Kelly Chapman
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Kelly Chapman

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The best kept secret in music


"Sounding the Call to Salvation"

Saturday, May 01, 2004
John Soeder
Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic
She used to dream of being a backing vo calist for Luther Vandross, Madonna or Whitney Houston.
Now Kelly Chapman is out front on her own, singing the praises of a higher power.

"My goal is not to become a superstar," she said. "My goal is to get a message out. . . . The message is: Cast your cares upon the Lord. He is going to heal you, restore your joy and direct your path."
This local up-and-comer performs at 7 p.m. Monday at Playhouse Square's Ohio Theatre to mark the release of her debut CD, "Real." Blessed with a crystalline, soul-stirring voice, Chapman considers herself a contemporary Christian artist, although the tag barely begins to describe the stylistic range of the songs on her album.
"Shake the Devil Off" rides a techno groove. "It Ain't Too Heavy" has a hip-hop feel. And "In Your Presence" is straight-up gospel.
"Hopefully, the music will appeal to Christians and non-Christians," Chapman said during an interview last week at her Cleveland Heights home. On a table next to the piano in her living room was a book of Bible readings.
"And hopefully, it will draw those who don't know Christ to Him," she said.
The CD will be on sale at the concert. You also can buy "Real" at Record Revolution in Cleveland Heights and at Rainbow Family Book Center in Maple Heights. For details on ordering the album online, go to
Chapman broadened her musical horizons while performing with the wedding band Nightbridge in the 1990s. "I sang at more than 1,000 weddings, everything from R&B to pop to hip-hop," she said.
She hit the road in 2001 as a backing vocalist for R&B crooner Tony Terry.
Chapman also has shared stages with everyone from gospel great Yolanda Adams to the late pop-rocker Robert Palmer.
Chapman met Palmer through Doctor Gabs, a pianist who let Chapman sit in with him two years ago when he was performing at a hotel in Switzerland. Chapman was there on a ski trip.
Gabs brought Chapman back to Europe a few months later for a concert in Belgium. Palmer was on the bill, too.
"My God, Kelly - look at the hairs on my arm!" Palmer told Chapman when he heard her sing. "Your voice is magnificent."
Chapman belted out "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" as an encore in Belgium. "I got a standing ovation," she said. "It was amazing."
Earlier this year, she performed during the pre-show for BET's "Celebration of Gospel" concert in Los Angeles.
Chapman recorded "Real" at several local studios. The disc opens with her reciting a Scripture passage from Proverbs: "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."
"I've been hurt . . . and I think it's because I'm someone who hasn't guarded her heart," Chapman said. She declined to give her age.
"I've settled for so many bad relationships," she said. "I really do want to meet the right person and get married at some point. . . . But I've gotten to a point now where I realize it's OK to be single."
"Real" is a bit of a family affair. Chapman and her 13-year-old daughter, Natalie, do a duet on "Just One Candle." And Chapman's sister Tracy Nicole Chapman, a Broadway actress (no relation to the "Fast Car" singer), provides harmonies on several tunes.
The album also features a guest appearance by Eddie Baccus Jr. of Pieces of a Dream, who plays sax on the jazz-tinged "Get into the Flow." Chapman described the latter number as "a call to salvation."
In addition to eight original tunes, "Real" includes Chapman's rousing version of "Shout to the Lord" and a handful of other worship songs.
"It's a refreshing CD, not the same old, same old," said Randy Young, senior pastor of New- Song Church in Cleveland Heights. Chapman is a leader of the nondenominational congregation's worship team.
"I get to hear her sing regularly," Young said. "Her talent is exceptional. And her love for God comes shining through her music."
Chapman co-wrote most of the original material on "Real" with multi-instrumentalist Ryan Lott. "He brought a whole new flavor to the CD - kind of funky, kind of hip," Chapman said.
"I'd heard her sing at church gatherings," Lott said. "I was blown away by her presence."
Chapman has done some acting on the side. She portrayed Sister Sally in a 2002 production of "The Amen Corner" at the Cleveland Play House.
She appeared as an extra in the film "Antwone Fisher," too. "Blink and you'll miss me," she said.
Chapman is releasing 5,000 copies of "Real" on her own Lightworld Records label. She also runs Lightworld Enterprises, an executive search firm specializing in diversity.
Chapman has a master's of business administration from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Chicago. She previously worked in management for AT&T and Ameritech.
"I was making all the money in the world," she said. "But I wasn't feeling personally fulfilled. . . . I was called to sing."
She said she felt a "nudging" to focus on Christian music.
Chapman isn't afraid to sing about "deep issues Christians often neglect to discuss in public," Lott said. By way of an example, he pointed to "It Ain't Too Heavy," a standout track with an Erykah Badu-like vibe and lyrics dealing with abortion, alcohol and drugs.
The entire album addresses "very real situations," mainly from personal experience, Chapman said.
"I've made some mistakes. . . . I'm putting my life out there. Hopefully, it's going to minister to people. I know there are men and women who are hurting and feeling unforgiven because of things they've done.
"If they ask God for forgiveness, they can be forgiven."
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-4562

