Tom Chaplin

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Tom Chaplin
Keane (7830369604).jpg
Chaplin with Keane, performing at V Festival 2012
Background information
Birth nameThomas Oliver Chaplin
Born (1979-03-08) 8 March 1979 (age 44)
Hastings, East Sussex, England
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active1997–present

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


Early life

Thomas Oliver Chaplin was born in Hastings, East Sussex, to Sally and David Chaplin OBE, a month apart from future bandmate 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 bandmate. With Rice-Oxley and Hughes, Chaplin then attended Tonbridge School. Studying there, they met Dominic Scott (who was a founding member of Keane 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 ]

Meanwhile, in 1995, the trio of 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.

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 on some tracks from 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 sung.

Solo career

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.

2016–2017: The Wave

The album name The Wave was announced via Twitter and Facebook on 10 August 2016. [1] 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. [2] 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 and The Masked Singer

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". [3] 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). [4] 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. [5]

In January 2022, Chaplin appeared on the third series of The Masked Singer as "Poodle". He was fifth to be unmasked. Following that event, he said in an interview that he was working on his third solo album, that would be coming out later in 2022.

In July 2022, he announced that his third album, Midpoint , would be released on 2 September 2022.


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". [6]

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. [7]

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. [8]

Personal life

Chaplin married his girlfriend Natalie Dive in June 2011. [9] He has a daughter born on 20 March 2014 and a son born in 2020. [10] The family lives in Wittersham, Kent. [11]

Chaplin is a keen golfer, [12] supporter of Ipswich Town and of the England cricket team. [13] He identifies as an agnostic. [14]

Drug rehabilitation

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. [15]

In August 2016, Chaplin said in an interview with music critic Neil McCormick that he began using drugs again before the release of his solo album, and mentioned that 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 also stated that the past 12 months had been the happiest of his life with his wife and daughter. [9]



With Keane


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  2. "Tom Chaplin Announces Intimate October UK Tour - Tickets". Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. "Tom announces new Christmas album! - Tom Chaplin". 13 October 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  4. "Tom Chaplin gives Jo his new single, Jo Whiley - BBC Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  5. Stickler, Jon. "Tom Chaplin Confirms December Shows, Announces New Album 'Twelve Tales Of Christmas' - Stereoboard" . Retrieved 15 November 2017.
  6. "FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  7. Archived 11 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Expect The Unexpected". Keane Backline. Archived from the original on 25 August 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  9. 1 2 McCormick, Neil (11 August 2016). "Keane's Tom Chaplin on his battles with addiction and why he's embarked on a solo career". The Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  10. Tom Chaplin, 28 June 2022, retrieved 29 June 2022
  11. "Keane star Tom Chaplin threatens thieves over wife's stolen gem". Daily Express. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  12. "Keane's Tom Chaplin: 'Golf has helped me overcome drug problems'". NME. 17 March 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  13. "Tom Chaplin: A suitable case for treatment". The Guardian . 27 August 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  14. Chaplin, T. (18 August 2015) "Just agnostic with a mistrust of religion."
  15. "Elton Guides Chaplin Through Rehab". Retrieved 16 October 2006.