Kelly Chapman
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Kelly Chapman


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"On 'Great Is Your Grace,' Kelly Chapman sings God's praises and reaches out to a wider audience"

A few weeks ago, Kelly Chapman unexpectedly was asked to sing during a women's business conference in Naples, Fla.

She belted out "The Lord's Prayer" during the event's banquet. Afterwards, she not only received a standing ovation, but she was summoned to the table of a radio-industry executive.

"Baby, when are you going to give me your CD so I can put you on all my stations?" the executive said.

"My knees were buckling," Chapman recalls, laughing.

"Who knew? This was a business conference. We'll see what happens next."

She'll celebrate the arrival of her second album of Christian music, "Great Is Your Grace," with a performance Monday, Aug. 10, at Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, part of Cleveland's Pickwick & Frolic complex.

Chapman will release the CD on her own Lightworld Records label.

When she isn't praising God in song, this multitasking go-getter from Cleveland Heights serves as director of diversity recruiting for Microsoft. She also runs Kelly Chapman Ministries and the Whole Singles Network, a networking group for single professionals.

Her debut album, "Real," came out in 2004.

"I loved my first CD, but I really, really, really enjoy this one," Chapman says. She declined to give her age.

"When I listen to the new songs, there are times when I'm literally weeping because I'm just in awe of what God has done," she says.

On the new disc, her soul-stirring voice soars across multiple styles of music, with her faith as the common thread running from one song to the next. The title track has an uplifting refrain and pop appeal to spare. "Excuse Me While I Get My Praise On" is a funky, horn-embellished romp. And "Celebrate Jesus" bounces along on a world-beat groove.

Chapman's main collaborators on "Great Is Your Grace" were her younger sister, singer-actress Tracy Nicole Chapman Nolan (who has appeared on Broadway in "The Lion King" and "The Who's Tommy," among other productions), and Tracy's husband, horn player Kevin Nolan. The album was recorded in spurts at the couple's home studio in Los Angeles, starting in December and wrapping up this month.

The disc also features accompaniment from impressively pedigreed musicians, including Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat and guitarist Jen Leigh, who previously played with Michael Jackson and George Clinton.

"For the first CD, the idea was just to go into a studio and see what happened," Chapman says. "It was about putting my life on wax. I knew nothing about production.

"On this one, I'm talking more about the economic situation and people who are going through personal tragedies, and I'm encouraging people to get to know God.

"Without taking anything away from the first album, this one is on a totally different level. The production makes a big difference. When you listen to it, you're hearing real drums and other real instruments, things I didn't know anything about a few years ago."

Between musical pursuits, Chapman co-wrote (with Kenya Banks) an autobiographical self-help book, also titled "Real." It was published last year.

"I feel like I'm supposed to be honest and transparent," Chapman says.

"I guess you would call it a calling. I poured my heart out on the first CD and in the book. Now I'm doing it again on the new CD.

"It has different themes, but it's an outpouring of what's in my heart."

Chapman sang with the local wedding band Nightbridge in the 1990s. 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 rocker Robert Palmer.

"Heal Me," a tune off Chapman's first disc, was featured in commercials for BET's telethon for Hurricane Katrina victims.

She'll donate a portion of the proceeds from online downloads of "Excuse Me While I Get My Praise On" from her latest album to the New Orleans Mission's ongoing recovery efforts.

Chapman's favorite new song is "Taste and See," a gentle ballad inspired by Psalm 34: 8.

"In a very subtle way, it's encouraging people to embrace their faith," she says. "It's a song that I feel can reach beyond the church and actually get played on a pop radio station."

For Chapman, it's not about preaching to the choir. She wants her music to connect with a wide audience.

"A lot of the work I've been doing related to music has been outside of the four walls of the church," she says.

"The fact that I'm going to have my release party at Pickwick and Frolic is another indication of where I feel God is calling me, from a music and ministry standpoint.

"I've traveled all over the world, and there are lots of different flavors in my music. Still, I think the music is uniquely me, and I believe many of these songs would fit on a regular radio station.

