Steven Curtis Chapman was on the phone with great news: He had just become a grandpa again, and he couldn’t wait to see the new arrival.
One problem: “I’m on a tour bus in Kentucky,” Chapman said, and the new grandchild and mother were in a hospital in Nashville, Tenn.
The distance caused Chapman to reflect again on the difficulties of a career in music. “This is definitely one of those times when it’s hard,” he said. “The reality, though, is that I do get to be home for big chunks of time. Most guys who punch a clock everyday don’t have that.”
After a quick trip home, Chapman will be on the road again, including a concert May 8 at Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester. The concert is part of The Table Tour, which is intended to raise awareness about Feed the Children’s campaign to ease childhood hunger.
For Chapman, “table” has a double meaning.
“For me, the place where I first made music was around our kitchen table,” he said. Now, on the Table Tour, he’ll be sharing the stage, and table, with Brandon Heath, Ellie Holcomb and Love & the Outcome, swapping stories and songs.
“It’s kind of neat,” Chapman said. “You look at each other; you’re interacting. That’s what music is intended to be. When I go to shows, I love to hear the stories behind the songs. Anybody who has been at my shows knows I love to do more than just sing the songs for people.”
Chapman, 52, has been writing songs since he was 15 years old. A friend introduced him to songwriting, which up until then Chapman thought was something reserved for adults, like his father. “I said, ‘We can write songs, too — kids?” he recalled.
Once he got started, there was no stopping Chapman, who has won five Grammy Awards and, at last count, 58 Dove Awards. Obviously, he long ago perfected the art of writing songs.
“It always comes back to a melody and lyrics that connect with people,” Chapman said. “Those are the songs that have impact and last.”
But there are times, he admitted, that the demands of his profession get in the way of enjoying both his family and the music. “To be honest,” Chapman said, “there are times I have to make myself say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got the best job in the world.'”