We are gathered here for a celebration! 25 years ago, I released my first national recording, Kansas. I am truly amazed, humbled, and honored by this album’s impact on the world. What strikes me most is not the popularity or commercial success it has received, but that its spiritual influence has endured.
Back in 1998, I didn’t know the first thing about making a “Christian” record, or what it meant to be a “Christian” artist. The songs on Kansas were written by a young woman who had tremendous faith in the idea that an all-seeing, all-knowing God just might be able to love her, to love all of us.
Yes, Kansas has sold a bunch of copies, won a few Dove Awards, and even had a couple of #1 radio singles, but these are not the reasons the songs continue to persist in our lives and memories. What we all cling to goes beyond a catchy tune, a melodic hook, or a driving rhythm. It’s the spirit these songs have offered us through the years, the prayers we continue to pray in moments of doubt without feeling foolish, and the Hope we continue to call upon, not for some supernaturally intervening miracle, but for the kind of miracle we know is truly possible – to give, and receive, love.
As I have grown, my experience and understanding of religion, God, and faith may have changed. Still, I know there is something innocent and unpremeditated in the songwriting of Kansas that persists and is worth celebrating.
It has been a great privilege to learn how much this record has meant in your lives, and I am grateful you have journeyed with me and been a witness to my experience as well. When I wanted to erase these songs from my life, YOU gave them back to me. The stories you shared with me helped me find the courage to reclaim these songs for myself.
YOUR ENDURING LOVE OF KANSAS is one of the reasons I want to revisit these tunes in the studio. Together, we have grown up, given up, and gotten back up…and for most of us, there’s a song on this album that is the soundtrack to our life journey or memories.
We are the same people we have always been, yet time and experiences have made us the unique individuals we are today. I hope to make a new recording of Kansas that both honors the innocence and hope of that young songwriter and also reflects the people we are all becoming.
Thank you for reminding me that “old friends” can speak to us in new ways! Let’s make Kansas 25 together!
Jennifer Knapp xoxo