CCM EXCLUSIVE: Music Behind the Movie A Week Away Part 1—Steven Curtis Chapman

Capitol CMG and Netflix are seeing millions of streams for the newly released hit soundtrack for Netflix’s Christian movie, A Week Away. Instantly familiar, yet completely new, the film’s soundtrack features hits from Christian music icons reimagined and revamped to engage today’s listeners. The movie stars former Disney Channel and current Hallmark Channel stars Bailee Madison and Kevin Quinn. Songs featured in the film and on the soundtrack include, Amy Grant’s “Baby, Baby,” Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Great Adventure” and “Dive,” Michael W. Smith’s “Place in this World,” Audio Adrenaline’s “Big House,” Rich Mullins“Awesome God,” and for KING & COUNTRY’s “God Only Knows.”

In this interview series, will bring you EXCLUSIVE interviews with many of the original artists whose songs were featured in the Netflix original movie, A Week Away. First up…Steven Curtis Chapman.

CCM: How did you first learn about A Week Away? What were your thoughts when you learned that your iconic song(s) would be included in Netflix’s newest original film?
Well, I first heard about A Week Away when my manager called me and said, “Hey, there is a film being made and a couple of your songs are going to be reimagined for this film. . . it’s a summer camp movie . . .along the lines of High School Musical. . .”

Initially I thought, “Okay, what’s this going to be like?” I did not know immediately if this was going to be something great. You know, the idea of “Can this be done really, really well?” Because it’s got to be done well. There’s a lot of opportunities for this to be kind of cheesy, being totally honest.

I was sent a little clip of what was going on with one of my songs—how it was going to be used with all the choreography, the cast, and the new production of my song—and I was blown away. Truly, blown away. And I thought, “Okay, this is way beyond anything I imagined this could be.” The production of the songs, the production of the movie, the choreography, the scope of what was being done—it was like, “This is legit! This is amazing! This is really incredible!” I was immediately on board as soon as I saw and heard what was being done with my music. I was so honored, so excited to be a part of it. And that was just the beginning. The more I saw of what was being done—with the story, with my music, with all the music involved—I’ve just been blown away every step of the way. It’s truly remarkable. Just better than I could have hoped for.

CCM: What was it like to hear your classic songs, “The Great Adventure” and “Dive,” reimagined?
“The Great Adventure” came out twenty-nine years ago. “Dive” came out twenty-two years ago. Wow, that’s pretty crazy. And I honestly didn’t know what they were going to do. I wondered, “Will these songs be more like the original? Just a little back of a throwback like, ‘Hey it’s vintage, we’re going old school?’” Or what?

Adam Watts, the guy that produced these songs, just totally made them feel like new songs. They’re very modern, very relevant musically with what’s happening right now. And it fit the whole film, the whole camp vibe, perfectly. He made them “all skate, all sing” kind of things with everybody singing along. Again, I know I’m just gushing but I can’t say enough good about it. I was just blown away with the production of the way these songs got reimagined.

CCM: Where were you–in life, in your career, etc.–when “The Great Adventure” and “Dive” originally came out? What was going on? What did it mean to you then, and what does it mean to you now?
“The Great Adventure,” many that know my career know that song and that album was a real launching pad when my career went into a whole other level. Musically, I was pushing the envelope a little for where people had categorically put me as an artist. I came on the scene in the late 80s as a singer/songwriter, playing an acoustic guitar. I had some rock leanings to my music because of what I was inspired by, being a fan of everything from the Eagles to The Doobie Brothers, some of that pop-leaning rock music, and then influences of folk and country and bluegrass—all of that went into my musical makeup. So, when I started writing songs and I came on the scene, again I was a little bit more of a singer-songwriter.

“The Great Adventure,” I wrote that song at a time when there were a lot of great and hard things going on in my life personally. The song actually came out of a pretty difficult season. I had a lot of great things happening, but I was also a dad and a husband trying to take care of my family, and be on tour, and meet the expectations of my late record label and managers and booking agents. I had young children at home, my wife was struggling with all of the pressures of that, and I was trying to love my family well and do what I feel like I’d been given this incredible opportunity to do. I wanted to honor what I felt like God had given me. It was just a lot.

