With songs that shaped an entire genre of music, Steve Curtis Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christian music history with a stunning 48 No. 1 radio singles, five GRAMMY® awards, an American Music Award, nearly eleven million album sales, 58 GMA Dove Awards and ten RIAA-certified platinum and gold albums. He has been on “Good Morning America,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” CNN, MSNBC, “60 Minutes,” E! Entertainment,” “The Today Show,” Fox & Friends,” “CBS This Morning,” “The Tonight Show,” Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze,” as well as appearing in the pages of People, Billboard, Parents Magazine and more. He’s the undisputed gold standard for CCM artists and beloved by fans around the world.
But Chapman isn’t saddled by the weight of his successes. When asked to summarize his celebrated 30+ year career, he’s quick to get to the heart of the matter.
“The more things change the more they stay the same,” he says. “It’s cliché because it’s true. Who I am as an artist is, at the core, who I was on the very first record I made 32 years ago. I wanted to do for others what music had done for me. I wanted to move people, inspire them, show up in their daily lives. Ride with them in the car. Sit with them at work. Say you’re not alone and encourage them in their faith journey. To say God is with you and for you. That’s always what I’ve wanted to communicate.”
It’s a testament to his stellar career and unmatched achievements that the music from the beginning is still the music of today, a long-blazed path of songs about life and faith and everything that happens in between. If his songs sound like a familiar comfort, it’s because of Chapman’s natural ability to welcome people in, tell them a good story and offer hope for the journey.
When he was still a toddler, Chapman’s family opened a music store in their hometown of Paducah, KY. It was this early exposure to a love for music that shaped his future as a songwriter. His father was a bluegrass guitar player and songwriter and would teach guitar lessons at the music store. Chapman developed his own musical instincts, learning to play the instruments at the store and spending time listening to artists like Glenn Campbell and Dallas Holm.
“Glenn Campbell was a huge influence on my life, especially as a young boy,” Chapman shares. “He gave me an appreciation for great song crafting. His songs moved me and took me places, made me feel things. I had the opportunity to sing at a tribute for Glenn after he died. I wrote a song called “When You Sang” and performed it at the tribute. In the song I said, blue was bluer / sad was sadder / little things seemed to matter more / I could say my whole world was changed / when you sang.”
In addition to his musical success, Chapman has released a memoir, Between Heaven & The Real World: My Story, sharing intimate details of his personal journey, his family life and stories behind his most beloved songs. He also, along with his wife Mary Beth, founded Show Hope in 2003, a nonprofit organization helping to make a difference for the millions of orphans around the world, and is the host for “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit,” held at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Presented by Show Hope and the K-LOVE radio network, portions of “Sam’s Place” air on K-LOVE radio each month, reaching 18 million listeners in 47 states.
While it would be easy to rest on his mountain of success and accolades, Chapman’s career hasn’t slowed down. He’s releasing a bluegrass album this year and continues to tour the country.
“I’ve been doing this solo tour, going back to the start, standing on the stage with just a guitar. I’m telling the story and inviting people in. I love that I still get to do this, playing these songs for people. If there’s anything that I hope for myself as an artist, it’s the real pure joy of making music. Standing in front of an audience, whether it’s 500 people or 15,000 people. I get to share my life and my story with people, and they share theirs with me. What a gift. What a blessing.”