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Scott Stapp: “With Arms Wide Open” Mimicry Made Me a Better Singer

Trust him. Scott Stapp’s heard it all before, but he’s got a pretty good sense of humor in rolling with the punches over his dramatic vocal delivery in Creed’s massive 2000 rock hit “With Arms Wide Open.” In fact, while chatting with The Ringer’s 10 Questions With Kyle Brandt (viewed below), he reveals that even his kids have had fun with him while mimicking the monster single.

Stapp first discusses the song’s history and the good that came from it. “It changed my life and I have just a sense of appreciation for that song coming to me and Mark [Tremonti] when it did and it’s still relevant in my life today,” says the singer.

But Brandt also addresses how the song changed how the band was viewed after its crossover success and even Stapp admits it got so overplayed in the early 2000s that even his wife told him she would turn away from it. From there, Brandt asked Stapp how much he’s seen people copping his vocal style in doing impersonations and Stapp revealed that even his kids have busted his chops from time to time.

“It started with my oldest son and oldest nephew. I’m driving down the street and they’re giggling in the back and I was either taking them to practice or taking them to school and was like, ‘What are you guys laughing at?’ … and they’re like ‘With arms wiiiiide opennnn,” recalls Stapp, adding, “Now, ten years later, my 13-year-old and my 9-year-old now, they were making fun of me in the car about McDonald’s always being open. They were hungry and wanted to go get something to eat. They’re like, ‘Dad, we’re hungry,’ and I’m like, ‘Where do you want to go?’ and they bust out together ‘McDonald’s wide open.’”

The singer continues, “It’s also funny to hear how other people hear you. Cause I never heard myself with this over-the-top [mimics sound] stuff, but I guess that’s the caricature voice of me and it’s funny man. I’m all about picking on myself. It’s all good man.”

In fact, there actually has been some benefit from being confronted with his vocal style by others. The vocalist told Brandt, “I don’t know where I picked up all the idiosyncrasies of how I enunciate and I’ve been called out on my vowels … But it’s actually helped me as a singer because I’ve heard that and I’ve intentionally enunciated differently on different words and syllables, so thank you world for pointing out a consistent pattern early in my 20s so I could evolve and grow as a singer. You made me better. Thank you.”

Stapp has rolled with the punches with aplomb over the years, even cheering on the 2016 Carolina Panthers after learning that one of the band’s favorite practice pastimes was something they called “Creedbombing” It started with the idea of photobombing but instead popping up close to teammates and singing Creed lyrics with their “raspy” voices. The other key element was to offer “really deep, direct eye contact” mimicking Stapp’s delivering in the band’s videos to the person you’re Creedbombing.

Upon hearing the news in 2016, Stapp shared his appreciation for the humor and for its role in the team’s playoff run. “I just started dying laughing,” said the rocker at the time. “And then the next thing you know, my band is doing it to me out on tour. And I saw the humor in it and saw how funny it was. I think it’s awesome.”

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