Beth Nielsen Chapman – Sand and Water
Early life and history
Beth Nielsen Chapman was born on September 14, 1958, in Harlingen, Texas, as the middle child of five to a Catholic family, an American Air Force Major father and a nurse mother. While Chapman was growing up, her family moved several times and settled in Alabama in 1969. While living in Germany at age 11, Chapman started playing guitar after her mother hid a Framus guitar as a Father's Day gift in her room. She also learned to play the piano at the same time she started playing guitar. As a child and teenager, she listened to a variety of music including Hoagy Carmichael, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Carole King.
In 1976, Chapman played with a rock and pop group called "Harmony" in Montgomery, Alabama, effectively replacing Tommy Shaw who had just left to join Styx. She played acoustic guitar and piano as well as providing vocals for the group in a locally-popular bowling alley bar called Kegler's Kove and has returned to play in the area on an infrequent basis ever since.
Career success as songwriter
Chapman had several popular songs on the Adult Contemporary charts in the 1990s, such as "I Keep Coming Back to You", "Walk My Way", "The Moment You Were Mine" and "All I Have". In 1993, she sang a duet with Paul Carrack, "In the Time It Takes".
Co-songwriter of Faith Hill's hit song "This Kiss", Chapman has written songs performed by numerous artists: Trisha Yearwood ("Down On My Knees", "You Say You Will", "Trying to Love You"), Martina McBride ("Happy Girl"), Willie Nelson ("Nothing I Can Do About It Now", "Ain't Necessarily So", "If My World Didn't Have You"), Tanya Tucker ("Strong Enough to Bend"), Lorrie Morgan ("Five Minutes"), Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Almost Home"), Jim Brickman & Rebecca Lynn Howard ("Simple Things"), Alabama ("Here We Are"), Suzy Bogguss ("Save Yourself"), Claudia Church ("What's the Matter With You Baby"), Holly Dunn ("You Say You Will"), Crystal Gayle ("When Love is New"), Highway 101 ("All the Reasons Why", "Long Way Down"), Terri Clark ("Sometimes Goodbye"), Mindy McCready ("One in a Million"), Waylon Jennings ("Shine On Me", "Old Church Hymns and Nursery Rhymes"), Ilse DeLange ("World of Hurt"), Megan McKenna ("Far Cry from Love") and Bette Midler ("The Color of Roses"), co-written with Michael W. Smith (She Walks With Me on This Is Your Time), among others.
Several artists have performed with Beth on her albums: Bonnie Raitt on "Heads Up for the Wrecking Ball" and "Shake My Soul"; Vince Gill on "Deeper Still"; Amy Grant on "Thanks to Spring"; John Prine on "Every December Sky"; Michael McDonald on "Right Back Into the Feeling" and "Will and Liz"; Emmylou Harris and Kimmie Rhodes on "There's a Light"; Paul Carrack on "In the Time It Takes"; and her son Ernest Chapman III on "Your Love Stays".
Chapman performed at the 2nd Annual “Women Rock! Girls and Guitars” special on Lifetime, singing backing vocals with Emmylou Harris, performing with the ensemble on a cover version of Take It To The Limit, and on "There's a Light" with Emmylou Harris, Pat Benatar, Sheryl Crow and Shea Seger singing back-up.
In her native country, Chapman has never made the Hot 100 chart as a recording artist, although she charted eight singles on the Billboard Top Adult Contemporary Singles chart. She is tied for first place (with Marilyn Maye) as the artist with the most charted Adult Contemporary hits without ever reaching the Billboard Hot 100, according to the Billboard Top Adult Contemporary Hits book.
Chapman also charted one song on the Billboard Bubbling Under The Hot 100 Chart. "Sand and Water" reached Number 2 on the Bubbling Under chart, a position often listed as No. 102 on the Hot 100 in various Billboard singles books.
She is a significantly more successful chart artist in Canada, where she scored three Top 40 hits on the national RPM chart in the early 1990s. Her biggest Canadian hit was "The Moment You Were Mine", which reached #23 in 1993.
Chapman's husband, Ernest Chapman, died of cancer in 1994. In 2000, she experienced her own battle with breast cancer. The song "Sand and Water" was written after Ernest's death; Elton John performed this song during his 1997 world tour. The song was featured on the episode "Sand and Water" in Season 7 of ER (2000), as well as in the Season 1 episode "Dead Man Dating" of the TV series Charmed in October 1998.
She has one son, Ernest (born 1981), who is also a musician and has performed with her. In 2008, she got engaged to be married and living in Nashville, Tennessee. This engagement was the inspiration for her album Back to Love. In January 2011, Chapman married psychologist and photographer Bob Sherman, after a decade long courtship.
Chapman's album, Back to Love, was released in the United Kingdom on January 25, 2010, and in the United States on May 25, 2010. The album contained 11 new compositions. The single "Even As It All Goes By" closed out 2009 as BBC Radio 2's "Record of the Week" and was the only new single added to the "A list" of BBC Radio 2's playlist at the end of 2009. Additionally, Back To Love was BBC Radio 2's "Album of the Week" starting on January 18, 2010. The album Liv On was released on October 7, 2016, for digital download and on CD the following week. It features Olivia Newton-John and Amy Sky in songs about loss and moving on from grief. Chapman, Newton-John and Sky toured across Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland in 2017 in support of the album, performing mainly in smaller, more intimate venues. Her most recent album, Hearts of Glass, was released in 2018 and is available on CD, as an MP3 download or as a digital download.
|US Heat||US Christian||AUS|
|1980||Hearing It First||—||—||—|
|1990||Beth Nielsen Chapman||19||—||90|
|1993||You Hold the Key||16||—||—|
|1997||Sand and Water||30||—||—|
|2007||If Love Could Say God's Name DVD||—||—||—|
|2010||Back to Love||15||—||—|
|2012||The Mighty Sky||—||—||—|
|2016||Liv On (with Olivia Newton-John and Amy Sky)||—||—||—|
|2018||Hearts of Glass||—||—||—|
|US AC||AUS||CAN AC||CAN|
|1991||"Walk My Way"||14||—||15||39||Beth Nielsen Chapman|
|"All I Have"||12||90||37||49|
|"I Keep Coming Back to You"||13||—||—||—|
|1992||"Life Holds On"||33||—||—||—|
|1993||"The Moment You Were Mine"||37||—||21||23||You Hold the Key|
|"Say It to Me Now"||—||—||—||—|
|1994||"In the Time It Takes"||25||—||—||34|
|1997||"Sand and Water"||22||—||47||—||Sand and Water|
|2000||"Shake My Soul"||26||—||—||—||Where the Heart Is Soundtrack|
|1990||"That's The Easy Part"|
|1991||"Walk My Way"|
|"All I Have"|
- Mother & Child (1995) – "Ave Maria"
- Time and Love: The Music of Laura Nyro (1997) – "Stoney End"
- Song of America (2007) – "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child"
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