"It's all part of God's plan for my life." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer reviewed by John Soeder pop music critic


Great is Your Grace- available now in Itunes!! released 2009
Real- available now on itunes released 2004

Radio Play-"Excuse Me While I Get My Praise On" and "Taste and See" rotation. Cleveland: TC Congress Radio 1000 & Jammin for Jesus Radio, Jae the Gospelkidd WHKW 1220 (Salem); Austin: KAZI 88.7; Atlanta: Sean Garvey 1260 WTJH; ChrisCross, Spiritco1, Christian Originals Radio, Kingdom Airwaves & Bigloo Internet Radio



“It was on a business flight from Cleveland to Chicago” says Kelly Chapman when asked about the moment she realized she was a songwriter. “I was at a point in my life where I needed to express myself creatively, express my thanks to God. I needed to find my voice and maybe being 30,000 feet closer to heaven helped because the lyrics started flowing and haven’t stopped since.” Find her voice she did! With the upcoming release of her sophomore CD “Great is Your Grace,” this multi-talented singer/songwriter/actress/ speaker and author has been using her voice to reach out to the world. Whether speaking to woman about empowerment through Christ or ministering through music, there is no doubt that Kelly Chapman’s voice is anointed!

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio into a musical family, it was no surprise that Kelly would become a performer. “We always had music playing in the house, whether it was my mother listening to Amy Grant, my father playing the piano, my sister singing show tunes or my brother producing hip hop, there was always music!” The Chapman family attended church on Sunday mornings, which would set the foundation for Kelly’s spiritual journey. “I actually didn’t truly understand what being saved meant for quite sometime. I understood salvation, but it was many years later when I understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ.” Kelly wanted to help others discover their own relationship with God and on that flight to Chicago, “Real” was born.

Kelly’s first CD“Real” was released to a packed house at the Ohio Theater Playhouse Square in Cleveland. The impressive debut featured the poignant single “Heal Me” which BET selected as the theme song for their Hurricane Katrina relief telethon. The corresponding video has been in regular rotation on Gospel Music Television as well as BET Video Gospel. It was also a finalist in the 2004 Gospel Music Associations Songwriting Competition as well as the International Songwriting Competition. But the creative flow didn’t end there, Chapman co-authored (with Kenya Banks) a companion book to the CD titled “Real: The Truth about Being Single” “I feel like I’m supposed to be honest and transparent in ministry, and the book allowed me to discuss some difficult subjects that many woman face while offering bible-based truths to help them overcome.”

Which brings us to the anticipated release of “Great is Your Grace”slated for November 3rd. 2009 on Lightworld Records. “Grace” is a Word-laced CD in which Kelly Chapman’s soaring voice deftly takes the listener through various styles of music from Jazz to Rock to Gospel. Featuring an impressive list of musicians including Everette Harp, pianist Herman Jackson (Stevie Wonder), guitarist Jen Leigh (Michael Jackson), Grammy winning violinist Charlie Bisharat and in high demand bassist Larry Kimpel. Kelly takes you on a journey. “My faith journey is definitely relatable, but not typical and I think that the diversity in my music is a direct reflection of that journey.” Kelly enlisted the family production team of Kenai Sound Productions to help her create break out songs such as the rock tinged “Taste and See,” the rousing New Orleans flavored “Excuse Me While I Get My Praise On,” and the infectious world beat of “Celebrate Jesus.” Chapman recently energized and touched listeners with a variety of television appearances including Harvest Show (LeSea Broadcasting), Celebration of Praise with Ron Rosson and friends (Christian Television Network) and Focus Four (Cornerstone Television Network.)

An Avid philanthropist, Kelly created the Wilma A. Chapman Scholarship Fund at the Cleveland Foundation in honor of her mother. With the launch of "Great is Your Grace", Kelly will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of “Excuse Me While I get My Praise On,” to the New Orleans Mission indefinitely. As a member of New Song Church where Ron Bradley is the pastor, Kelly enjoys singing, speaking at various youth programs, church conferences, business conferences and concerts. “Gods grace, mercy and faithfulness are key messages that I want to share to draw others to Christ.” Kelly is walking in God’s word with her unique vocal style and spirit. A gift from God who is ready for the masses!