Interview with Legendary Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Bill Champlin (Formerly of Chicago)


By Mick Michaels


COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Bill! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: Do you feel that it's still possible for an artist today to be plucked out of obscurity? Can a catchy song or dedicated core of fans sharing their music make that possible or has the internet and social media changed the game all together now?
Bill Champlin: It seems to me that the top ten, which I occasionally tune in to, has a lotta' relatively unknown artists. Seems like once you're up there it's the getting there again that's the hardest thing. Someone said that it's lonely in the top ten, just you and 9 close friends…strange time for music.

CV: What do you see as the biggest difference in music and how it is perceived today compared to music back when Sons of Champlin were together? Has the music evolved overall from your point of view and has your perspective in music also changed?
BC: As far as publicity it seems like back in the day they wrapped a publicity campaign around the artist based on his/her music; today they wrap the artist around an already existing campaign. Of course the digital revolution has changed music a lot since the 60' and 70's…very easy to make things "Perfect". I try to keep it real when I work without depending on too many tricks. A friend said, "Pro Tools is just another tape machine to begin with, only it doesn't take up half a room and you don't need 5 people to move it.

CV: Do you believe bands and artists who have the biggest impact on both their fans and other artists are aware of it or is it more of a narrow view for them? Do you feel influential artists can see past their own work and how it affects others or is it always one sided in your opinion?
BC: Some are aware of their impact and some would rather just focus on the recording, tours, videos etc. I know I've affected some listeners’ lives more than I planned on when recording but I still try to keep an eye open for new stuff rather than trying to guess how people feel about my music. I obviously like new music.

CV: Your career has taken you from being a singer, songwriter, performer, to a solo artist, band member and everything in between. Do you have one role as an artist you favor over others? And if so why?
BC: I've always considered all the stuff I do as one thing. From writing/arranging/programming/playing to putting on new guitar strings: It's all the same thing to me. I realized that it's a craft that sometime becomes "ART"; the more you practice your craft the more chances you have of art happening.

CV: Your new album, "Livin' For Love," is being made available digitally through Imagen Records. It's been 10 years since your last solo release… why such a long wait?
BC: I just got busy doing lots of other projects. I think the virus lockdowns may have opened up time and space for me to do a new solo album. I've had a lotta' things happen in the last few years that led to me writing some more personal material. Seemed like a good time to do a new one. So, "Livin' For Love" came out of losing a son, having cancer, beating it. etc. It's been a wild ride and all that stuff changes your view of your life, so it was time to record it all.  

CV: Have you gained some new insight over the past 10 years that you feel you are ready to share musically now with your fans?
BC: Kinda' said it all in the last question. I think life happens to you and writers can't help but put new experience into the material.

CV: The album's first single is "Reason to Believe." What reasons have you found, especially after 2020, to strengthen your resolve and what you believe in
BC: I think that song is about gratitude. We didn't realize that's where the lyrics were taking Tamara and I, co-writers with Bruce Gaitsch, but when I was typing the final draft of the lyrics it dawned on me that gratitude was driving that train. I think the world has been taught, in the last maybe 15 or 20 years, to be angry at each other for a million reasons that few of us understand. I thought that maybe we're all yelling too much and we were born to love each other…so, "Livin' For Love". I don't expect to change anything but I can try to do what I can.


CV: "Livin' for Love" will also be released on CD. Your wife, Tamara, also sings on the album. How much was she involved in the process?

BC: Tamara is doing background vocals with me all over the record. I know that Imagen Records will be releasing the album digitally on Jan 22. If you're one of those CD kinda' listener we'll have those available at billchamplin.com/shop 

CV: What are you hoping fans come away with after hearing the new album?  Is there a message?
BC: The album is really about love from all sides. Hopefully listeners will "Get It". If not, it still sounds great and is a good thing to check out even if you don't wanna' be bothered with a "Message". There's a song on there, "Another Lie" that's about my relationship with my older son who passed away. A friend heard it and said, "Really cool song" then he was told the story behind it and listened again and "Got It". I love songs like that. The ones that are cool to listen to then you get it.

CV: What's next? What more can fans expect to see coming from you in 2021?
BC: Hopefully we can take this music out on the road. The virus is in some ways the reason I did the music and hopefully the vaccines will get us back to normal and live music is allowed again, so I can play this stuff, as well as songs I'm known for singing, out on the road.

CV: Thank you again Bill for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was such a pleasure. I wish you all the best
BC: Thanks so much for helping us to gain some visibility for "Livin' For Love". I've done a handful of solo albums over the years but, on this one, Imagen Records, and you, have helped us to get the word out. Thanks so much. Be safe, Be good, Be Baaaaaaad!

Check out Bill at:
Official: www.billchamplin.com
 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/billchamplin
Twitter:
https://twitter.com/billchamplin

 

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.




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