"I think we need to take the spiritual experience beyond the walls of church," says Gary Chapman thoughtfully. "That's what I've been trying to do with the majority of my professional life: take
my faith to the world through television and through music."
His story began in the tiny town of DeLeon, Texas,
where he grew up as the son of a preacher.
In high school, he performed in a school-sanctioned
rock band. Indirectly following in his minister-father's footsteps, he
attended church-oriented college after high school, where he performed.
Gary also felt the call to spread the Gospel. "I thought I would be
a preacher, and I went to Bible school for a year and a half. I jokingly
say God called me out of Bible school, but I really think he did." Gary
Chapman soon found that his true calling was ministering to people
through song. Later he moved to Nashville, where he joined the respected
gospel group, The Rambos, and began writing songs.
The first performer to record a Gary Chapman
song was contemporary Christian singer,
Grant, who recorded
"Father's Eyes" in 1979. It became a No. 1 song for her, and
introduced Chapman and Grant, who married in 1982 and had three children
Gary Chapman grew as a musician, producer and songwriter. His
song, "Finally," was a No. 1 country hit for
Sheppard in 1982. Other Chapman songs have been recorded by
performers who include Amy
Rogers, Steve Wariner, Barbara
Mandrell, Kathy Troccoli, and Russ Taff.
Once he began making his own records, the accolades began pouring in.
Over the years he has earned three Grammy nominations and six Dove
awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA), including Male
Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, and he's
scored multiple number one hits including "Sweet Glow of
Mercy" and "One of Two."
He co-produced the 1994 Dove award-winning album, "Songs
From The Loft," featuring artists such as
Grant, Michael W. Smith,
Susan Ashton and Ashley Cleveland. It was recorded in the
barn/recording studio he and Grant built on their farm near Nashville.
As a performer, Chapman released several albums, including
"Sincerely Yours," "Happenin'," and on RCA, "Everyday
Man." His 1994 Reunion Records album, "The
Light Inside," resulted in a Grammy nomination for Best
Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and a Dove nomination for Male
Vocalist of the Year.
Light Inside" became one of 1994's top contemporary Christian
albums and served up hits such as "Treasure," "Sweet
Jesus" and the No. 1 song, "Sweet Glow of Mercy." His
1996 album, "Shelter,"
delivered the No. 1 hit, "One of Two," and received a 1997
Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.
In April, 1996, Gary Chapman was honored as Male Vocalist
of the Year by the GMA. In the same year, he earned Dove awards for Inspirational
Recorded Song of the Year ("Man After Your Own Heart") and
Special Event Album of the Year ("My
Utmost For His Highest").
Chapman's wit and humor led to co-hosting duties at 1995's Dove
In late 1995 Chapman hosted two televised specials for TNN based on
the concerts: "Sam's Place" and "A Sam's Place
Christmas." In 1996, after an eight-episode, on-camera tryout, he
was named new host of "Prime Time Country."
His easy, witty style has made him a popular host and emcee. He
is now heard on more than 200 radio stations with the weekly syndicated
Christian music countdown, "CCM Countdown with Gary Chapman,"
and serves as host of TNN's daily variety show, "Prime Time Country
with Gary Chapman."
Yet, with all his varied duties, Gary Chapman
admits his first love is still making music. "Singing is a total
escape for me," he says. "I love losing myself in a song.
There is a place you can go when you really lean into a song
you're completely alone and yet you're not."