© 2004 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.
- The Plain Dealer

"Kelly Chapman is Real"

By Heidi L. Blount
Heidi is a Minister, Freelance Writer and Poet

She is a gifted singer as well as a talented actress. She is the President of a successful recruiting firm and booking agency. She is an active member of New Song Church in Cleveland where she leads worship. As if all of that were not enough, she is the proud mother of one daughter, Natalie.

Kelly’s debut CD entitled “Real” was released on May 3, 2004. The concert was held at the Ohio Theater in Playhouse Square. However, calling the release a “concert” does not do it justice. Those of us who were blessed to be in the audience were part of a true worship experience. The evening opened with two extraordinarily gifted praise dancers from Cleveland School of the Arts, Bryan and Ryan. These twin brothers took praise dancing to a whole new level as they brought Kelly’s music to life with a mix of songs compiled from the CD.

When Kelly came to the stage she was greeted by an audience filled with family, friends and a host of well-wishers who were excited to witness the momentous occasion. After all it’s not just anyone who can release their first CD with a concert at the Ohio Theater. Then again, Kelly Chapman is not just anyone. She is an accomplished singer who has traveled internationally, singing with a number of artists, including Charles Woolfork, Tony Terry and the late Robert Palmer, just to name a few.

The original songs on Kelly’s CD give listeners a glimpse into the life of a woman who has been through more than her fair share of drama. But it has not made her bitter or jaded, as it would do for some. On the contrary, Kelly “Shouts to the Lord” as she gives God all the glory, all the praise and all the honor for what He has done in her life. Listening to the lyrics of the songs that Kelly primarily wrote herself, you know that she is just keeping it real. When she performs on stage, she talks to her audience and shares openly and honestly from the experiences of her past. It is her desire that someone might be led to Christ when they hear what He has done in her life. She brings a message of hope and the assurance of forgiveness for people everywhere.

When asked, Kelly refers to the CD as Contemporary Christian. Yet, there is seemingly something for everyone. There are praise and worship songs such as “Shout to the Lord” and “Let Your Anointing Fill This Place.” “Get Into the Flow” will appeal to jazz enthusiasts. “In Your Presence” has a more traditional gospel feel while “Shake the devil Off” gets listeners on their feet. Listening to the CD, it is easy to tell it was truly a labor of love. It was also a family affair; Kelly’s sister, Tracy Nicole, as well as her daughter Natalie also appear on the CD.

Kelly also recently appeared at Rainbow Family Bookstore where she sang a few songs from the CD and just shared from her heart. Kelly opened the floor to questions from the audience and it was easy to see that people felt a real connection to her. Afterwards, people lined up to buy multiple copies of the CD for themselves, family and friends. Those who had seen Kelly at the Ohio Theater and had already purchased the CD came back to buy more. Once you put the CD in, it has an almost magical way of replaying itself over and over again. It’s just that good.

For more information on Kelly Chapman,
contact Montrie Rucker Adams, 440-684-9920, or visit her Web site,


"Kelly Chapman Releases CD to Packed House"

May 13, 2004

Debra A. Johns Contributing Writer

Kelly Chapman, contemporary Christian artist, released her debut CD entitled Real to hundreds of fans, friends and supporters Monday May 3, at the regal Ohio Theater, Playhouse Square Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Kelly admitted that she had to overcome fear to produce, write and sing on her CD.

Kelly was bold and confident as she entered the stage with “Shout to the Lord.” Brian and Ryan Peoples, students from the Cleveland School of the Arts, preceded her dancing to a sample of all the songs on Real.

