The PHS grad and Marshall County native and singer/songwriter has just released his second album of songs “Daydreaming Days Away” but his musical pursuits are just part of an amazingly eventful young life. Born in the British Virgin Islands, Van Herk has probably spent more of his life on the sea than dry land.
At the ripe old age of six months, Chad and his parents circumnavigated the globe on the family sailboat. After graduating from Ball State University Chad bought a sailboat of his own and lived another dream of returning to the sea for a time, taking a sabbatical to sail as far as Grenada.
After their adventures circling the earth, Chad’s parents moved to Plymouth to be sure their children received a good education without the distractions of the sea and it was here that he discovered music.
“I wanted to learn to play some Led Zepplin,” he said with a laugh. “It started with piano lessons in junior high and I didn’t like it all that much. It always seemed I had found something fun to do outside when my mom would call me in for my lesson. I wouldn’t hurry in all that fast.”
His hobby eventually led him to the guitar, but it was then still just a hobby.
“You know it really was just a way to relax after work,” he said. “I started coming up with a bunch of lyrics and then put them down on paper.”
“The sea has inspired me a lot. Of course Jimmy Buffet is a big influence and bands like the Grateful Dead. A lot of things inspire me, mostly personal experience. If it inspires me I’ll get words in my head. My brain has always kind of worked like that.”
A banker by profession, Chad has no real intention of giving up the “day job”.
“It’s really not something that I planned to do (a musical career) but I admit it is kind of snowballing really,” he said. “A guy in California heard one of my songs on Pandora and he wanted to make a music video of it. That was a really neat experience.”
The 1997 graduate of Plymouth feels life in his hometown with his wife Elizabeth – a 1998 Plymouth graduate – has had a big influence on his music.
“I feel like the last five or six years I’m really a lot more grounded,” he said. “I’m a lot more at ease living in the moment and a lot more grounded spiritually to go along with that.
“Oh, and I want everybody to know that there IS surfing on Lake Michigan too.”
You can hear and purchase Chad’s music at his website http://www.chadvanherk.com/ or on iTunes and Napster.
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Rusty Nixon Correspondent