TERRY Wogan's favourite musician of the moment, Beth Nielsen Chapman, will make her York debut at the Grand Opera House on October 19.

The American singer-songwriter will showcase her latest record, Look. Released by the Sanctuary label on May 31, the album pulls together her diverse influences - folk, country, rock, pop, old-school soul, and jazz - in the company of drummer Jerry Morotta, guitarist John Jorgenson and dobro and steel guitar player Dan Dugmore. Michael McDonald, of The Doobie Brothers, and the Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers provide the backing vocals.

Look features songwriting collaborations with the late Harlan Howard (Time Won't Tell) and jazz artist Andy Bey (the title track), and another highlight is Beth's rendition of I Find Your Love, a number written for the movie Calendar Girls with Gosford Park and Sense And Sensibility soundtrack composer Patrick Doyle.

Chapman's musical eclecticism has its roots in her childhood. The middle child of five in an air force family, she moved six times before she reached adolescence. At that time she started playing guitar and piano and writing songs, and she was drawn to the compositional richness of Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin.

She memorised songs from Broadway musicals as well as soaking up the sounds of everything from Stevie Wonder, Sting and Joni Mitchell to Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Simon and The Beatles, while honing her skills as a performer in small clubs in Alabama and the South.

Her music pops up on ER and Dawson's Creek and on the movie soundtracks to The Prince Of Egypt, Message In A Bottle, The Rookie, Where The Heart Is and Practical Magic.

Among her biggest successes as a writer is the Grammy-nominated This Kiss, an international hit for Faith Hill in 1999, co-written by Beth with Annie Roboff and Robin Lerner. That same year Beth was chosen as Nashville NAMMY'S Songwriter Of The Year and was inducted into The Alabama Music Hall Of Fame.

Her songs have been covered by the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Neil Diamond, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Ute Lemper. Her albums include the ground-breaking Sand & Water, written and recorded following the death of her husband from cancer in 1994 and subsequently used as a tool for healing through grief.

Elton John saw fit to use the title track on his 1997 American tour, in place of Candle In The Wind, to honour the memory of Princess Diana.

When touring Sand & Water, Beth often taught workshops on creativity and working through grief. Just as she was putting the finishing touches to her subsequent album, Deeper Still, she was diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer. After successfully undergoing treatment during the next 12 months, she went on to release the record and made it a point to speak about her experience and encourage women to be vigilant in caring for their health.

Tickets for Beth's 7.30pm show on October 19 cost £16.50 on 0870 606 3595.

Updated: 15:20 Thursday, July 15, 2004