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Ex-Creed frontman Scott Stapp wants to share with SoulFest crowd

Singer Scott Stapp of the band Creed performs solo in concert at Soundstage on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Baltimore. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Singer Scott Stapp of the band Creed performs solo in concert at Soundstage on Sunday, April 6, 2014, in Baltimore. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Ten years after Creed disbanded and former frontman Scott Stapp launched his solo career, the singer-songwriter looks back on the past decade of his life and describes himself as “a prodigal son.”

“I’m far from having arrived, I’m far from perfect, but I’m trying to live 24 hours at a time and stay in the present,” Stapp said. “God has done amazing things in my life.”

Stapp is lined up to perform Aug. 8 at SoulFest Music Festival in Gilford and said he’d play songs off his 2013 album Proof of Life and the 2005 album The Great Divide. The Christian music festival atmosphere will allow him to be “his most authentic self” on stage, he said.

“At these festivals, I feel like I can just be with others that love God and love Jesus and have that perspective in mind,” Stapp said. “It’s definitely a different spirit that I feel in those environments, and it feels like an old baseball glove. It feels right.”

The big question he plans to pose to his SoulFest audience is this: “What’s your proof of life?”

“The proof of life concept on this album was born as I was freed from a dark period in my life,” Stapp said. “It gave it purpose and transformed it into a story to share and help others with. . . . This album really symbolizes that literal proof I found that it all mattered, that it all had a purpose.”

SoulFest organizers build the festival around the concept that service work and social justice are proof of life for all believers, and general manager Joel Strycharz said Stapp is “a really exciting fit” for the festival this year.

Stapp said he believes that in writing and performing music, he can learn to serve others.

“All of my albums, solo and with Creed, are kind of snapshots of where I am spiritually, mentally and emotionally,” he said. “I think everything in the past years has been a learning experience to grow and be a better artist and a better human being. That all started there, with Creed, but my clarity and purpose has always come from writing and performing my songs.”

He has spoken publicly about what he calls the “demons in my life” – his struggle with alcohol, drugs and attempted suicide in the past 10 years. In his experience, the line between mainstream rock and Christian music is drawn too arbitrarily and can restrict artists’ abilities to incorporate their experience with such demons into their music.

“I think, if the rock ’n’ roll genre is going to reflect the reality of the artist’s life, and reflect authentically the human experience, which is what rock ’n’ roll music is supposed to do, you can’t leave faith and spirituality and those questions about God out,” he said.

“People want to separate it and move it to a different category and play it on different radio stations. But I want to reawaken the rock and roll community and knock down those walls.”

Fans have three ticket options to see Stapp on Aug. 8 – a three-day pass to SoulFest is priced at $115 for adults for the rest of this month, a one-day pass costs $40 for adults, and an evening ticket costs $35. In addition to a 5:35 p.m. performance Aug. 8, Stapp will hold a workshop with festival attendees at 2:15 p.m. the same day. For information on tickets and the rest of the SoulFest lineup, visit thesoulfest.com.

(Ann Marie Jakubowski can be reached at 369-3302 or ajakubowski@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @AMJakubowski.)

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