By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
Drew Chapman’s set his sights on Nashville, and he won’t let his gaze stray.
The singer-songwriter has been working in the Music City on his first EP, traveling back and forth for a while now, and he hopes this won’t be his last experience there.
“If it works out, it works out,” he said. “If it doesn’t, it’ll still be an experience, and it’s been a whole lot of fun.”
In the studio
Pontotoc native Chapman, 27, has been playing music since he was 14, but has taken it more seriously in the past few years.
Luck has been on his side. His wife, Jade, and her family know a few industry insiders in Nashville, which helped Chapman get his foot in the door, but his songwriting skills are what got him into a recording studio.
Chapman’s been working with producer Eddie Gore at Insomnia Studios, and Gore was convinced of Chapman’s potential after hearing him record with his band.
“He’s amazing. The people he knows, the connections are so good. I think we can do something,” Chapman said.
Recording his EP has taken place in two sessions.
“The first time, (my band and I) went up there and recorded all day – three songs in a day, and that’s a lot of work,” Chapman said. “We worked really, really hard.”
The second session was recorded with Chapman and studio musicians who had worked with the likes of Brad Paisley and James Otto.
The musicians in Chapman’s band – Cole Russell, Jonathan Simmons, Riggin Bullard, Amanda Baggett and his brother, Will Chapman – are folks he’s grown up with, so they all knew his sound well. The studio musicians added a new dimension to his music, he said.
“They put their own feel to it, and I was digging it,” he said.
Chapman’s music is country, but there are elements of rock in there, too.
“I’m still trying to find that exact genre. There are so many different feels to it,” he said.
Many Nashville folks try to classify an artist as “so-and-so meets so-and-so,” Chapman said, and Gore described Chapman’s music as “Garth Brooks meets John Mellencamp.”
Chapman said he hopes he’s as lyrical as Mellencamp and as passionate as Brooks.
“I thought that was pretty great to be classified as,” he said.
Taste of country
The self-titled EP will be released this Friday at Rick’s Cafe in Starkville. The EP will contain four to six songs. In about a month or so, the EP will be available through iTunes and CDBaby.com.
His show will be a mix of his original songs and a few covers.
He’ll perform two sets: one with Baggett that will be intimate and stripped-down, and another with the full band.
Later this spring, Chapman will perform at the Link Centre’s Monthly Music Mix with other songwriters, including Terry “Harmonica” Bean.
If all goes well with the EP, Chapman hopes to record a full-length album.
“I hope it all works out for the best. I’m staying positive,” he said. “I’m very excited, and I’m very blessed. There are thousands and thousands of musicians in Nashville, but I happened to know somebody, and he liked what we saw, and here we are.”
EP RELEASE PARTY
– Who: Drew Chapman
– When: 10 p.m. Friday
– Where: Rick’s Cafe, Starkville
– Cost: $7
■ Info: rickscafe.net