The 100 Years of Radio – 100 Years of Hit Makers limited series podcast gives music fans a front-row seat for conversations with songwriters behind some of the biggest hits of yesterday and today. You’ll learn the stories behind the songs from the people who wrote them. Each episode will focus on one writer: sometimes, they’ll just talk about one song, other times, they’ll talk about a number of hits.
100 Years of Radio – 100 Years of Hit Makers special podcast series is produced in partnership with Beasley Media Group, XPERI (HD Radio), and BMI in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast.
Scott Stapp has written and sung some of the biggest songs on rock radio over the past two decades. Here, he tells us the stories behind a bunch of them.
Scott, let’s talk about your song, “Survivor.”
“Survivor” was a song that started out as a self-affirmation. Lyrically, it was how I wanted to feel during the midst of a struggle, a crisis, a time in my life that was just tough and and trying to just convince myself, as I was going through it, that I would get through that situation. And I found that in doing that, it gave me strength. I think that song is has connected with with a lot of people that have gone through various things in life.
We’ve had folks that have gone through cancer or other diseases and overcome them, [people] that have been victims of of any type of abuse… and the song connected [with them].
It’s always cool when you pour your heart and soul into [a song] that you’ve lived and experienced, and at some level it connects with the listener. That’s what made it special. It’s really an empowerment song. And, you know, it’s celebrating that. It starts out as just affirmations and believing and speaking about what you want to accomplish and achieve and then celebrating that once you reach the chorus.
As you say, lots of people can celebrate getting through a difficult time in their life. Most people have at least a rough patch or two. In your case, it’s definitely different because you’re famous. Some of your struggles have sort of played out on social media and that’s something that most people don’t have to experience.
It definitely makes it more difficult to deal with, and there’s an added level of intensity and pressure when you’re going through a tough time and something that a lot of people would go through in private with their close, immediate friends and family. When you’re playing that out in the public eye, it can be mischaracterized and misrepresented.
But you know what? It just creates thicker skin, man. And that’s what any struggle and any adversity does for all of us as human beings, whether you’re in the public eye or not. It just makes us tougher. It makes us stronger. So we can hopefully use that experience once we get to the other side to help somebody else going through a similar situation, or any struggle.
Creed’s “Higher” was a lot of people’s first exposure to your voice. Talk about that song.
That song was really inspired by, you know, me kind of getting into this study of being awake in your dreams, dream awakening, lucid dreaming. And as I was kind of exploring that and reading books about that, I came up with those lyrics and and [guitarist] Mark [Tremonti] and I got together and put it to song.
Human Clay was where it seemed like people outside of rock radio listeners were starting to sing Creed songs.
I think that [“Higher”] was our first song that crossed over officially. Outside of the rock genre specifically.
I think it’s good for rock bands to have one album where you sort of “belong” to rock before you cross that pop threshold just so you get used to you like sort of a big audience before you get thrown into like a massively huge national audience.
I mean, it definitely it definitely worked out good for us that way. It definitely worked out good for us because we you know, we were a staple at the rock format. I think branching out into other formats was just a natural thing for us because it was a full expression of who we were as a band. You know, we wrote heavy rock songs all the way through our career and even our last album, Full Circle, had very heavy rock songs. But there’s always songs that can cross over that’s just part of our identity and what we do. And so it’s definitely worked good for us.
That you to Scott Stapp for the interview. Check out the rest of the interview in our podcast; scroll up and download it.