greatest hits CD, (featuring no new music, save a few previously un-released demos) and now the live CD, comprised of recordings that her band leader, at that time an aspiring producer, happened to record at various show dates in 2001. The only word from JKnapp herself is a brief, dateless note included in the CD jacket of the greatest hits CD. The new Live CD has nothing. All of the notes in it (including the thank you's) were written solely by her band leader, with an cryptic, past-tense tone, as if she was a thing of the past.
What gets me is that the companies advertising these projects say things like "Finally, a long awaited release from Jennifer Knapp"! and "Jennifer Knapp is back with more music!", nevermind the fact that all of the recordings contained on those CDs are 3+ years old, and not a peep is to be heard from her. It's as if the companies think the general public is stupid or something...there is a proverbial giant elephant in the middle of the room, and everyone is ignoring it!
What gets me even more is that you try to google "Where is Jennifer Knapp", and you generally find one of two things: sites with people perpetuating extreme, baseless rumors about her whereabouts and lifestyle, or sites with people seemingly condemning anyone who even wonders where she is, accusing them of putting her on a pedestal, and exhorting them to mind their own business and stop the hate.
Now...I have no interest in starting rumors about her lifestyle, and I understand the value of not speculating. I get it. However...call me crazy, but I'm not seeing anything wrong with wondering where she is, and feeling rather short-changed that no one will say or even admit that she's off the scene. Actually, it kind of ticks me off. It seems so fake, like "let's just cover up the problem and pretend it's not here". I know I don't idolize her, and I really don't think I'm putting her on a pedestal...but she was one of my favorite artists, who's music I always looked forward to hearing. Is it wrong for me to wonder where she's at? I guess a big part of me believes that while people shouldn't put artists on pedestals, by being an artist you are PUTTING yourself on a pedestal, in a way. You are setting yourself up to be a role model.
Anyway, I don't really know what my point is. I'm just ranting and raising a question. It does seem like a tricky situation...after all, what are those in the industry who are close to her supposed to do or say? Anyway, I'm wondering what anyone else's thoughts are on this situation. What would be the right way to handle it?
(p.s. The Live CD is really good. Some of the cuts from her 2nd & especially 3rd CD are better than what ended up on the actual CDs themselves)