Tom Chaplin

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Tom Chaplin
Tom Chaplin.jpg
Chaplin with Keane, performing at Coliseu dos Recreios, Portugal in 2008
Background information
Birth nameThomas Oliver Chaplin
Born (1979-03-08) 8 March 1979 (age 40)
Hastings, East Sussex, England
GenresSoft rock
InstrumentsVocals, organ, piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, timpani
Years active1997–present
Associated actsKeane

Thomas Oliver Chaplin (born 8 March 1979), is an English singer-songwriter, musician and composer, best known as the lead singer of the British pop rock band Keane.

Early life[edit]

Thomas Oliver Chaplin was born in Hastings, East Sussex, to Sally and David Chaplin OBE, a 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.

Chaplin's 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. Chaplin attended the University of Edinburgh, prior to dropping out to pursue a career in music.[citation needed]

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 Chaplin became the lead singer.


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.[1]

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 vocals, 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.

Solo career[edit]

Having said that he intended to make a solo record during Keane's hiatus, Chaplin stated in January 2016 that he was recording his debut solo album in Los Angeles, California, with 40 songs written and whittled down to an album's worth. He announced in late June that the album was complete and that it would be out soon.

2016–17: The Wave[edit]

The album name The Wave was announced via Twitter and Facebook on 10 August 2016.[2] The same day, Hardened Heart was released with a music video. On 26 August 2016, "Quicksand" was released as the first single from the album. On 6 September 2016, Chaplin announced he would be playing eight intimate solo shows across the UK in October 2016. These were his first solo gigs for four years.[3] The Wave was released on 14 October 2016 by Island Records. Four singles were released from the album: "Quicksand", "Still Waiting", "Solid Gold" (of which the single release is a collaboration with JONES, rather than the solo version which appears on the album), and "See It So Clear". The release of The Wave was followed by the announcement of the Carried by the Wave Tour, a longer set of dates running between January and September 2017. The tour consisted of four legs: first in the United States and Canada, then across Europe, a third leg in the UK during May 2017 and a last leg in Latin America.

2017–present: Twelve Tales of Christmas[edit]

On 13 October 2017, Chaplin announced that he had recorded his first solo Christmas album, entitled Twelve Tales of Christmas, to be released on 17 November 2017. Simultaneously the first single from the album was released, entitled "Under a Million Lights".[4] The album consists of eight original tracks and four cover versions: "Walking in the Air" (written by Howard Blake), "2000 Miles" (originally by The Pretenders), "River" (originally by Joni Mitchell) and "Stay Another Day" (originally by East 17).[5] It was also announced that Chaplin would be performing three gigs to accompany the release of the album; at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on 10 December 2017, at The Forum in Bath on 11 December and at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 12 December.[6]


Chaplin uses a Hammond XK2 organ for "Hamburg Song" and "Nothing in My Way". Since May 2006, he has used a Yamaha CP60M for live piano parts in "A Bad Dream", "The Frog Prince" and "Crystal Ball".[7]

He has played acoustic guitar in such songs as "Your Eyes Open" since the 2006 UK tour, and during 2007 played acoustic solos of "Broken Toy" and "The Frog Prince". He played guitar on Keane's third album, Perfect Symmetry and has been the lead guitarist in live shows for the album. Tom plays three different Fender Telecaster guitars: one red, one white and one light blue.[8]

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.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Chaplin married his girlfriend, Natalie Dive in June 2011.[10] He has a daughter born on 20 March 2014. He resides in Wittersham, Kent.[11]

Chaplin is a keen golfer,[12] supporter of Ipswich Town and of the England cricket team.[13]

Drug rehabilitation[edit]

On 22 August 2006, Chaplin stated 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.[14] It was reported at the time that 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 and cricket rather than party, inspired by reading Alice Cooper's story of his own recovery from alcohol and drug problems.[citation needed]

In August 2016, Chaplin said in an interview with music critic Neil McCormick that he began using drugs during the anticipation of his solo album. He said anxiety over the album caused him to get "back to shovelling coke up (his) nose." Chaplin said he nearly died one night in 2015. He said people began to give up on him, and his wife once told him she loved him in case she never saw him again. Chaplin recovered by seeing a psychoanalyst. He said the past 12 months have been the happiest of his life with his wife and daughter.[10]



With Keane[edit]


  • Carried By The Wave Tour (2017)
  • Twelve Tales of Christmas Tour (2017)


  1. ^ [1] Archived 15 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "đ&#x;ŒŠTom Chaplin on Twitter: "#TheWaveAlbum đ&#x;ŒŠ "". Twitter. 10 August 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Tom Chaplin Announces Intimate October UK Tour - Tickets". Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Tom announces new Christmas album! - Tom Chaplin". 13 October 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Tom Chaplin gives Jo his new single, Jo Whiley - BBC Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  6. ^ Stickler, Jon. "Tom Chaplin Confirms December Shows, Announces New Album 'Twelve Tales Of Christmas' - Stereoboard". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  7. ^ "FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  8. ^ [2] Archived 11 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Expect The Unexpected". Keane Backline. Archived from the original on 25 August 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Keane's Tom Chaplin on his battles with addiction and why he's embarked on a solo career". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Keane star Tom Chaplin threatens thieves over wife's stolen gem". Daily Express. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Keane's Tom Chaplin: 'Golf has helped me overcome drug problems'". NME. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Tom Chaplin: A suitable case for treatment". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Elton Guides Chaplin Through Rehab". Retrieved 16 October 2006.

External links[edit]