Marshall Chapman A’67

American Singer, Rocker, Songwriter, and Author
Marshall Chapman
I’ve always said that the only education I ever received was at the Academy… by the time I arrived at Vanderbilt, they couldn’t throw anything at me that I hadn’t already seen.

When asked how Salem Academy prepared her for real world experiences, Marshall Chapman shares a fond memory—an exchange with Salem’s former Dean of Residence and Principal, Alice Litwinchuk.

“I’ll never forget what Miss Lit said to me when I was in her office complaining,” Chapman recalls. “She told me, ‘You think it’s rough here? Just wait until you get out in the real world!’” Laughing, Chapman adds, “Just for the record, nothing I have encountered in the ‘real world’ has been as terrifying as Miss Lit!”

In the ‘real world’ Chapman has been a successful musician for more than thirty years. Her songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Joe Cocker, Irma Thomas, and Jimmy Buffett, and many others. She has released thirteen critically acclaimed albums and her 2013 release, Blaze of Glory, was hailed a masterpiece. In the fall of 2014 Chapman visited Salem for a special performance in Hanes Auditorium, which was attended by many of her classmates, and to meet with students during choir rehearsal.

“The Academy is a college preparatory school in the truest sense,” says Chapman, noting the impact it has made on her life as a whole. Salem prepared her for a lifetime of learning and creating.

As an author, she has published two books in addition to a musical, adapted from the fiction of Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle and featuring songs by Marshall and Matraca Berg, which premiered off-Broadway in 2010. She is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun and Nashville Arts Magazine, and she has written for other publications, including Southern Living and The Oxford American.

Perhaps Chapman’s love of writing today ties to the English classes she completed at Salem. “I can still recite those infamous lines from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and every word of Milton’s ‘On His Blindness,’” Chapman says.