Road To Know Where, Coming Soon!
Who would have thought that a young girl who grew up in Westchester County, New York would grow to have such a love for country music. Rebecca Chapa was born to a Polish/Lithuanain mother far removed from her cultural heritage, and a Mexican father who came to the United States as part of the Bracero Program when he was 13. Despite his heritage and the fact that the family owned Mexican restaurants Chapa’s childhood was devoid of musical influences from both cultures other than listening to the mariachis weekly at their Sunday dinners at the restaurant. Still her childhood was steeped with music. A lucky inheritor of multiple 45s from Beatles to Lovin’ Spoonful, Chapa used her small record player to its fullest relishing in her favorite tracks ad nauseum and even creating dances to some (Summer in the City), and learning every word to the entire soundtrack of Pippin, and… to her parents dismay, to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Said album ended up in Chapa’s hands circa five years of age at which point she quickly memorized all words and never realized their meaning or significance until her shocked parents decided said album was contraband. After a week of restriction from her favorite music they realized too little too late and returned the album to her, but the meaning was forever changed.
Chapa did not only relish in the “left-over” music of her parents but also enjoyed the music played on long car rides via the 8 track cassette feature of their car, so Cat Stevens and Elton John played a huge role and she soon stole those 8 tracks and soon figured out how to play them on her 2-XL Robot toy. Prior to finding her own way amidst a hectic mix of musical revolution of the 80’s (Yaz, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Culture Club, Men At Work), Chapa was given her first ever LP from her father who picked it up at K-Mart in Manhattan for her. To this day there is no evidence as to why he chose to purchase said album, but it lodged in her soul since that day, and still Kenny Rogers’ Daytime Friends is a huge inspiration and likely a precursor to the musical style she finds invigorating and unique to the music landscape today.
There was of course the departure into Grunge, Heavy Metal and Alternative Music during her college years, and also the love for what Chapa and close friend Lynne White dubbed “Jack Wagner-fest” (i.e. the cheesiest music you could find) as well as Rap and select Soul influences during high school. A close connection in the 90’s inspired a love for the classic rock powerhouses of the Doors, Hendrix and Janis Joplin. A trip to California made her question the Dead and eventually a boyfriend turned husband cemented the connection that the Dead were a group that were more about performance talent and connection to the audience than innate ability, to sing at least.
Throughout the journey through music Chapa was guided by classical influences of her mother’s love of traditional music, the love of her maternal grandfather of Classical compositions and the unique musings of a choir conductor, Nancy Zarowin, who was always up for a surprise prepping her choir with everything from Spirituals (Ain’a That Good News sung at Sacre Coeur in Paris in Chapa’s junior year of high school), to an actual Latin Mass sung at Chartres cathedral during a Sunday Mass.
This diverse background makes Chapa’s music hard to define yet accessible to multiple ears. She has an innate spirituality that often comes across as a bit preachy but is not meant to be so… She loves the purity of bluegrass and the truth presented in the lyrics of country music. As a writer her honesty shines through each piece she writes. She is comfortable knowing that what she writes will resonate differently in every listener and just hopes that it will touch a chord in each and every one.
When the Barn Came Down.mp3
In addition to music Rebecca Chapa writes about wine, spirits and music. Visit her blog at http://www.rebeccachapa.com