Lee Alumnus Nathan Chapman Stands Out In The Country Music Business

Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - by Beth Harbin, Lee University
Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift. Click to enlarge.
Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift. Click to enlarge.

Lee University alumnus and music producer Nathan Chapman and country music's Taylor Swift won "Album of the Year" at the 2009 Country Music Awards for Ms. Swift's album Fearless.

Mr. Chapman said, "I felt pretty good. It was nice to get an award like that. The music business is so hard and so tricky...this level of success would blow anyone away."
He is nominated as co-producer with Taylor Swift for Record of the Year and Album of the Year in the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.

His work with Taylor Swift began in 2006 when he met Liz Rose, who co-wrote seven of the 11 songs on Swift’s debut album. Through Ms. Rose, he met Ms. Swift, who asked her record label if Mr. Chapman could produce the album because she liked the work they did together.

Because his parents were Christian singers, Mr. Chapman was no stranger to the music industry, and his producing credits go back to 2004. Though Mr. Chapman had never made an album before, for Ms. Swift, working with him on her debut album was the only option.

She told CMT in 2006, "...I got to record with a bunch of really awesome producers in Nashville, but none of them sounded the way it did with Nathan...the right chemistry hit."
In the end, Mr. Chapman produced all but one of the songs, including Ms. Swift's hit singles "Tim McGraw," "Teardrops on My Guitar," and "Our Song," which was a No. 1 single.

Mr. Chapman graduated from Lee in 2001 with a degree in English. He also met his wife Stephanie, a songwriter and country music artist, in France while on his cross-cultural trip. He feels that the common thread between his degree and current career is that both are involved in the creative arts. Although he wanted to be an English professor when he came to Lee, he still finds his degree useful. "I definitely use some of the things I learned as an English major in song writing," he said.

Along with the recent win at the Country Music Awards, Ms. Swift's album Fearless won Album of the Year from this year's Academy of Country Music Awards. Mr. Chapman was ranked number 5 on the 2008 Billboard Country Producers year end chart and number 6 on the 2008 Billboard Hot 100 Producers year end chart.

Since 2004, Mr. Chapman produced several other projects including Stephanie Chapman, Point of Grace, Anna Nalick, The Invite, Jesse Lee, written for Martina McBride, produced a single for Sara Evans, produced a single for the new country group The Band Perry, a single for Jewel and much more.

Along with producing and writing songs, Mr. Chapman has written and published a devotional, With God on the Hiking Trail, though for now he will be sticking with the music business. For him, a life without music is not an option. "Music has been such an important part of my life that I couldn't get away from it," he says.

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