Hundreds stood for prayer and filled the stage during altar call. People were crying throughout the entire performance, especially when she bared her soul to the song “Heal Me” and “It Ain’t Too Heavy.” Supported by her pastor, Randy S. Young from New Song Church, Kelly ministered to the hurting, wounded and weary by exposing her past sins and sharing God’s love, grace and mercy. “I just stood in awe of God. I knew that He had a call on my life, but to see the manifestation just blew my mind,” said Kelly after her performance to 800 people in a theater that seats 1000.

There were many facets to the evening including dancers from the Cleveland School of the Arts, and a powerful performance by Ken LeeGrand, saxophone player from Horns ‘n Things. Most notably, the performance ended with a family-styled finale. Kelly, her daughter Natalie, and South African vocalist Keo Moagi brought the crowd to their feet with the internationally flavored song “Just One Candle.”

Following the performance, the lobby was filled with newly converted and old fans scrambling to buy a CD and receive an autographed poster.

Danita Harris, news anchor for WEWS Newschannel 5 was the emcee for the evening. She closed the night in prayer and boldly proclaimed to Kelly that she would touch millions of lives around the world

- Call and Post Newspaper


Kelly's debut album "Real", released May 3, 2004, has eight original songs from the 12-track CD.
Original songs include:

Get Into the Flow
Shout to the Lord
Let Your Anointing Fill This Place
Shake the Devil Off
Heal Me
It Ain't Too Heavy
We're Giving Our Lives to You First
He is the Way

All sound clips from the CD can be heard on the Web site:


Feeling a bit camera shy


Her voice is anointed. Many have described its beauty as the sound quality of a “bell.” Each performance has been called “amazing,” “healing,” “awesome,” and “blessed.” She is transparent in every song, pouring her heart and soul into each one, bringing a fresh, new voice to the growing popularity of Contemporary Christian Music.

Kelly Chapman is a multi-talented, singer/songwriter lending her vocal talents to live background vocals for Grammy award-nominated gospel artist Yolanda Adams and rhythm and blues vocalist Tony Terry. She has toured with Charles Woolfork and Covenant and performed with the legendary Norman Connors and the late jazz great Grover Washington Jr. Her stage performances include the role of singer “Sister Sally” in James Baldwin’s play The Amen Corner; “Leslie” in the soon to be released film Through Jessie’s Window and an extra The Antwone Fisher Story, directed by Denzel Washington.

Internationally, Kelly performed in Argentina and Brazil. She was twice a guest artist on the Italian television show “Ci Vediamo Su Rai Uno” hosted by Paolo Limiti in Milan, Italy. She has also performed as a guest Jazz/Gospel vocalist with Pianist Doctor Gabs and the late Robert Palmer in Brussels, Belgium and with Rhoda Scott in Lausanne, Switzerland.

A native of Cleveland, OH, Kelly participated in theater and dance at Shaker Heights High School. At age 16, she was a member of the pop band Synergy and a local gospel group founded by Tony-Nominated Broadway artist Michael McElroy.

Kelly’s star quality glistened while performing in country clubs and banquet halls from Cleveland to Chicago with the band Nightbridge. She’s opened for Pieces of a Dream with the Dave Thomas Quartet and BET’s Celebration of Gospel 2004 pre-show. She also performed with Michael Stanley and Bobby Womack at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremonies.

"Real," Kelly’s debut CD, is mostly self-written, and true to its title. “Shake the devil Off” is a personal testimony about relationships gone wrong and finding true love with Jesus. With its upbeat, techno rhythm, the song invokes and inspires casting away life’s negatives and moving toward its positives. “Get Into the Flow” complements Kelly’s jazz influence. It’s full of quiet energy and filled with soulful depth. “Let Your Anointing Fill this Place” is the ultimate in praise and worship as a plea to the Lord to pour out His grace and mercy and fill the souls of His people with His presence. “We're Giving Our Lives to You First” is the ultimate wedding song and destined to be played at many ceremonies. And “Just One Candle” sung with daughter Natalie, has anthem-like quality and will fulfill the prophecy of Mark 16:15 to, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

Kelly is a member of New Song Church where Randy S. Young is the pastor. She enjoys singing at various youth programs, church conferences and ministry events. She is a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices, sharing the Good News of Christ across the country.

Citing Oleta Adams, Regina Belle, Angela Bofill, Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans as her lyrical inspirations, Kelly is walking in God’s word with her unique vocal style and spirit. "Real" released May 3, 2004.