1. Hi Chris, can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into country music?
Hey! So as far as country music goes it was something that kinda found me, and not the other way around. Growing up my biggest influence in music was my grandfather. Because of him i have a very diverse taste in music. We used to sit around all day and listen to everything from The Rolling Stones, to Bob Dylan, to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the list goes on and on. With Country i was always inspired by Merle Haggard, George Straight, Johnny Cash, Reba, Brooks and Dunn, and once again the list goes on forever. Still to this day i listen to everything from 2Pac to Hoizer and everything in between. When i first started writing i had a lot of influences but really found myself connecting with country music during my early college years at UCR. Back before “The Barn” closed down, i used to play an open mic there regularly and it was such a melting pot it really helped me develop as an artist. From very early on i really connected with the idea of “California Country” and have associated myself with it heavily because i feel it is so fitting. It is country music, but its so much more than that. There is an infancy to it that i have always loved. It is so unique and really is a feeling that you experience which makes it difficult to explain. As far as myself, i like to think of myself as a pretty down to earth guy. I am from Hesperia California which is a desert city you pass on the way to vegas. I have always been very outgoing and love to have a good time. If you asked my friends what they thought of me there would be countless stories of how i am always doing something crazy. Im the guy that walks through the grocery store singing “Check yes or no” at the top of my lungs while everyone looks at me funny. I have a very honest perspective on life and have really been through so many tough times, that i always try to appreciate every moment i have. I am in my last quarter of nursing school at Loma Linda University to become an RN which is super exciting. I have always had intellectual aspirations and although difficult at times, i have struck a beautiful balance in life. I am the kind of person that tries to learn everything i can about things i get interested in which means i have lots of random talents, like solving a Rubix cube for instance. I love to fish, I do woodworking, I love freestyle BMX, and most of all i love writing songs. Growing up life was pretty tough for me, and songwriting became my own personal therapy. Music in general helped me get through so many difficult times in my life and it will always be the biggest part of me. Over the last few years i have really begun to immerse myself in country music and it has led to some of the most amazing memories i have had in my life. Whether it was rocking out with Jacob Bryant, hanging with Lindsay Ell and Caleche Ryder, to playing my very first Boots on Stage event, Country music is a big loving family and i feel so blessed to be a part of it. Everyone is so supportive and i really feel so honored to be a part of the genre in the years to come.
2. How did you know you wanted a career in country music?
To be honest i never really thought that a career in country music was something that was even in the cards for me. For so many years i kept to myself and just played and wrote songs. Music and songwriting was always such a personal thing for me i found it really difficult to share that side of myself with others. As a songwriter sharing music is like the ultimate vulnerability. It wasn’t until college that i really started coming out of my shell. I summoned the confidence to start doing some open mics and small music things that came up, and as people began to respond to my music it really showed me that this might be something i could actually do. A few years back i was lucky enough to get selected and audition for Americas Got Talent in LA at the Dolby Theatre. I remember standing on the stage in front of Howie, Heidi, Mel B, and Howard Stern along with 3,000 eager faces cheering me on. As i began to play it was like something inside of me just clicked and i knew that was exactly where i wanted to be. Although i did not get selected to continue in the show, it was such an awesome experience. After Americas Got Talent i basically just never stopped chasing the dream. I started working with Nick Dicarlo over at Dicarlo Productions in Rancho CA. We sat down, got a plan together and started working on my EP. We released my single “Lay You Down” which did super well and really got me going down such a positive path. He was the first one in the industry to really understand my dream, and he believed in me enough to help make it a reality. Since then i was able to headline The Glass House, I opened for Jacob Bryant, and I even got to hear my song “What I Do” blast out of the radio on 95.1 KFROG. Recently I played with Boots on Stage for the August Showcase with some of the most amazing artists (Courtney Cole, Golden West, Christopher Roland, Truxton mile). I remember standing out in the crowd last year watching Lindsay Ell, Caleche Ryder, Tim Hurley, and Sophia Scott play thinking to myself how amazing it would be to get to that place musically. The Hotel Cafe was such an awesome experience for me, and really solidified my desire to pursue a career in country music. Its honestly so crazy to reflect on everything that has transpired musically and I cant begin to thank Ricky Abramson and Boots On Stage enough for having me out. This last year has been so amazing musically and i am constantly thankful because its such a beautiful ride. Im here to stay and in the years to come i hope to continue advancing myself as a country artist.
3. Who are some of your musical icons?
In terms of musical icons the list could really go on forever. If i were to select a few people in country music that i really feel had the biggest impact early on i would have to say it would be Kip Moore and Eric Church. The first concert i ever went to was to see Eric Church, Kip Moore, and Justin Moore play at the Honda Center in Anaheim. I stood there surrounded by thousands of people and we all sang “Springsteen” at the top of our lungs while the whole place just erupted in a roar. It was transcendent to be completely honest. I have always loved Kip Moore because i think he is one of the realist artists. He sticks to his guns and is an amazing songwriter. I remember watching an interview with him and he talked about how when he played early on at bars even if only 1 or 2 people listened to his music he knew he was chasing the dream and getting his message across. To me there is such an honesty in that i have always appreciated so much. I try and carry that over into my own music and always stay true to myself and what i do.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years with your music?
To be completely honest i really don’t know. Its hard to say. Life is so crazy and anything can happen. I remember watching Tyler Rich on youtube before he hit it and went on tour with Justin Moore, and look where he is now. As a member of the country industry i follow so many artists and it is so wonderful to see all of the progress being made. An ideal situation for me would be to establish myself enough to get picked up for a tour. Even if nothing more came from it that would be a dream come true. You see the thing is, i’m not doing this because i want fame, or a record deal or anything. If those things came along i would be so grateful, but i really just play because i love what i do. I love music and it is such a part of who i am that i don’t see my life going any other way. 10 years from now i hope i can look back on all of the amazing memories i made and just feel good knowing i was doing what i loved.
5. Is there anything else coming up with your music for 2017?
For 2017 i am definitely in the works for several things. I learned with music, and with life in general, that we only regret the things we didn’t do. I am always taking risks, and chasing new opportunities i never thought i would. This last month i was invited to audition for this season of The Voice which was a super awesome experience. I recently released my EP “Young Tonight” that can be heard on Itunes, Apple Music, And Spotify. I am adding show dates to my calendar and constantly writing and working on new things. Basically just chasing the dream, finishing school, and making the most out of every minute.
6. If you could sing a duet with a famous singer or group who would it be and why?
If i could sing a duet with someone i would definitely say it would have to be Kelsea Ballerini. I am such a big fan of hers. Me and my buddies always joke about who the other one “fan girls” over, and she is definitely mine. Since she first came on the scene i was just loving the music, and aside from her popular radio hits, she is a phenomenal song writer. Look up “The First Time” acoustic with Song Suffragettes, perfect example of emotion and honesty in songwriting. I think we would do justice to “Somethin outta nothin” by Brett Young if we were doing a cover together but honestly i would be beyond stoked if i even just got to meet her. Even with my own showsI don’t play very much cover music, but for some of our sets my band and i have incorporated versions of her songs because i’m such a fan.
7. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“To thy own self be true” -Shakespeare
8. What is your favorite song that you ever recorded?
My favorite song i ever recorded is one that i’ve never released. As a songwriter I write music for myself a lot of the time. Many of my songs are almost like a musical journal that speak to who i am, and different things i was going through at various points in my life. As far as released music i would say “Talkin To me” off of my EP is definitely one of my favorites. We had so much fun recording it, and if you come watch us live, you will definitely understand why.