Born Gary Winther Chapman on August 19, 1957, in Waurika, OK; married singer Amy Grant, 1982; divorced, 1999; married Jennifer Pittman, 2000; children: (with Grant) Matthew Garrison, Gloria Mills, Sarah Cannon. Addresses: Record company--Reunion Records, 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067. Booking--Richard De La Font Agency, 4845 South Sheridan Road, Suite 505, Tulsa, OK 74145-5719. Website--Gary Chapman Official Website: http://www.garychapman.net.

One of Nashville's most successful songwriters for more than two decades, Gary Chapman has also made a name for himself as a performer and radio/television personality. But for Chapman, 1999 brought major losses: the end of his 17-year marriage to singer Amy Grant and the loss of his high-profile job as host of cable channel The Nashville Network's (TNN) Prime Time Country. However, the new millennium brought Chapman a new marriage and the promise of new career opportunities.

During the last days of the twentieth century, Chapman told the Tennessean(Nashville) that despite the personal and professional difficulties of 1999, "I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life." Pausing to reflect for just a moment, he corrected himself: "Happy's not correct. I'm more joyful. There's a profound difference between happiness and joy. Happiness for me is based on things going the way I think they should. Joy is found in realizing the profound beauty of the mundane. I'm more joyful than I've ever been in my life."

Born on August 19, 1957, in Waurika, Oklahoma, Chapman is the son of a Protestant minister and a homemaker. Shortly after he was born, the family moved to DeLeon, Texas, where he was raised. Even though he was encouraged by family to follow in his father's footsteps, he secretly dreamed of becoming an entertainer throughout most of his childhood. In high school, he joined a school-sanctioned rock band. Bowing to family pressures, he headed off to Bible college after finishing high school, but his heart was not in it, and he dropped out. Even at college, he sought out every possible opportunity to perform. Of his brief stay at college, Chapman said in comments at the Richard De La Font Agency website: "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." Chapman found that he could spread the message of Christianity through song far more effectively than through the spoken word.

After leaving college, Chapman moved to Nashville and joined the Rambos, a well-established gospel singing group. He also began writing songs and peddling them to other performers around Nashville. In 1979, Contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant recorded Chapman's "My Father's Eyes." The song eventually went to number one, and even more importantly, brought the singer and songwriter together. The couple married in 1982. In 1981, singer T.G. Sheppard had a hit with Chapman's "Finally," which also went to number one on the country charts. Other performers who have recorded Chapman's songs include Alabama, Kenny Rogers, Barbara Mandrell, Steve Wariner, Kathy Troccoli, Vanessa Williams, Lee Greenwood, and Russ Taff. In 1982, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) presented Chapman with a Dove Award for Songwriter of the Year.

Chapman released his first album as a performer in 1981. Entitled Sincerely Yours, the album was released on the Lion & Lamb recording label and fell into the genre of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), which musically sounds very much like pop music but has lyrics of a religious or inspirational nature. Two years later, a second Chapman album--Happenin'...Live--was released on the Lion & Lamb label. In 1987, Chapman hit the road as the opening act for a concert tour with Bruce Hornsby and the Range.

In the early 1990s, Chapman switched recording labels, signing with Reunion Records, based in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. His 1994 album for Reunion, The Light Inside,won a Grammy nomination as Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and a Dove Award nomination for Chapman as Male Vocalist of the Year. The album featured the hit singles "Treasure," "Sweet Jesus," and "Sweet Glow of Mercy," the last of which hit number one on the gospel music charts. Chapman also won honors in 1994 for his work as co-producer of Songs from the Loft, a Dove Award-winning album containing songs by Grant and other Contemporary Christian Music artists including Ashley Cleveland, Susan Ashton, and Michael W. Smith. The album was recorded in the studio Chapman and Grant had had built into a barn on their farm outside Nashville.

