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Mark Chapman's song for Joplin skyrockets on charts

Friday, June 10, 2011

Popular area singer Mark Chapman performed his song "Where Do You Go" for the first time before a live audience at Monett's Strawberry Festival last Friday. Proceeds of downloads of the song are going to help relief efforts in Joplin. [Times Photo by Melonie Roberts]
The Mark Chapman Band, whose founder calls Pierce City home, is doing their part in offering assistance to the tornado-ravaged community of Joplin.

Chapman and band member Bill Bruce have penned a song entitled "Where Do You Go (If You Can't Go Home?)," which is now available for download at iTunes and Amazon.com. Cost of the download is 99-cents, with all proceeds generated donated to the American Red Cross Joplin Relief Fund.

The haunting ballad was first started when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region on Aug. 29, 2005.

"We started writing it then," Chapman said. "But we put it up and didn't really get back to it until the tornado hit Joplin. Then we took it out and looked at it, and we knew it was time."

Chapman is no stranger to the devastation that a tornado can wreak. He was living in Pierce City when the town was devastated by the May 4, 2003 tornado.

"Ours was nowhere near the blow that Joplin took," Chapman said. "But once the media attention gone, you're forgotten.

"We wanted to do something that was more long-term," Chapman continued. "That's why we've put the song out there. Every time someone downloads it, today, next week, or next month, the proceeds will go to help rebuild Joplin."

Chapman said that 99-cents isn't a lot of money for most people to spend.

"But when 30,000 or 40,000 people download one song, that can generate a lot of money for Joplin," he said. "That will help a lot."

Getting the song out to a digital distribution point so quickly was something of a miracle itself.

"The tornado was on Sunday, I worked on the lyrics on Tuesday; Bill got the guitar tracks back to me on Wednesday; I laid the vocals in my home studio on Thursday, and on Friday, we listened to the first rough mix," Chapman said. "It came out the following Sunday.

"Bill got it to the digital distributor, and it usually takes one or two weeks additional time," Chapman said. "We explained the situation, they put a rush on it and it came out in about three days."

Chapman and Bruce have had hectic schedules for the past week, promoting their instant hit.

"We've been to St. Louis and a couple of local radio stations to promote the song," Chapman said. "From Fox 2 in St. Louis, other stations have picked it up and it's getting out there."

Since then, the song and video has gone viral and is now in the top three country songs of the week. Thus far, the song has had nearly 42,000 hits on YouTube in a week.

"It's a pretty overwhelming song," Chapman said. "It taps into so many emotions. We've had so many e-mails from people telling us their stories. A 13-year-old kid in Serbia said he couldn't afford to buy the song, but he set it up to where the lyrics would scroll across the video."

The song will be available for download, with all proceeds going to the Joplin Relief Fund, indefinitely.

"We realized when we put [the song] up there it would hit a peak, but we never expected 40,000 hits in just a few days," Chapman said. "We won't know exactly how many downloads it will have for the month for another three weeks or so."

More information on the Mark Chapman Band can be found on the Internet at MarkChapmanBand.com.

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