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Celebrated songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman on channeling ‘collective wisdom’

Beth Nielsen Chapman
c/o the artist
Beth Nielsen Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman is a songwriter’s songwriter. She began writing before she had any idea that it could be a career; it was just something that came naturally to her. When she first started out, there was no way to possibly imagine just how important songs would become in her journey—both professionally and personally.

Here she talks about that journey, which includes writing songs for Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Crystal Gayle, Juice Newton, Bette Midler, and most famously co-writing Faith Hill’s hit song “This Kiss.” She has released sixteen albums as a solo artist as well.

Along the way, she also talks about processing grief and loss through music (and making music through grief). We spoke only weeks after her second husband, Bob, passed away. Her first husband, Ernest, died in 1994. She also tells the stories behind many of her hit songs, and lays out her philosophy of creativity and craft, including what it means to “write from the center of your truth,” channeling humanity’s “collective wisdom” and what it means to have “investment without attachment” in songwriting.

Beth’s most recent album, Crazy Town, came out in 2022.

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Leo Sidran is a Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, arranger, composer, recording artist and podcast host based in Brooklyn, New York.