In a multi-city trek that starts this summer, the singer will perform acoustic versions of some of his biggest hits with Creed as well as some of his new solo work. The stripped-down format will allow him to connect with his audience on a deeper level. “What I’ve been through will reflect in my music,” he tells PEOPLE. “I think it makes it a lot more authentic and raw.”
By his own account, it has been a rocky road for the Creed frontman.
He left home in December of 2014 and began driving across the country, making some bizarre videos along the way in which he said he was under attack. Soon after, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder that was exacerbated by drug and alcohol use. After hitting rock bottom, he returned home and went through intensive treatment.
In 2015, he sat down with PEOPLE in his home shortly after returning to his family. At the time, his emotions remained very raw. “I was still very shaken and fractured and broken when I spoke to you,” he recalls now. “Things were still so new. It was a painful time.”
He credits a lot of his recovery to the love of his life. “I couldn’t have gotten through it if it weren’t for my wife, Jaclyn,” he says. “She has always been there for me.”
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Today, Stapp, 43, has an aura of confidence and serenity as he embarks on his newest chapter. “After that shattering, a new person has emerged,” he says. “It’s still a work in progress. I haven’t arrived by any means, but there’s a clarity in my mind. I’m able to experience love and joy and happiness with my wife and children. All the things I love about life have slowly come back into my reality.”
Now healthier and happier, Stapp says that he’s channeling his former pain into his music. “I learned so much on this journey. It’s really taking the act of creating music and writing songs to complete the process of healing and enable me to completely process all the various traumas. I’m sharing everything that I’ve learned, good and bad, in getting hold of myself mentally as well as my sobriety.”
The result: a new authenticity in his music. “I wanted to do something special to commemorate my 20th anniversary in the industry and of the My Own Prison album,” he says. “But I’m different than I was back then, and I want to share that process. I’ve really learned and grown a lot, and I think an acoustic tour is a good way to show that. It will be very intimate. I’m really excited to share this part of me with people.”