Chapman, the daughter of a cotton mill owner,was taken to an Elvis Presley concert in 1957 and says the experience changed her from a southern debutante to a nascent rock and roller. After graduating from Salem Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she went to Vanderbilt University in 1967.
Her songs have been recorded by such diverse artists such as Conway Twitty, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Buffett, Emmylou Harris, Wynonna, Jessi Colter, John Hiatt, Dion, Olivia Newton-John, Irma Thomas, and Ronnie Milsap. Her song “Betty’s Bein’ Bad” was a #1 hit for Sawyer Brown.
Her 1978 album, Jaded Virgin (Epic), was voted “Record of the Year” by Stereo Review.
In 1998, Marshall and Matraca Berg contributed fourteen songs to Good Ol’ Girls, a country musical based on the stories of Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle. The musical continues to play theaters throughout the South.
Her memoir, Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, was published in 2003 by St. Martin’s Press. Her second book, They Came to Nashville, was published in 2010 by Vanderbilt University Press – Country Music Foundation Press. It is a 2010 Fall Okra Pick of the Southern Independent Booksellers Association.