In a career that spans five decades, 23 albums and three GRAMMY awards, multi-talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground. In addition to his work as a recording artist and concert performer, Chapin has acted on Broadway, as well as working extensively in films, television and radio.
As a music-maker, Chapin has maintained two long and productive parallel careers, both as a highly respected contemporary folk artist and as a pioneer in the field of children’s music. In the former role, Chapin has established a reputation for insightful, heartfelt songcraft and effortlessly charismatic live performances. In the latter, he continues to engage the hearts, minds andimaginations of young listeners with witty, life-affirming original songs delivered in a sophisticated array of musical styles. In either format, Chapin’s infectious songs, sterling musicianship andpersonal warmth consistently shine through, whether he’s performing on record or in a concert hall, an outdoor festival, a school, in front of a symphony orchestra or in an intimate coffeehouse.
The New York Times called Chapin “one of the great personalities in contemporary folk music,” while Billboard called him “the best family artist around” and described him as “totally captivating.” Parents magazine stated, “Nobody today is writing and performing better kids’ songs than Tom Chapin.”
The son of noted jazz drummer and teacher Jim Chapin and the grandson of author/critic Kenneth Burke and portrait painter James Chapin, Tom grew up in a family that encouraged artistic pursuits. He began performing professionally as a teenager in the early 1960s, playing in Greenwich Village folk clubs alongside his siblings Harry and Steve as The Chapin Brothers.
In 1971, he began a five-year run as the host of the Emmy- and Peabody award-winning ABC-TV children’s series Make A Wish. Chapin and his songs were also featured in the seminal 1970 documentary film Blue Water,White Death, for which he spent six months sailing the Indian Ocean searching for great white sharks.
Chapin launched his solo recording career with 1976’s Life Is Like That. It was the first of a string of albums that further established his reputation as both a gifted storyteller and a natural entertainer, winning him an uncommonly loyal fan base in the process. He also continued to venture into other creative areas, playing the lead role in the hit Broadway musical Pump Boys and Dinettes,working off-Broadway as musical director of both Cotton Patch Gospel and Harry Chapin: Lies and Legends, and serving as host of TV’s National Geographic Explorer. He’s also written and performed satirical topical songs for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and had a cameo role as the Vice Presidential candidate in Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.Chapin was already firmly established as a performer and recording artist when he first branched out into family music with his 1988 album Family Tree. He’s since released twelve more family CDs aimed at post-toddler, pre-teen listeners and their parents, comprised of original songs