As the lead singer of Creed, Scott Stapp achieved great success but he also wound up as something of the whipping boy for post-grunge, receiving scorn for his guttural growls and rock star moves. He may have suffered innumerable slings and arrows but at the turn of the millennium, he was arguably the biggest rock singer in the United States, as Creed's first three albums -- 1997's My Own Prison, 1999's Human Clay, and 2001's Weathered -- all went platinum many times over as they generated hits like "What's This Life For," "Higher," "With Arms Wide Open," and "My Sacrifice." Creed couldn't maintain this level of success and they splintered in 2004, with Stapp launching a solo career with The Great Divide the following year. The group reunited in 2009 but once again went their separate ways a few years later -- this time, it wasn't clear if the break was permanent or temporary; there was no announcement of a split, and Stapp released a second solo album called Proof of Life in 2013.
A native of Orlando, Florida, Stapp began playing music while at Florida State University, hooking up with a former prep school friend guitarist Mark Tremonti in 1993. Soon, they added bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips, along with rhythm guitarist Brian Brasher, and began performing under the name Naked Toddler, then adopting the Creed moniker soon after. They shed Brasher in 1995 and continued forward, working the material that would form their debut, My Own Prison. Released independently in 1997, the album became a local Floridian hit, earning the attention of Wind-Up Records, which soon signed the band. My Own Prison turned into a national hit thanks to the singles "My Own Prison," "Torn," "What's This Life For," and "One," and it was soon eclipsed by 1999's Human Clay, which went platinum 11 times in the U.S., thanks in part to the strength of the power ballad "With Arms Wide Open."
In the wake of such great success, relationships within Creed became strained, and things got worse during the supporting tour for 2001's Weathered. In 2004, the band announced their break-up, with Tremonti announcing in the press that the band was not getting along with their lead singer. Stapp immediately launched a solo career with 2005's The Great Divide. Although it didn't boast a big hit single, the album was nevertheless certified platinum. Stapp supported the album with a tour and over the next few years he went on the road frequently, but the next big news arrived in 2009, when Stapp and Creed reunited for a tour and a new album called Full Circle. Creed supported the album with a tour and continued to be an active concern through 2012, when they played concerts showcasing their first two albums in their entireties. By that point, Stapp was deep at work on his second solo album. The group went on hiatus in 2013 as he completed the album that became Proof of Life, which appeared in October of that year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine