Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With Jennifer Knapp and Margaret Becker

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The holiday season is here! We have a some great holiday-themed shows coming up and Jennifer Knapp and Margaret Becker's special "Hymns Of Christmas" show on December 11 is truly a highlight! Jennifer Knapp is a Grammy-nominated artist who was well established in the Christian music world. She's had #1 songs, won Dove awards, and toured with some major acts. In 2010, she came out as gay. As you can imagine, this was a bold and controversial move for someone so well known in the religious music scene. Mei caught up with Jennifer for this neat Q&A. Thanks to Jennifer for the cool answers! Get tickets hereAll advance tickets are entered in a lotto giveaway. One winner will be selected to receive a signed Hymns of Christmas CD by Jennifer Knapp & Margaret Becker!


Where and when was your first show?

The first official "stage" I remember being on was at an underground coffee house in Kansas City called "New Earth Café". I had gone to so many concerts there, having seen so many acts that were just starting to get national attention, like Sixpence None The Richer, Don and Lori Chaffer of Waterdeep. There were tons of locals that played alongside of nationally touring acts. I could hardly believe it when a friend of mine got me a half-hour opening spot. I was hardly ready for it. I'd never been on stage with lights where the room in front of me was dark and completely packed with people. I really only had 4 songs that I was any good at playing and was freaked about how I was going to get through an entire half-hour. My hands were a sweating and shaky. My legs were total jelly. It felt like I was in the spot light for what felt an eternity, but I survived it somehow. Not only that but I ended up getting invited to come back again and again. It was the first venue I ever played a sold-out show as a solo artist. That environment, the musicians, audience, experience and mentorship no doubt deeply influenced the musician I am today.

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

I wouldn't hold to one artist in particular. But I do tend to turn my head most in the direction of acoustic driven songwriters like Tracy Chapman, Patty Griffin, Cowboy Junkies, Indigo Girls, Jonatha Brooke…the list goes on. I think what surprises people most is that I find inspiration in less similar genres, like Eminem, Lady Gaga to Johnny Cash to the Cure. At the end of the day, artists I call inspiring are those who shed light on the human experience they illuminate in their music. Country, rap, blues, pop…good is good. Style is a good place to start, but find artists that show you a picture in the human experience and you've really found something worth being inspired by.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

Well, there was the day I fell on stage and thought I broke my jaw? That's pretty nuts. We were finishing up the DC Talk "Supernatural" Tour, so all the bands were celebrating by interrupting each others' sets by pulling pranks. The DC Talk crew had pranked openers The W's by crashing their stage and dousing them with ridiculous amounts of silly string. As it turns out, that stuff gets pretty slippery. A realization I came to when, in a moment of rock and roll ecstasy, I (along with my very nice Fender Strat) jumped up on the drum riser to jam out only to have my feet slide right off the metal coping. As if a rug was pulled out right from under me, I lost my feet, falling chin first onto the metal coping in front of the massive crowd. The guitar probably saved me from busting up my ribs, but my face was what felt like took most of the damage. You could hear the crowd gasp when I fell, but we all kept going. I had no idea how bad I looked until Toby McKeehan came out to crash my set. He took one look at me and turned white. My chin had turned into a massive Jay Leno-esque super bruise. It looked shocking. The whole front row of the audience kept looking at me like I had lost my mind as they watched my bump continue to swell. In the end, it wasn't anything that a week of icing couldn't help, but I definitely wasn't fit for camera for a few weeks!

Favorite Food:

Honestly, how do I pick? Comfort food: Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Hot Chicken? Or gourmet? Just about any kind of decadent cheese, just about any French cuisine. Road food…beef jerky and gas station burritos. What can I say, I LOVE food!

Favorite Drink: These days: Single Malt Scotch please.

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

Please, no one should re-enact this hot mess…

What two words would best describe your music? Acoustic poetry

MARGARET BECKER

Where and when was your first show?  

My first show with Jennifer  for The Hymns Of Christmas Tour was in Denver Colorado.  That was the show I found out that my classical guitar had a less than agreeable pick up, and for the duration of that run, I was the "groove-breaker" during every sound -check--not a role I'd like to reprise this year!

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

As far as an artist that influenced me it's always been the singer-songwriter's and among them; I would say Joni Mitchell perhaps was the biggest inspiration.  She's always been a brilliant artist, someone who taught me a lot about chord voicings and bending songwritig rules.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

Memorable moments in shows-yea-that would be the the time my shoe got caught in my skirt during an Irish Jig and it pulled my skirt down to my knees in front of 5000 people.  I got a lot of die-hard fans that night--lost a few too, and received one salacious date proposal.

Favorite food: I'm a chocolatarian--chocolate in any and all forms the darker the better. Favorite drink: A really well-made Cosmopolitan with a chilled glass.

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

Who would play me?  It would have to be Julianne Moore.