I am blessed to live a life where music, family, friends and fun naturally intertwine. My husband and bassist Stephan Crump (pictured here with our son Maceo Duva Crump, born September 2005) is my most important musical partner and my most vital supporter. We have been performing together since 1996, taken a break to focus on getting married in 1999, and have been producing records together since 2002 (often along with our brave third wheel “Uncle Rodney” Sherwood). These days, we truly enjoy touring together (mostly thanks to the kindness of all of you), where we have been joined on the road by Maceo and now with his little brother Van, born September 2009.
My uncle Tom Chapin, writer and performer of music for kids and grown-ups, explained it this way: growing up, he and his brothers didn’t get to see a whole lot of their musician dad, but when they did see him, he was always having more fun than anyone else in the room. And he continued to do so, until passing away in 2009 just before turning 90. My grandfather, jazz drummer and drum educator Jim Chapin, was until then joyfully touring the world, spreading the gospel of good technique to drummers of all ages, styles and abilities. For his part, Tom is also touring a lot, making records, winning Grammies and getting better and better at what he does. My uncle Steve Chapin also has had a rich and varied music career as a composer-producer-arranger-multi-instrumentalist, ever since he, Tom, and my dad Harry started writing and playing as “The Chapin Brothers” in the early 60s. They were one of the first bands to go electric at “The Bitter End” in Greenwich Village, where I did my first NYC shows 30 years later. Tom and Steve have always nurtured my singing and have given me some of my most important early opportunities to perform, most notably in my recording debut on the gold record “Cabbage Patch Dreams,” which they produced. (Yes, I was 13, and I was a Cabbage Patch Kid.) The sibling tradition continues with my cousins, Tom’s daughters Abigail Chapin and Lily Chapin, who together sing sweet harmonies over partly-twisted lyrics as the The Chapin Sisters. You can hear Steve sing and play almost every summer night at The Ovens Natural Park, the campground he runs with his family in Nova Scotia.
My mother Sandy would never call herself a musician, but she is a poet who wrote the words to Harry’s most powerful song “Cat’s in the Cradle.” She remains an artistic and moral touchstone for me. And my dad’s presence, now 25 years after he left us, is still so strong in this world. Though his songs have certainly been an inspiration to me, there is no doubt that his legacy of activism has made the greatest impact. In 2000, I succeeded my late uncle, political commentator James Chapin, as Chair of the Board of WhyHunger (formerly World Hunger Year), which my dad founded in 1975, and after finishing two terms as Chair and two as Secretary, my work as a Board member and advocate continues to energize me.