Upcoming artist Celeigh Chapman

Photo courtesy of celeighchapman.com
Photo courtesy of celeighchapman.com

Shelby Parker
Features Editor

Bakersfield native, Celeigh Chapman, released her EP, “Happy Now” in March after 10 years of making a solo record, as she was focusing on school. If the title is any indication, Chapman seems to be saying that she really is happy now.

Chapman moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, after graduating from University Southern California, which she attended for their “incredible music program,” she explained.

Though, it wasn’t always an easy road, Chapman kept her eye on the prize, singing music.

“We’re our own worst enemy,” she said, adding that it was a bit intimidating when she moved to Los Angeles. There were so many people from different backgrounds, and she started comparing herself to others. It was a matter of overcoming that noise and reminding herself that she loved what she was doing, and many had encouraged her to take this path.

Chapman’s distinct voice, much like the stylings of Stevie Nicks or Bonnie Raitt, are also reminiscent of 90s country and its classic storytelling. She explained that it’s a bit of a throwback, and it is. However, it’s not so out-of-date that it will lose your interest.

The EP contains five songs, with a mix of up-tempo and ballads.

The first track, “No Words,” has a true country essence to it with a twang in vocals and guitars in the background. Plus, with a catchy hook and repetitive lyrics, you’ll be singing along in no time.

“It’s a losing fight when it comes to love,” Chapman cries with a soulful voice.

“Coming Back To You” has a rockabilly feel, heavy with drums and guitar. It’s a song about a tumultuous, back and forth relationship. However, with the sweet melody in the background, it seems rather on the playful side.

The EP’s title track, “Happy Now,” has the flavor of a Fleetwood Mac song in the 70s to 80s era, along with country flavor. While it’s a bit slower, the rhythm moves it along nicely. The song tells a story of a relationship that went bad, but “life keeps moving on/It’s funny that way,” as the girl in the song wonders whether she looks “happy now.”

The other two tracks are titled,”Iowasposta” and “Man Down.”

Bakersfield and country music seem to go hand in hand, and Chapman agrees that it inspired her with her craft today, which easy to see.

“I think how fortunate I am to have been raised in a city with such a rich country music tradition. There were nights when some of the older guys I was playing with would nudge me, remember I was like 12, and say ‘Hey that’s Buck Owens watching you sing.’ or ‘That’s Red Simpson you’re playing with.’ I knew it was a big deal, and I was honored, but I couldn’t really process those moments,” the bio on her website reads.

“I think I didn’t realize how much it affected me until I moved to Los Angeles,” she said. “We’re so prideful here,” and the people in Los Angeles don’t necessarily understand that. At least when it comes to Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, or the impact they’ve had on us.

She notes Linda Rondstadt and Trisha Yearwood as musical influences, because they have similar vocal ranges and she seemed to connect with their music more.

“If you love music, you love all music,” she added and explained that she listens to all genres. It’s easy to hear that she isn’t just classified in one genre.

Now, in her late twenties, Chapman is pursuing music full-time and has been for the past six years. It allows her to focus on “writing, performing and being a musician,” which is what she enjoys.

The sky’s the limit for Chapman, as she says she would like to win a Grammy someday or even write for an Oscar-nominated film.

As for highlights, there are so many great ones for her, as she has already recorded two songs that have found their way on major motion picture soundtracks for “A Little Help” starring Jenna Fischer and Tyler Perry’s “A Madea Christmas.”

But for now, she hopes people like the record so that she can continue to make more, and proves that you really can have it all.

“You can go to school and pursue music,” Chapman stressed. Chapman herself was able to attend school, while perusing music on the side and knows that it can be done.

“For me, there’s such a value in education,” and she doesn’t want other college students to feel that they have to choose one or the other.