When I was in college I remember hearing the music of Jim Chappell for the first time. Jim was one of those artists that launched me into piano music almost 30 years ago. (Check out Jim’s albums ‘Dusk’ and ‘Nightsongs & Lullabies’.)
Fast forward to 2017 and I was performing a concert in Phoenix, AZ and guess who was in the audience? Jim Chappell!! It was a full circle moment for me.
Last year I had the honor to tour with him. I was flattered he asked me. He’s such a nice person. I recently sat down for an interview with my friend and colleague Jim Chappell. At the end of the interview I’ll post a link to his website.
PW: Please tell us about your background?
JC: I was intrigued by music from as long as I can remember. Started out being influenced by my mother constantly singing to me when I was a very young child. Then as I got older the parents played a lot of movie themes and standards on the stereo. Started taking music lessons in 1st grade and loved that. Studied mostly standards and along with the pop music of the time..am not classically trained.
PW: What did you want to be when you grew up?
JC: From as long as I can remember I knew I wanted to express myself with music; never once thought of doing anything else for a career.
PW: How old were you when you first started playing the piano?
JC: Began studying at around age six.. used to go play at the local indoor shopping mall’s music store and would have crowds of people form to see what the little guy was doing. (I was short as a kid:) I suppose I liked the attention from an early age.
PW: Who where your earliest music influences?
JC: Earliest musical influences were popular movie sound tracks and pop standards from the yester years, the Beatles, Chopin, Burt Bacharach, Moody Blues, Yes, Top 40 radio hits of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. Oddly enough not a lot of pianists as influencers.
PW: What got you into playing the piano?
JC: A guy came to my first grade class selling lessons on the accordian actually! I ended up running breathlessly home from the bus stop and announced to my parents I wanted to take lessons. I remember being very excited for some reason. Once they saw I had some talent they said goodbye to the accordian guy and brought an organ with the foot pedals etc. into the house. Did that till I was in my teens when I fell more and more in love with the acoustic piano my grandmother had left us when she passed and shifted into that when I started wanting to compose.
PW: When did you know that you wanted to be a solo piano artist?
JC: In my late twenties when a close friend convinced me he loved the instrumental piano music I was messing around with was great to listen to.. I thought of it as private music for “myself only” to relax and dream with up until then. He convinced me others would enjoy it also if I got it out there. So I agreed to at least find out.
PW: What inspires you musically?
JC: Hard to describe other than something I’m feeling strongly about that wants to come out of my fingers I suppose so I can hear it over and over again if I want to.. Usually topics like: Beauty/Romance/Travel/Relationships/Dreams
PW: Your most favorite song in your catalog?
JC: Hard to answer! Like asking a parent to name their favorite child:) Depends on my mood at the time also..
PW: Biggest joy in your career/life?
JC: The birth of my daughter 2. Standing alone during my soundcheck and looking out into to an empty 4000 seat theater that was sold out for that evening for the first time before any fans arrived.
PW: Biggest struggle in your career/life?
JC: The precariousness of the music business as a means of earning a living, and the mis-management of income when it did arrive.
PW: Advice you’d give to up and coming artists?
JC: It’s been said before: Only choose this path if you can’t see yourself doing anything else; if it’s something the whole of you has to do. It’s not for the fragile soul. But it’s very fulfilling if you can find a way to manifest your dream.
PW: How do you want to be remembered?
JC: As someone who added to others lives in a positive way. As someone who helped others connect more deeply with the spiritual side of life.
PW: Thanks Jim! I look forward to touring together again one day!
Check out Jim’s website here https://www.jimchappell.com/
Pic of me and Jim 🙂