Although 1994 had been a particularly productive year for both Chapman and Grant, 1995 brought new opportunities for Chapman. He served as host of the annual Dove Awards ceremony that year and later began hosting a live concert series entitled Sam's Place at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, one of the original homes of the Grand Ole Opry. Later in 1995, Chapman hosted specials based on the Sam's Place theme for the Nashville Network. The following year, in a hint of things to come, Nashville Scene, a local weekly covering the Music City's entertainment scene and lifestyle news, named Chapman Best Future Talk Show Host.

Chapman's next solo album for Reunion, Shelter, released in 1996, produced the number one gospel hit "One of Two" and garnered a Grammy nomination as Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. Chapman also won the Dove Award as Male Vocalist of the Year in 1996 in addition to three other Dove Awards that year--Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year, Special Event Album of the Year, and another for his involvement with the Songs from the Loft project. The Nashville Network, impressed with Chapman's performance on the Sam's Place specials the previous year, decided to give him a tryout as host of its popular Prime Time Country. After an eight-show, on-camera trial run, the network made it official, naming him the show's new host.

Things were going well for Chapman on the home front as well. At home on their sprawling farm in Franklin, Tennessee, not far from Nashville, he and Grant enjoyed the country life with their three children, Matt, Millie, and Sarah. When he could find the spare time, Chapman went flying. He owns a helicopter and has his pilot's license for fixed-wing aircraft.

Late in 1997, Chapman's Christmas album, entitled This Gift, was released on the Reunion label. In 1998, the album won the World of Christian Music's Victory Award as Best Country Album, while its title song received a Victory nomination as Country Song of the Year. On the strength of This Gift, Chapman himself was nominated for a Victory Award as Best Country Artist. The album also received a Grammy nomination as Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album. For his work on the Sam's Place concert series, Nashville Scene readers voted Chapman Best Host of an Event in 1997 and 1998.

Chapman's life changed dramatically in 1999. The year had barely begun when Chapman and Grant announced to the press that they were separating. By mid-year, their divorce was official. Making the breakup even more painful for Chapman was rampant press speculation that Grant had left Chapman for country singer Vince Gill. (Grant and Gill did, in fact, marry in March of 2000). But that was not the end of the bad news for Chapman. In August of 1999, the Nashville Network announced that it was canceling most of its programming in the talk-variety format, including Prime Time Country with Gary Chapman. TNN said the show would cease production in September of 1999.

As 1999 came to a close, Chapman was maintaining a positive attitude, telling USA Today: "I lost my job and my wife, and I'm happy. Go figure. As hokey as this may sound, I honestly feel so completely held in the center of God's huge and tender hand." Professionally, Chapman was keeping busy, releasing his latest album for Reunion in September of 1999. Entitled Outside, the album was "more personal than any I've ever done," Chapman told the Tennessean. Listening to the lyrics of one song, "Learning to Love," it is easy to see how the year's events had influenced his writing: "My heart could not bend/So now it's broken/For so long you told me/You'd never say good-bye."

On a personal level, Chapman had a great deal to be happy about. Earlier in 1999, he had met Jennifer Pittman, an animal trainer at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando where Prime Time Country was broadcasting on location. Before long, the two were dating, and in June of 1999, Pittman moved to Nashville to be closer to Chapman. On July 1, 2000, with Chapman's father officiating, the couple was married. Of his new bride, Chapman told K99FM's CountryNotes newsletter: "She's the kindest person I've ever met. And I am so looking forward to laughing for the rest of my years with her. She is a great, great soul."

Chapman had several projects in the works as of 2001, and he was confident that whatever happened would be for the best. He told the Tennesseanthat he has turned down some offers that would have involved relocating to the West Coast because he is determined to stay close to his children, custody of which he shares with Grant. In a philosophical mood, Chapman told CountryNotes: "All I really want is to be able to look back at the end of life ... and see a body of work that I am proud of."

by Don Amerman

Gary Chapman's Career

Played in rock band during high school; moved to Nashville, TN, joined the Rambos, a gospel group, and began writing songs for other performers; Chapman's "My Father's Eyes," recorded by Amy Grant, went to number one, 1979; has released several albums as a performer including Sincerely Yours, 1981; Happenin'...Live, 1983; Light Inside, 1994; Shelter, 1996; and Outside, 1999.

