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Beth Nielsen Chapman Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Beth Nielsen Chapman Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Lamitschka: How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Answer: 
I would describe my musical taste as “melting” pot from all the influences and cultures that I have been exposed to from my childhood growing up in a military family, moving around every couple of years. Add that in with growing up in the 60s when radio was very diverse and of course I got a good hit from my parents record collection which included all the great masterful songwriting of the 30s and 40s. Then really coming of age in the 70s with all the singer-songwriter swirling about was such a rich time to be immersed in so much great music. I have always had a hard time picking one category to exist in, so my songs range pretty widely in terms of the style but I do believe a great song can adapt to any style of production or presentation.


Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?

Answer: 
This last year was very challenging for me as my husband was diagnosed with leukemia in August and we spent the whole month of August with him in critical care. Fortunately he is doing very well now and is expected to make a complete recovery. In the midst of all that I was finishing this record and trying to get it out into the world but as life stuff has a tendency to do it created quite detour! So I would say the highlight of the year for me was getting through all of that and finding out that he was in remission and early fall. It’s remarkable to me how grateful one can feel after coming through a difficult time...just to be grateful for life to go back to normal actually!


Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how's it doing?

Answer:
My latest release called “hearts of glass“ has been doing great! It is coming out in the US in late April and has done really really well in its release in the UK where I am now touring for the next several weeks. The reviews have been wonderful so far! 

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD?  Is there a story behind the name

Answer: 

The title of the CD “hearts of glass” came from a line in one of the songs called “epitaph for love”.   “ diving headlong off the overpass with our hearts of glass for love”.   It felt that all the songs on this collection really captured that essential space between vulnerability and straits that I think we all inhabit within our hearts.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).

Answer: 
The songs on this album or a mix of new songs and a few old favorites of mine that I have always wanted to re-visit with very sparse production. I was inspired to make this album very sparse in production because I really enjoyed the work of the group called “the civil wars“ and I sought out there producer Charlie Peacock who was actually originally going to make this record with me when his schedule changed suddenly and I ended up having his son Sam Ashworth produce the record. Sam is extremely talented and actually came by the suggestion of Charlie.

Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?

Answer:
My last CD “UnCovered“ was a collection of songs that I had written for other artists that were hits for them--songs which I have never recorded myself including such compositions as “this kiss” which was the number one hit for Faith Hill, “nothing I can do about it now“ which was a #1 one hit for Willie Nelson, and several others. 

My new CD “Hearts of Glass“ is a collection of new songs and a few old gems that I dug out which I have always wanted to re-create in a more sparse setting.

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the most?

Answer: 

I like to record all kinds of songs I don’t really have a favorite. I have done quite a bit of diverse styles over the years including a children’s album on astronomy called “the mighty sky“, a collection of old ancient Latin hymns called “him his“, and a double CD song in nine different languages from various cultures and paths of faith called “prism”.  I just follow what inspires me at the moment.
 
Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?

Answer:  I have had some wonderful feedback from fans over the years from my music. Some letters and emails have been very moving to me. One in particular was from a man who had lost his wife 10 years before and he had pretty much stopped living… He wrote to tell me that he heard the song “sand and water“ on the radio and went out and bought a CD player and a CD and took it home and over the weekend listen to it over and over and cried and cried. My favorite part of the letter was the last sentence where he said “and Monday morning I put the CD away and I started to live my life again.”

 
Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music scene versus its past and where do you see it going in the future?

Answer:  Well I believe creativity and musical expression is alive and well, while it has been a very difficult era since Napster came along and gutted the music industry, the creative expression of individuals writing songs and making music has never lost its value although I think it’s much more difficult now for those struggling up-and-coming musicians to find a way to make a living which is absolutely unacceptable to me.


Lamitschka:  What do you think about today's music industry?

Answer:  I think today’s music industry is still in recovery mode and unfortunately I believe it is still a bit of land grabbing that prays on the creative class but I am hopeful with some of the new technology that we will see more transparency which is really something that each creator is owed. To be able to track where ever there material has gone and who has benefited from it’s out reach. And mostly to be fairly compensated for their work which so enriches the lives of many and fills the pockets of those who are the gatekeepers.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?

Answer:  If I could change one thing about the music industry it would be to create transparency so that everyone could see what everyone is doing and we could all thought on the side of fairness.

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what's your favorite activity?

Answer:  My favorite activity is the moment that I finished a new song after what is usually many many hours of work to try to make it right. There is a sacred moment before anyone else has heard it when I really enjoy feeling of accomplishment and centeredness like no other.   A close second to that is the joy that I have in performing and feeling the love from an audience enjoying the work that I have done.

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

Answer:  I actually work very hard to avoid being driven. I find it’s a lot more fun just to float!
I actually work very hard to avoid being driven
I was inspired to be an artist by all the artists that inspired me.

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

Answer:  When I have time off I love to relax doing other forms of art such as painting or jewelry making and of course number one on the list is playing with my little grandson who is just turning five. 

Lamitschka:  When you're on tour, do you have time to play tourist?

Answer:  When on tour I always try to find something local wherever I am. I really enjoy being in the UK where there are still so many small businesses and restaurants run by families which is very rare in America now. I’m not a fan of chains and global brands as much as finding something really unique from a local when I’m in the area.

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans find there?

Answer:  My website is bethnnielsenchapman.com and I have everything there -all the information etc. about what I’m up to!

 
Lamitschka:  What's your favorite song that you wish you could have recorded?

Answer:  There are so many it’s hard to pick one… But I think one of my favorite recordings I’ve ever heard is “song of Bernadette” by Jennifer Warnes. If I were to record this myself I’m afraid I would be just trying everything I could to do it exactly the way she did it which is perfection.


Lamitschka:  What message would you like to send your European fans?

Answer:  I would say to my European vans I am trying to get there! I would love to tour there much more than I do and I’m looking for ways to do that!
  
Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do you have one you can share with us?

Answer:  I love riding on trains so whenever possible I leave the band to drive to the next gig and I jump on a train. And this one particular instance I was putting superglue on my fingertips because playing the guitar with my fingers was really painful. Just as I got the superglue have to dry the train stopped at the station that I was meant to get off on and I was ill prepared to be ready to get off the train in time for the door to close again. I jumped up and tried to grab my guitar and computer etc. but my fingers have gotten stuck to the inside of my purse which was very pathetic and now I left but at the moment I was quite panic stricken of course I did miss my train stop and had to go several miles out-of-the-way get off the train in the middle of nowhere and switch back to get back to where the gig was. My road manager just looked at me and sighed.

Lamitschka:  Describe what a perfect day is like for you.
Answer: A perfect day for me is to get up and meditate and drink a cuppa coffee and go for a walk in nature and come back home and make a lovely brunch and spend some time writing and in the afternoon go pick up my grandson and take them to the playground and then come home and cook a fabulous meal for my husband.

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