Topsy Chapman is one of New Orleans’ most engaging and soulful singers. Her mix of gospel, blues, traditional jazz and swing proves both captivating and uplifting. And, when Topsy Chapman blends her fine voice with those of her daughters Jolynda Phillips and Yolanda Windsay in the vocal trio Solid Harmony, it’s magic.
“What happened was, when I did my performances, I would ask before practice if it was okay if I brought my two daughters in and they could hear what the group sounded like. And Snug Harbor was one that always said yes, so we did most of our performances there,” Champman said. “When I do a performance at Snug Harbor I always ask the girls to come and sit in with me. And then it just caught on from there. People started calling sand said, ‘Listen, I’d like to have you and the girls up. We heard you at Snug Harbor, we heard about you at Snug Harbor.’”
Chapman says that started in the late 1990s. Their first time out as a group was in Japan in 1998.
The group’s solid harmonies and fine arrangements started at home.
“They heard me sing them, then they started doing the harmonies themselves,” she said. “Most of the tunes that we do, everybody has a special lead section that they do. They’re not only background, they can do their own thing.”
Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony play Jazz Fest Friday, May 3.