For this week’s artist spotlight we’re focusing on the indie rock artist Chapell, not to be confused with Chappelle. Chapell has a unique backstory because in 2016 he came out of an extended hiatus after establishing a significant reputation in the industry years ago as a teenager. While in High School in Stamford, CT, Chapell recorded his debut EP with legendary music producer Jimmy Ienner, who later went on to orchestrate the soundtrack for Patrick Swayze’s Dirty Dancing.
After catching some early momentum Chapell graduated from college and began touring with his band All the Voices, which built a fanbase that would regularly fill 1,000 cap rooms. Eventually, however, Chapell’s career hit a rut when the grunge movement emerged from Seattle in the early 90s. “All of the sudden, nobody seemed to want to hear quirky songs written on a piano” says Chapell. “Post-punk noise ebbed out of most clubs in NYC and across the country for nearly a decade, and it didn’t feel like there was room for much else.”
At this point, Chapell made the tough decision to take a break from music to pursue a “normal” career in digital media. While taking night classes at Fordham Law School and working a day job with Jupiter Research, he never fully extinguished his love or relationship with music. After years of living this type of double life, Chapell sat in with his father’s band for a jam session who afterwards pulled him aside and said: “Hey, kid, you love making music. Why aren’t you doing it? Fuck all those people who aren’t ready for you yet – go create something that feels right to you and everything else will take care of itself.”
Feeling inspired, Chapell returned to music and started writing hours of new material. During his early years playing with All The Voices, Chapell befriended the legendary drummer Chris Frantz of The Talking Heads. Once Chapell had a demo completed for a studio recording, Frantz introduced Chapell to Jerry Harrison of The Talking Heads, who went on to produce his comeback album, The Redhead’s Allegations.
Chapell’s sound is retro-modern rock – a second cousin to the new-old soul movement. His lyrics lay perfectly over a bedrock of intelligent pop sound. His songs address loss and transition, growth and decay – hardly bubblegum stuff. “I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – juxtaposed between the young and old,” he sings in his soulful tenor on Changes. “In the shadow of the factories, the rain falls hard on the place this used to be. I feel love, I feel pain, but I won’t be this rainy day no more.”
On Saturday, April 1st, Chapell returns to New York City’s American Beauty for a show with special guest Valerie Orth. Doors are at 7pm, Valerie hits at 7:30, and Chapell takes the stage at 9. We’re also giving away a pair of tickets to the show! Share this post found on CEG’s Facebook page and tag a friend you plan to bring to the concert! Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased at this link.