Gary Chapman's Awards

Multiple Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association (GMA) including Songwriter of the Year, 1982; Male Vocalist of the Year and Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year, 1996; and Country Album of the Year, 1998.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

over 3 years ago

Dear Gary, Oddly enough I just read a book by Amy called Mosaic. I started thinking about you and praying for you and asking God to use you again in Music and television. You have a great gift and God does not recall his gifts. God Bless, Sherry.

almost 4 years ago

HI MR CHAPMAN I KNEW YOUR FATHER WHEN HE HAD A CHURCH IN CORDELL OKLA I REMEMBER YOU HAD A SISTER YOUR MOTHER PLAYED THE PIANO HE TOOK OVER THE CHURCH IN 1960 TO 1964 HE MARRIED ME AND MY WIFE TW CHAPMAN WAS A VERY GOOD PREACHER HOPE YOULL RESPOND TO THIS COMMENT THANKS VERY MUCH GOD BLESS JOE CAIN

over 4 years ago

DEAR MR. CHAPMAN: I FEEL A CONNECTION WITH YOU,ALTHOUGH WE NEVER MET. I WAS FROM DE LEON, WAS WITH THE HOSPITAL THERE. I KNEW YOU PRECIOUS AUNT, I DREW HER LAB, BECAME FRIENDS, TALKED TO HER A LOT, SHE AND FREDDIE KEPT ME POSTED ABOUT YOU. I STILL THINK THEY SHOULD NAME A MAIN STREET IN YOUR HONOR, I ALWAYS KEPT UP WITH YOUR SHOW ON TNN, I WISH YOU TO RETURN AS A HOST SOMEWHERE OR START YOUR OWN. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU. I AM NEARLY 70 NOW HOPE TO SEE YOU PERFORM SOMEWHERE. YOUR FRIEND AND FANS, DON & WANDA (retired in celina,tx)

almost 5 years ago

Hi Mr. Chapman and Family, I wanted to send a comment to let you know I enjoy your music and your commitment to Jesus Christ. My dream is one day I would be able to watch you on a tv program again. I enjoyed watching you hosting years ago. May Jesus Christ richly and abundantly bless you and your family, In His Love and Mine, Ronda

almost 5 years ago

Hi Mr Chapman, My husbands family has told stories reguarding his Dad teaching you some guitar. Thanks Anne

almost 5 years ago

So glad I finally googled you, and to know you are still around. Sure do miss seeing you perform because you were my favorite on TNN. Loved your sense of hu mor and sounds like you've kept that.

almost 5 years ago

I have been wondering about you for so long and finally decided to go on line and there you were!! I am so looking forward to seeing you again performing but if you never do, I will keep loving your works. I have the "This Gift" cd but that is the only one. Love it! God is blessing each and every one of His children and aren't we glad to know that!

about 5 years ago

Big fan of Gary chapman love his music and that voice is amazing! would love to hear more from him. God bless u gary!

over 5 years ago

Gary, I too have experienced divorce - my doing. My exhusband was unfaithful and I chose to live a life apart from the continued distrust. I understand the pain you have endured, but I also can relate to the happiness you feel today with your wife and "expanded" family. Nothing is in vain. God can use any situation to His glory. As God's Word states in Romans, struggling produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope. Gary, may God bless you and your family over and over again!

over 5 years ago

Gary has had his share of troubles and I really feel for him. Perhaps it's the struggles that have inspired such great songs. Gary, God's really used you in my life and despite the struggles I appreciate the honesty and truth in the music. Would love to meet you someday.

