Three words have been central to Jeremy Camp’s life — I still believe.
And the story of how he still believes despite tragedy has caused his experience to impact the lives of many others.
Camp, who has recorded 11 albums, will be in concert with Katy Nichole Oct. 30 at the Miller Theater.
“You don’t get over it,” said Camp, who experienced profound grief days after turning 23 when his young bride, Melissa, 22, died of ovarian cancer.
Their love story was part of the focus of a 2020 movie called “I Still Believe” and her death sparked a song of the same name.
The song was born out of Camp’s grief and speaks of still believing when it doesn’t make sense. That is common ground for many people touched by his music.
While grief is something someone never gets over, they learn to adjust and to adapt, but Camp said it’s o.k. to allow yourself time to grieve. He also believes that Jesus understood people’s grief. Camp related it to the Bible story of when Lazarus died.
“Jesus wept. It’s a powerful verse. He’s here for us,” he said.
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A pastor’s kid from Indiana, Camp accompanied his father when he would minister at a local home for boys or in jails. The desire to help others impacted him at an early age.
He met his wife, Melissa, in Bible college and fell in love. She broke off the relationship, and he discovered she’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2000, and it had spread. He proposed that month. She began chemo and the cancer went into remission. In October 2000, the two were married, and after they returned from their honeymoon, she became ill. In November, they learned, it had returned. She died in February 2001.
Camp had been drawn to music in his teen years. He has been quoted as saying he loved Melissa because of her heart of worship, but after her death, he wanted to walk away from it all. A pastor encouraged him to keep going with his music, and the following year, he released his first nationally distributed album, Stay. The song “I Still Believe” — the first one he wrote after her death was on that album and went to No. 1.
In December 2003, he married his wife, Adrienne, and they have three children.
Camp said he uses his story as a way of being “real and transparent.”
Grief can bring hard days with it — days when people least expect it, but through it all, Camp said, God is there.
Between 2002 and 2017, Camp released 11 albums, four of them RIAA certified as Gold. He has sold nearly 5 million albums. His original music, a mixture of ballads and up-tempo rock songs, has earned him numerous awards and nominations across the Christian and secular music industries, including five GMA Dove Awards, one Grammy nomination, three American Music Award nominations, and four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Awards. His 2017 album, I Will Follow, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Christian Album and in the top 25 on Billboard Top 200. In 2010, Camp was named Billboard’s #2 Christian artist of the decade, according to his biography.
He still focuses on his music, but he said he and his wife are passionate about helping people with their marriages and have written a book called “In Unison.” They are also involved in ministry in Uganda.
Joining Camp on the tour is Katy Nichole who has had her own share of faith-trying times that cause her to echo Camp’s sentiments.
Nichole was born with scoliosis. In 2015, she had a spinal fusion surgery which left her in constant excruciating pain.
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“I spent a lot of my time being angry at God,” said the singer, who wrote the song “In Jesus Name (God of Possible) which was released earlier this year and has more than 12 million views on the official YouTube video.
The song “In Jesus Name” is Nichole’s prayer, she said.
Like Camp’s “I Still Believe,” it came from a place where she was calling out to God for help her situation.
“I was so upset with my life. I’d just call upon the name of Jesus,” she said. “I’d ask him to fil my heart and fill my life.”
Another surgery would rid her of about 75% of the pain, but Nichole said she still lives with a chronic condition and an everlasting trust.
“I focus on God,” she said. “Even if I can’t see.”
The concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18-$50 and are available at millertheateraugusta.com.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the managing editor of The Augusta Press. Reach her at email@example.com