SCC Likes to Share His Love of God with His Audiences

Metro Spirit | October 12, 2007
If Christian music had an Elvis, it would be Steven Curtis Chapman. Chapman has won five Grammys, and an unmatched 51 Dove Awards. He’s also had more than 40 No. 1 hits on the Christian music charts.

When reminded of his laundry list of awards and accolades, Chapman said, “On some days I feel like, ‘OK where’s my rocking chair,’ I have been doing this so long. On other days — all days really — I feel very amazed by it and very humbled by it.”

Chapman just turned 44 and seems remarkably young to have posted those achievements.

“I am at a point were I meet the upcoming talents in my field that I am I fan of. When they tell me, ‘I have grown up listening to your music since I was a kid and you inspired me to start writing songs and go into music,’ I feel so blessed.”

Chapman has been around music all his life. “I grew up with a lot of music in my life at home. I began writing music when I was 6 and 7 years old. People told me all along I was pretty good at it and had a gift.”

That’s an understatement of grand proportions. He admits, “Everything seemed so natural. I was just doing what I wanted to do and pinching myself. I was always like, ‘Are you serious? You’re going to pay me to do this?’”

Chapman had a popular local act with his older brother Herbie right after high school. His solo career got the boost it needed while at a summer job at Opryland USA in Nashville.

“We had been playing as The Chapman Brothers. But I really went to just play guitar for [Herbie’s] audition. The judges asked me if I sang. I did, and they hired both of us for the same show.”

That’s when Chapman started to rethink himself. “I said to myself, ‘Wait a minute. These guys hear kids from all over and they hired me. To get to come do this is a miracle. Maybe there is something here that I can build on.’”

A park visitor thought so. After hearing Chapman’s original songs, the visitor introduced him to a man named Bill Gaither, who is often considered the father of gospel music. A phone call and publishing deal shortly followed.

This fall, the baby-faced Christian music megastar is on a national tour in promotion of his 16th studio release called, “This Moment.” The album is his first new project in three years. Chapman doesn’t just talk about family values, he lives them and has invited his teenaged sons Caleb, a 17-year-old guitarist, and Will, 16, on drums, to come along as band members.

“It’s the coolest thing ever, really. I remember when I gave each of them their first instruments and thought, ‘Oh Lord what have we done?’

“But when I started to see them really show a great love in it I started to think, ‘Now if I can just stay cool enough until they are old enough, they can go on tour with me in my band.’ That day has come. And we will do it together as long as they’ll have me.”

He said it has been a remarkable bonding experience. “I am their student now. I ask them what they’re listening to and that helps me stay musically connected to what’s happening.”

Chapman has been awarded a Dove Award for Artist of the Year, Singer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year or Album of the Year every year since 1989. He said he has no intention of stopping. To him, his music is as natural as breathing.

“There’s something that happens when you inhale. You have to exhale. Music is that creative exhaling of all that I’ve taken in and all that is happening for me. I don’t think I will ever stop sitting down to write a song.

“There’s always lessons to be learned. The songs are musical reminders of my journey.”

He admitted he has often been in awe of his success and asks himself, “Why me?” He said the answer is always the same. “God blessed me with this gift. And I have really strived to stay honest. And honesty has not been something that I had to work on.”

He laughed. “It’s all I had to offer. I’m not a brilliant guy who can spout off all these great insights on the mysteries of the universe. I felt I could offer my stories. God gave me the gift of setting those to music.”

Prompted by “the united front” he and his wife of 23 years, Mary Beth, share, Chapman is looking forward to a long, soul-feeding sabbatical after this tour.
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