over 5 years ago

Gary is lucky in a way. He had Amy as his wife for seventeen years. If I could spend 45 minutes with Amy at McDonald's I would be the happiest man on earth.

about 6 years ago

Christ is our healer in all things. We all at one time have had things in our lives which we cry over. Divorce, for me was the hardest. I can tell you though, that Christ will continue to pick us up out of the depression, we are under. He will give us a reason to rejoice again, in his time. I also have finally found Christ again through reconnecting with my Spiritual beliefs and following where he has lead me. I am finally able to say that Christ led me to find my one true soul mate. Thank God for the wonderful life he gives us. As well as the chance to love again.

about 6 years ago

Gary, your God is a healer and He indeed healed you. May the world see more of that healing in your music and yours songs.

about 6 years ago

I went to GC's MySpace page and noticed his wife and new family were omitted. I wondered if he was getting another divorce, but YOU KNOW! we should not judge. We should pray for him. Our life circumstances are, yes, part our own doing, but they are also part our legacy of childhood; situational, etc. I know that I was injured in an auto accident and now lost my job, etc etc. I can't believe this is my life. BUT I can look forward to the Lord. BLESSINGS for Gary..I know he loves the Lord, he just is having a hard time.. : (

about 6 years ago

Doesn't take too long to get married after a divorce. Check the New Testament out about marrying a divorced person while the ex is still alive. Share it with you new wife.

about 6 years ago

In the last yr, my husband and I went through a divorce. The pain of it is shocking. My son (16 yrs old) ended up in rehab. He's clean now, but he really liked the song, "Sweet glow of Mercy". It's one of the few Christian songs of our generation that he likes. I hope Gary knows that God is still using his music.

about 6 years ago

Gary: we always enjoyed you on Prime Time Country. We could see the pain you were going thru towards the end. We also saw how you loved your kids. No matter wht has happened God cares and so do we. Keep writing and singing.

about 6 years ago

Wow - there are a lot of people out there feeling like I do - wondering "Where is Gary Chapman?". I think of him often, I have a game on my computer that allowed me to put my MP3s in it, so I have a lot of Gary Stuff in my head all day. (I'm a disabled adult and I have a lot of time on my hands!!) It just seems like he fell off the planet. :-( I was listening with my Mom to his cover of Rich Mullin's "Elijah" today, and I told her I would find something about what was up in his life. I still don't really know. He was always great about communicating with those of us who posted on some Country message boards (and for while on one for Amy, until the fighting in there amongst posters just got ridiculous). I'd love to hear from him again. If you do pop in here, Gary, would you leave us a post? Still enjoying and being blessed by your amazing music, Amy Lynn Hunt

over 6 years ago

Gary, if you meet my sister Tonya with Jeff tomorrow (9/10) give her a hug and kiss for me. She is a very sweet young lady and a Word from you could be vital. You know what I mean. Blessings!

over 6 years ago

Gary presents his heart in his music as sincerely as anyone I have ever heard. God has blessed him with this great talent. Like all of us, he is also a man of failings. These are often painfully public. Gary, It is obvious that you have a heart for God. In His grace and mercy, my prayer for you is that you will be drawn closer to Him to a place of not only forgiveness but healing also, for you and those closest to you. Belsseings to you.

over 6 years ago

Glad to see this comment board. Wonder how Gary's father is doing. A few years back, on Gary's official website, there were pictures of Gary and Jennifer's new home. Just wondered if you had settled in. I am unable to pull that website up. I love your music. Trisha

over 6 years ago

Hi,Gary,i love your songs good luck.

over 6 years ago

Gary, My wife and i were talking the other night and wondered what had become of you since Prime Time Country had been canceled, that was our loss,you were such a great host and entertainer,if you were to host another show like that,you would have our attention. I hope you are well,just remember, in the darkest of times,Jesus will not abandon you,our God is a good God, may he show favor to you and your family,and maybe someday we will see your smiling face back on t.v.

