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Steven Curtis Chapman Pushes Boundaries

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

At a time when church-driven music dominates the Christian industry, and many of his peers are releasing praise and worship albums or hymns collections, Steven Curtis Chapman is boldly going where no one in contemporary Christian music has gone before. He's releasing an album of love songs.

"All About Love," due Jan. 28 on Sparrow, is a musical valentine to Chapman's wife, Mary Beth. "It's something that's been 18 years in the making, and I've been waiting until the right time to do it," says Chapman, who notes that he told his spouse: "'You have to really, really love this record because I don't know how everybody else is going to respond.'"

With 47 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, four Grammy Awards, two Recording Industry Association of America-certified platinum and nine gold albums to his credit, Chapman has reigned as one of the Christian music community's top acts for more than a decade, but "All About Love" has the potential to garner him mainstream attention.

"All About Love," Chapman's 13th studio release. Consumers who pre-purchase the album will receive a special collection that has the first single, "All About Love," as well as other such previously released love songs as "Go There With You" and "Love and Learn." (He has generally included a love song to Mary Beth on each previous album.)

Chapman wrote each of the 15 tracks on "All About Love," except for the two covers, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" recorded by the Scottish duo the Proclaimers, and "I'll Take Care of You," an Archie Jordan-penned song previously recorded by Ronnie Milsap. Chapman also reprises "I Will Be Here," an early hit for him that has become a favorite at weddings. BeBe Winans sang the tune at matchbox ywenty frontman Rob Thomas' nuptials.

To further spread the word about the album, Sparrow is enlisting Chapman fans to hold listening parties for their family, friends, churches, etc. For doing so, they'll receive a special copy of unreleased sessions Chapman recorded at London's famed Abbey Road studios. Party attendees will receive a coupon for a discount on the CD. Sparrow also plans to run a contest at Christian radio to send 50 winners to New York on Valentine's Day to see a special Chapman concert that will be recorded and broadcast on Christian radio.

Excerpted from the Jan. 18, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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