|Birth name||Thomas Oliver Chaplin|
8 March 1979 |
Hastings, East Sussex, England
|Instruments||Vocals, organ, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, timpani|
Thomas Oliver "Tom" Chaplin (born 8 March 1979, in Hastings, East Sussex, England), is a singer-songwriter, musician and composer, best known for being the lead vocalist and lead guitarist of British alternative rock band Keane.
Life and career
Chaplin was born to David Chaplin and Sally Taylor, about one month apart from future band mate Tim Rice-Oxley's brother, also called Tom. Their mothers became friends and he started a friendship with the two brothers that endures today.
His father was headmaster of Vinehall School in Robertsbridge, so both friends were schooled there along with Richard Hughes, who would later be their band mate. With Rice-Oxley and Hughes, Chaplin then attended Tonbridge School. Studying there, they met Dominic Scott (who was an original member of the line-up but left in 2001). During his time at Vinehall, Chaplin acted in several school plays and was part of the school's choral group. He also played the flute while at school.
In 1995, the trio (Scott, Rice-Oxley and Hughes) started their first band, The Lotus Eaters. It was a cover band that played U2, Oasis and The Beatles at Sussex pubs. Tim Rice-Oxley invited Chaplin to join the band as an acoustic guitar player. A short time later, in 1997, the band's name changed to Keane and Tom Chaplin became the lead vocalist.
Tom fulfilled a lifetime ambition of performing with the remaining Queen members at the Prince's Trust Rock Gala, 17 November 2010. Tom sang "It's a Hard Life" backed by Brian May and Roger Taylor. He was also asked to perform at Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday event held at London's Savoy, where he performed "The Show Must Go On" as well as "It's a Hard Life" alongside May and Taylor.
Tom's family now run a charity called Rwanda Aid, with Tom helping to fund several projects in that country. Tom married his long-term girlfriend Natalie "Nat" Dive in June 2011. On 27 September 2013 it was revealed on Chris Evans' BBC Radio 2 show that they are expecting their first child on 6 March 2014.
Chaplin was invited to join the band by Rice-Oxley, after he finally convinced the other two, in 1997, when the name The Lotus Eaters was changed to Cherry Keane, after a friend of Chaplin's mother. 'Cherry' was later removed from the name.
In July 1997, Chaplin went to South Africa for his gap year, during which the rest of the band members were preparing themselves for a gig. When Hughes went to collect Chaplin a year later, on 3 July 1998, his first words were, "We've got a gig in ten days." This would be the band's first performance at the Hope & Anchor pub on 13 July 1998. Chaplin then began studying for a degree in art history at the University of Edinburgh, before leaving to pursue his music career in London.
During their stint in London, Chaplin shared a flat with Rice-Oxley in Stoke Newington and they tried to get money for rehearsal time. Chaplin worked at a publishing company where his chief responsibility was to carry boxes.
With Scott in the line-up as the lead guitarist, Chaplin had to play the acoustic guitar. Since Scott left in 2001, he primarily takes lead vocal, but also plays the organ on "Hamburg Song" during some live gigs, as well as a distorted piano for newer songs on their second album. He also took part in Band Aid 20's re-recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in November 2004 doing a solo on the line "feed the world", something that had not been done on previous versions where all artists sang.
On 22 August 2006, Chaplin revealed that he was receiving treatment for drug abuse problems. He and his bandmates cancelled their North American tour for his rehabilitation after he left their hotel in Japan with no warning, choosing to fly back to Britain alone. He left the Priory Clinic in London on 6 October, but continued to receive treatment after leaving. It was reported at the time that Sir Elton John had telephoned him to offer advice, and also that Justin Hawkins of The Darkness and Pete Doherty were receiving treatment at the same branch of The Priory, but Chaplin later stated that this was not the case. He told The Sun newspaper in 2010 that he had been clean of drugs since late 2006 and still drank alcohol on occasion, but in moderation, "having got my fingers burnt with it before". He also added that he now preferred to play golf rather than party, inspired by reading Alice Cooper's story of his own recovery from alcohol and drug problems. During an interview with Q magazine to promote the Strangeland album, he stated that he has been teetotal since early 2012.
Chaplin uses a Hammond XK2 organ for "Hamburg Song" and "Nothing in My Way". Since May 2006, Tom has used a Yamaha CP60M for live piano parts in "A Bad Dream", "The Frog Prince" and "Crystal Ball".
He also has been playing the acoustic guitar in songs like "Your Eyes Open" since the 2006 UK tour, and during 2007 acoustic solos of "Broken Toy" and "The Frog Prince". He also plays guitar in Keane's third album, Perfect Symmetry. In all of the Perfect Symmetry live shows in many songs of the album or in covers of the band make in the shows and now he is the lead guitarist of the band. Tom plays three different Fender Telecaster guitars: one red, one white and one light blue.
In an interview with Keane Backline, Rice-Oxley stated that Chaplin had been interested in learning to play the theremin, but "couldn't be bothered to learn how to use it", also stating that the theremin "might be the only way of reproducing the musical saw sound" used in some tracks of Perfect Symmetry.
Tom Chaplin's voice is considered one of the best male voices in recent decades. . His vocal ranges from a G2 ("She Has No Time") to C#5 ("Dirtylicious"), reaching A5 in falsetto (Under Pressure). That is, 3/8 and a note record.
It has been a great evolution in Chaplin's voice from the era of Hopes and Fears 2004 to the latest songs from Perfect Symmetry and Night Train from 2008 to 2010. Tom used to sing the chorus of Hopes and Fears in A4 ("Somewhere Only We Know", "This Is the Last Time", "Bend and Break", "We Might as Well be Strangers"). But his high notes are found in his later works, and so we used to find more Bb4 in the chorus ("Put It Behind You", "Perfect Symmetry", "Spiralling", "Playing Along"), B4s ("Love is the End", "My Shadow") and even C5 ("Better Than This").
Chaplin feels more comfortable in his upper register, which is why some live songs like "We Might as Well be Strangers", Tim Rice-Oxley up the tune a semitone. At concerts, has complete ease in speaking and singing of a C4 to G4, so would his high notes, A4, Bb4, B4 and C5. His voice has been compared several times to that of Freddie Mercury noticing much this similarity in the covers of Queen (Another One Bites the Dust, Under Pressure and It's a Hard Life).
He is married to Natalie Dive, whom he married in June 2011. On September 27, 2013, Tom confirmed to Chris Evans BBC Radio 2 that the couple were expecting their first child, who may be born in early March 2014.
Chaplin has stated that he intends to make a solo record in 2014, during Keane's hiatus.
- "I Am So Cool"
- "Call Me What You Like"
- "Closer Now" / Pattern of My Life" (Annie Lennox song)
- "The Winter in Me"
- "The Silence of an Alien"
- "A Bad Dream" (with Tim Rice-Oxley)
- Tom Takes A Walk Down Memory Lane, http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk
- "Elton Guides Chaplin Through Rehab". eltonfan.net. Retrieved 16 October 2006.
- Keaneshaped FAQs, http://www.keaneshaped.co.uk
- Keane Backline Q&A, http://www.keanebackline.info
- "Expect The Unexpected". Keane Backline. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
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