EPISODE #10

The Welsh rocker on the road

Paul 'Welshie' Chapman
  • Born in Wales
  • Toronto / Los Angeles
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GlobalWelsh caught up with international tour manager Paul 'Welshie' Chapman: a Toronto/Los Angeles based tour manager for multi-platinum artist Andy Grammer . Andy is a pop singer, songwriter and record producer and is currently on tour across the US. 'Welshie' spends his time looking after the band, travelling extensively across different timezones...and of course - missing Wales!  

Your Twitter profile hints that you may be from Swansea - are you a true Jack?

I am indeed a true Jack, Born and bred in Morriston! Although it has changed so much over the years I still miss the area.

Your nickname and public profile is ‘Welshie’, how important is it for people to understand you are Welsh / about Wales?

I think it is very important, I have been traveling globally for many years, at the beginning people would ask if I was Irish or Scottish, even Australian, so I adopted the name Welshie and it has stuck with me over the years, I love it and it always starts a conversation, and I am always more than happy to go into detail about why I am called that.

You have travelled the world with some incredible artists - what's been your biggest 'somebody pinch me please' moment?

Good question, I have been very lucky to have worked with people I have looked up to over the years, a lot of my musical upbringing was with a lot of 80’s heavy metals bands, once of the biggest pinch me moments was probably meeting Ronnie James Dio in London back int he early 90’s. Working with the bass player from The Clash was a surreal moment, I recently sat in a Airport Lounge in Toronto with Sean Penn that was cool, Also had Hollywood Actress Jennifer Connelly sit next to me on a flight from LA to Toronto and asked where my accent was from.

You are currently touring with Andy Grammer and he talks about you often in his Tweets, Facebook and Instagram updates - you've clearly made a big impression! He's so far sung Happy Birthday to you in Welsh and called you up on stage to present you with a guitar decorated with a Welsh dragon - what does this mean to you?

Ha! Yes those 2 moments with Andy were really special, and also unexpected, singing the Welsh National Anthem was unreal especially to over 10000 people in Orlando, all of whom tried to sing along, very surreal and proud moment, made me very proud to have all of Andy’s fans sing along and also have an idea of where I am from, that part to me is what makes it that much more special. The Guitar...wow, that was even more unexpected, Greg our guitar player knows I love 80’s music and also my old school guitars, he found that in Los Angeles and spent months repairing it, he had one of our guitar companies custom make the Welsh Dragon on the headstock. I was blown away - I feel so proud of all the band and crew, they have totally embraced my Welsh culture and background and how important it is to me.

Where do you spend most of your time and do you ever think you'd come home to Wales?

Right now most of my time is spent on the road, I have a home in Toronto, Canada and live between there and Los Angeles, when I am not on the road I try and get back to Toronto as often as possible, I have been based there now for almost 2 years. I always come back to Wales over Christmas to see the family, it’s always tough, I miss it when I leave and talk about it so much when I am away, as for moving back, I don't think so for the foreseeable future mainly because of work, however if I had more time I would be back to visit a lot more often.

Any advice for people back home in Wales looking to break into the touring/music industry?

I get asked this a lot especially from people back home, it’s a tough industry to break into, if you are a musician I would say write as many songs/lyrics as you can, there is a book i would highly recommend and one that Andy Grammer has mentioned to a lot of young artists we have toured with called ’The Art of War’ and it’s a book about writing in general. For someone trying to get into the touring world, I would suggest working with a local band to learn as much about the stage, live venues, and the live music industry in general, learn and absorb as much information you can.

Who's the biggest Welsh legend ever, in your opinion?

Tough question, I would probably go with Tom Jones, every venue I get to play someone working there has either seen him perform or have nothing but great stories about him.

Full Welsh breakfast with cockles and laverbread - yes or no?

YES!!!! As soon as I get home I always visit Swansea Market for cockles and Laverbread.

***

Paul ‘Welshie’ Chapman is a Swansea-born Tour Manager for multi-platinum selling American performing artist Andy Grammer and TV personality/author/fitness guru Jillian Michaels. He has toured extensively with a number of artists around the world and now lives between Toronto and Los Angeles. He’s on a mission to spread knowledge about Wales wherever he goes and comes back to Swansea whenever he can to stock up on laverbread and cockles.

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