I was really struggling. I sat with some very dear friends and pastors and counselors and managers and just said, “I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know how to do this.” And came away being very encouraged, particularly with just the message of what I believe in–my faith that God loves us and is with us in our journey (on the mountain tops and in the dark valleys). And I was just very encouraged with what the grace of God means to me. That’s kind of where this song came from. I wanted to write a rallying cry of “Hey come on let’s go! It is a wild adventure. It’s going to be mountains, it’s going to be valleys, it’s going to be unknown, it’s going to be scary, it’s going to be exciting, it’s going to be thrilling!” That’s what a life of faith looks like. It’s not this very boring religion that some of us think of–going to church and just sitting there, hands folded very quietly. But it’s this wild adventure that God is inviting us into! So, writing that song meant a great deal to me.

Then it was a huge song in my career. That album, like I said, launched my career to a whole other level. I started touring bigger venues, light shows, busses and trucks–you know my whole everything took on a larger scale of what I was doing. My record company, Sparrow Records, was bought at the time by EMI (a very large mainstream music company that launched gospel and Christian music into an even bigger exposure to the world). And so, the genre as a whole was exploding. More and more people found out about Christian music. It was just a very exciting time. It really was a “saddling up of the horses,” like the song says, and taking a “great adventure.”

This song has been such a staple of my career. To see it come back around, all these years later, to be reimagined in this film was really, really cool for me and so fulfilling. It came full circle and still has just as much meaning now. What it communicates in this film, I think is really important.

The song “Dive” is not that different. Another launching pad of my career came when I did this album called Speechless, it was 1999. I added some kind of new styles into my music, some more of the electronic stuff that was going on at the time–programming, drum machine, all of that–and created this sort of sound that was new for me, and sort of new for Christian music even, and inspired a lot of artists. I’ve heard a lot of artists say Speechless and “Dive” really caught their attention and made them think, “Wow, Christian music can sound like that?” Again, it’s been a staple song of mine. To see it come along and have new life, maybe reach new ears, maybe impact a new generation–I’m very honored and very excited about it.

CCM: As a whole new generation is introduced to your music, what do you most hope they take away from it?
The message, I feel like, is timeless. It’s really tapping into messages that have been told and sung since the beginning of time, because it’s a message of faith. It’s a message of God’s presence with us–God’s love for us as his creation as his people. My hope, just like when I wrote these songs, is that it would capture the imagination of people as what a life of faith and a relationship with our Creator was meant to be.

Both of those songs of mine really talk about the fact that a life of faith, a life of trusting God with our life, is an adventure. It’s meant to be something more than we do that’s a religious experience or religion, but it really is a relationship. And it’s a part of our life that brings hope and significance and meaning to everything about our lives. My hope is that everyone who watches the film and will be encouraged by it and be drawn to go, “Man i want to be a part of that experience.” That would be incredibly rewarding if that could happen from my music being a part of this film.

I think the film does an amazing job of telling that story. I really do, I’m so proud of my involvement with this film and my friends that put this film together. They made it entertaining and fun, but with the very powerful, weighty message of hope that comes from really believing that God cares about us as we are, where we are, and meets us where we are. He shows up and brings people into our lives to give us hope and to give us a new beginning to our story. I think these are incredible messages and, again, I’m just honored to be a part of it.

CCM: Worship and song can create such a powerful connection to God and to others, reminding us that we are not alone: someone else has been where we are, and God sees us and knows what we’re going through. How do you anticipate those connections to be strengthened through the music of A Week Away?
Springing off of my last answer, I feel like what is so brilliant about Grand88 A Week Away, is it would have been great if it was just a fun, entertaining movie that had songs that you can sing along to with a bit of a love story and mystery. . . it has all the elements that make a good story. But at the heart and soul of this film is this message of belonging and of God revealing Himself to a lost soul, sort of saying, “I really do care about you. I see you. I know you.”

