Jennifer Knapp’s beautifully intimate new album Set Me Free puts her uncommon honesty front and center, solidifying her return to a music career set on her own terms. Set Me Free, out now on Righteous Babe Records, is Knapp’s second mainstream folk rock release after she left her Grammy-nominated Contemporary Christian Music career behind, returning seven years later with the refreshingly straightforward Letting Go in 2010. While her transition away from Christian music and public coming out as a lesbian have made her a lightning rod for controversy, Set Me Free is an album full not of anger but of love, with intimate arrangements providing the backdrop for stories of romance, friendship, and faith. Coinciding with the release of her candid memoir Facing the Music: My Story on Howard Books/Simon and Schuster, this refreshing new album once again demonstrates Jennifer’s uncompromising willingness to be open in the spotlight.
The combined album and book releases have created an expanded platform for Jennifer. In 2015, she toured nationally in support of Set Me Free; presented a musical TEDx talk on LGBT issues of faith at University of Nevada; performed at GLAAD’s Concert for Love and Acceptance with Ty Herndon and Meghan McCain; and wrote about the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality for The Huffington Post.
Set Me Free focuses on how we interact with one another, how we affect others and how other people, places or life events affect us, shaping us into who we are and how we hope to be heard and understood. “Much of this record centers around intimate conversations between two people,” explains Knapp. “Some songs are between lovers, others friends and some who are going separate ways. Each song is a moment of some pivotal point of declaration or need for understanding from one person or one idea to another.”
Since coming out as a lesbian — a noteworthy story that made her the featured interview subject of an episode of Larry King Live — Jennifer’s poised willingness to speak on behalf of LGBT people of faith has created a new role for her as one of their foremost advocates. In 2011, she launched the Inside Out Faith series to engage this social justice dialogue. At these presentations, conducted mainly in churches and universities, Jennifer weaves her narrative with her music while sharing candid revelations of her experiences as a gay person of faith. Her memoir Facing the Music furthers the conversation about the importance believing in one’s own story, whatever that may be.
“an uncommonly literate songwriter” — People Magazine