over 6 years ago

Hey, Gary, hope things are goin' great with you. If you'll play the Peach and Melon Festival in '09, we'll make you the Melon King, ok?

over 6 years ago

Gary I got the chance to see you at Sam's Place long ago. You were a great host. I also miss hearing your great singing and beautiful words. Please know you are a great work of our God and he has plans for you yet! I would love to hear anything new you have out and wish you could have your own show again with a comedic aspect, as you are great at that! Blessings from Austin, TX.

over 6 years ago

I didn't know this was here. It's actually quite accurate with some miniscule exceptions. I thank you all for your kind words...unless you were unkind. If you would like to hear new music, go to myspace. I'm working on assembling a project and am trying out some tunes. I would appreciate your comments...good or bad. Thanks again. G

over 6 years ago

Just sitting here listening to 'Shelter' thank you for all the great music that brought me to my knees and 'Back Where I Started' Life is so hard sometimes and the realness of life can take our breath away. You and Rich Mullins, wouldn't want to live without your music. Love to you Sandy

over 6 years ago

Gary, i hope to see you in heaven one day. you are as real as they come. do not be surprised if the world hates you. the glory that will be revealed... :-) can you feel it. God is good. --mike

over 6 years ago

Gary!! Where are you and what are you doing? I want to talk to you and don't no where to call. If you see this, Please email me. I want to know how you are. I want to know everything is okay with you. If you get this after August 19th, Happy Birthday, you're still a month older than me!! Love ya Lots, Mary Sickles

over 6 years ago

I also miss Gary. I enjoyed him so much on "Prime Time Country" and as far as I'm concerned, CMT messed up by doing away with the show and their programming now is awful. I'm also from Comanche County and always enjoyed hearing Gary speak of Comanche, DeLeon and the surrounding communities. Sorry to hear of his trials in life, but hope he can bounce back as he's geniune. God doesn't give up on HIS children!

over 6 years ago

i miss gary singing --oh holy night--i hope to see him one day singing again. gary if you see this may god bless you always.

over 6 years ago

It was not hard to see how much Gary loved Amy. Whenever she was on Primetime with him, he just glowed. She didn't just hurt Gary but also their children. Being a child of divorce I know how much the kids hurt. You are very much missed Gary, and I pray that you will be back on the straight and narrow very soon with God's hand guiding you and helping you become a greater witness for Him than ever before

over 6 years ago

I miss Gary's music. His song treasure changed my life. God bless, Sandy

over 6 years ago

I had been wondering what happened to Gary. His song treasure changed my life. I got to see him in Springfield,Mo. I was so exited to get see him. I love his music. I pray all is well with him and hope he will make more CD's. God bless. Sandy

over 6 years ago

I loved Prime Time Country, it was such an entertaining show and Gary's wonderful spirit came through. I felt like he was genuine and you could tell he was a true believer. I was sad when he and Amy divorced but am happy that he has found someone who loves him back. We miss you, God Bless Barb

over 6 years ago

Great musician, cool albums. Why is life so hard.

over 6 years ago

Just thinking recently, about Gary's show, Prime Time Country and how I really enjoyed his program, so sorry to hear of his problems , praying for him. would really like to know how and what he is doing now, am sincerely interested because he brought a lot of laughter and pleasure to my life, on his program.

over 6 years ago

I pray he is doing better. I love his music so much. The Lord heal him from every hurt from Amy and any other disappointment he may have had to go through. We love you Bro, hang in there!

almost 7 years ago

Then let us come together in heart and do as we are called - to pray for our brother. Not to just drop the comment and go.

almost 7 years ago

Gary's latest achievements include a drunk driving charge, a possession of marijuana charge, and bankruptcty. There are also reports that he is separated from his second wife. All terrible, shocking news.

about 7 years ago

Does anyone know what Gary's doing now? It's been a long time since there's been any news...His fans miss him!