And the way the main character experiences this is through other broken people, but because of the hope and their own stories of loss and pain, they’ve found their hope in a relationship with God. These characters reach out to Kevin Quinn’s character, who is wandering and lost. He’s wondering where he belongs, does he belong? And we all do. Those are all themes that all of us wonder and battle with. I feel like this music in this film really conveys the whole message of a love that pursues us and says “Hey I don’t care what your story is, I’m going to pursue you. You matter. Your life is important. You matter to God and you matter to me.” That’s an incredibly powerful message, and I think it’s just so well communicated through this through the music, songs and story of this film.

CCM: The soundtrack and film are releasing almost exactly a year after the start of the pandemic. It has been a year of isolation for so many. What do you think of this unique timing? What do you hope listeners get out of the soundtrack and musical?
I think this pandemic has brought all of us to a place of realizing how much we need one another. I mean I found myself walking through the grocery store and everyone has a mask on. All you can see is the eyes and you’re not supposed to be any closer than six feet. The arrows on the floor of the aisles tell you “don’t get to close, go this way!” All of that has done such a number on me, personally. We were created for relationship, and I believe this movie does such a good job of communicating that eternal truth. We were created by God for relationship with Him and with each other. We weren’t meant to do this alone. I think this pandemic has shown us how much we crave connection and community and relationship with each other. And what’s the old saying? “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” What a brilliant time for a film in which that’s the underlying message–none of ue are alone. None of us can do it alone.

I think the most powerful moment of the film is this mashup of the song “Awesome God” (written by my friend Rich Mulllins, who passed away several years ago but left us with an incredible song of faith and of trust in God) with For KING & COUNTRY’s great song “God Only Knows.” You’ve got Kevin Quinn’s character wrestling with these internal questions and Bailee Madison’s character starts singing, out of desperation, this message of “God is an awesome god, I’m going to trust him.” She’s singing not just from this place of “I’ve got it all figured out,” but of “I’m going to abandon myself to this.” That’s a very powerful moment. I think it’s something that speaks so much into culture right now. There is someone and something to trust to put our faith and hope in. And we’ve never needed it more than right now.

CCM: You also made a cameo in the film. How did you enjoy acting in the film and being on set?
It was a blast! I’ve done a little bit over the years of what you could call acting–although that’s a stretch! Any actor would watch and go, “No, no. That’s not acting.” So, I don’t want to call myself an actor, but I did get a chance to be a lifeguard on the beach during the shooting of my song “Dive,” the big musical number that that is. It was so much fun.

I love getting to watch other creative people. Creating a film is a fascinating thing to me. When you sit and watch a film, you have no idea (unless you’ve ever been involved in one) all that goes into it. Everytime I dabble in it, I’m that much more blown away when I sit back and watch a finished film and actors who do know what they’re doing. I had so much fun. I’m so thankful that my friend Gabe Vasquez (who helped produce the film) kept emailing me and calling me saying, “Come do this, I think you’re going to really enjoy it.” He was so right. So, I was very thankful that I was pursued by him and the film’s director, Roman White, and everyone involved in this film. I’m so proud of it and thankful to be a part of it.

YouTube Soundtrack Playlist:

Spotify Soundtrack Playlist:


Soundtrack Track Listing:
1 – Let’s Go Make A Memory
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

2 – The Great Adventure
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & Sherri Shepherd & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

3 – Good Enough
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

4 – Dive
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

5 – Baby, Baby
by Jahbril Cook & Kevin Quinn & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

6 – Place In This World
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

7 – Big House
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

8 – Awesome God / God Only Knows (Campfire Medley)
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

9 – Where I Belong
by Kevin Quinn & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

10 – Best Thing Ever (Stage Version)
by Kevin Quinn & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

11 – Best Thing Ever (Reprise)
by Kevin Quinn & Bailee Madison & Jahbril Cook & Kat Conner Sterling & Iain Tucker & The Cast Of Netflix’s Film A Week Away

12 – Best Thing Ever

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