Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp Comes Out

BY Emily Drabinski

April 13 2010 12:20 PM ET

Kind of. She resists the label, insisting that it feels unnatural and foreign, that she’s just the Jennifer Knapp she’s always been, just with a significant relationship with a woman. As Knapp sings on “Inside,” the track from Letting Go that “I play when I get angry,” what Knapp fears the most is that “I know they’ll bury me / Before they hear the whole story.” Her sexuality is certainly part of why Knapp left music and dropped out of sight to the other side of the world for nearly a decade. She fell in love with her girlfriend (whose name she chooses to not reveal), and after eight years together, there’s no denying that anymore. But there were also conflicts with her business partner (with whom she had a hand in the early Christian music career of Katy Hudson, who has gone on to kiss her own girls as Katy Perry). Music had become about work instead of about joy. And then there was the rift between her faith and her sexuality. “I thought I had to exchange one for the other,” she says.

It’s a struggle familiar to most gay people, even those who haven’t had to make room for sex and God, often uncomfortable bedfellows. Choosing to come out can still mean choosing away from family and friends who just can’t accept us as well as making institutions like marriage and parenthood exponentially more difficult to access. For Knapp, the process of bringing faith and sexuality into a coherent self required her to step away from her life and career in the U.S. The music that had spoken through her voice and hands became completely alienating. “I would think, I don’t even have a right to sing a song I wrote, because I am a hypocrite,” she says. Knapp spent her first three years as “a PlayStation guru,” and, when she tired of that, spent four years working at everything but music. She didn’t even pick up a guitar until her last year in Sydney. “I was building something new, starting something fresh,” she says. “I had to go someplace that would completely redefine my perspective of who I was in the universe.”

Then one day, bored after seven years of simmering, Knapp picked up the guitar again, and the music felt right. She wrote the handful of tracks that would become Letting Go. Her manager tells me they arrived in the mail one day affixed with a sticky note that asked simply “Are these any good?” They were. She came back to Nashville last July because “if you’re going to do music, you’ve got to record it.” Just a few sessions told her and her team that it was time to make music again, and she moved back for good in August, bringing her partner with her.



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