Tuesday, April 10, 2012

For Booking

If you are interested in booking me, please contact me at chrissligh1978@gmail.com


Friday, October 08, 2010

The End of an Era

Well, my friends. It is a sad day. Not really, in the grand scheme of things, but for those of us who have had so much fun on this blog, it is kinda sad. It's the end of an era. But a songwriter once wrote: the end's the beginning not the end.

I am closing down shop on this blog. It will stay up (at least for a good long while) but I am finding the idea of dedicating myself to the blog to be not as important as it was a few years ago.

I will still be blogging over at chrissligh.com, but I imagine most of the posts will be more direct and to the point. Though, knowing me I'm sure that at some point I'm gonna want to weigh in on some issue that will get a bunch people's undies twisted. Anyway...make sure you get a username over there and let's take our community over there. We have something special and I want many more people to join in our little community. We just need it all to be centralized over at chrissligh.com!

I, of course, will be on twitter constantly. That is the best way to communicate directly with me. I love that about twitter!

We had some good times here. Great times, actually. We got to know each other. We met a lot of anonymous idiots! We laughed. I cried (maybe you did, too)

But all good things come to an end.

So here's to this era.

Now let's toast the next era!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Way too long

Hey guys...it has been a while. Sorry I haven't been more active. I've been crazy busy and the blog has suffered.

So...wanted to give an update on what is going on.

Just finished my album. It comes out September 14. The first single is "Only You Can Save" and it hits radio next Friday (July 17). I am super excited about the record, obviously, and will be posting a song by song exploration very soon.

I just finished producing Andrew Witt's album. Thanks to those of you who were involved financially. You don't know how much you helped. We literally couldn't have made as great an album without your help. If you haven't heard the songs yet, check out facebook.com/andrewwittmusic. The 2 EPs should be available for purchase by mid to late July.

I start this week on Brian Bortnick's record. I'm excited about this one, too. The songs are really good, interesting and different. Yet, very commercial. Brian is recording some of ya'lls favorites - like "I'm Ready" and "I Am". Can't wait for you guys to hear what we're cooking up on this album. It will be fantastic, I promise.

In August, I will be spending 8 days writing in Los Angeles. So, that will be awesome. Then I have a show in NM and then Sarah and I are taking a much much-needed vacation for 6-7 days. We need some rest and relaxation after a long year so far and with the baby coming. Gosh, I feel relaxed just thinking about that week of doing nothing!

Then in the fall I head out with Downhere for about 20 shows. I'll also be doing some spot dates on my own, so look for those dates to come up.

And hopefully we'll be doing a Christmas tour this year...we'll see what happens.

I'm excited to be working again. Last year was difficult. I feel useless/worthless when I'm not working hard. It's nice to feel useful again!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is Crazy!

The last couple of months have been insanely busy. My record has been through flux and change and things came together, fell apart, got pieced back together again; arrangements have been combed over again and again to be as great as we think they can be; vocals have been recorded, re-recorded, then re-recorded again.

And now, finally, we are at the mix stage. The songs are being finished - albeit slowly, but they are being finished.

Literally the day I finished putting the final touches on my album, a guy named Brian Bortnick flew into town to start writing for his record, which I am producing for a new upstart label based in Portland, OR called BeePhonic Music. Brian is from Philly (born and raised in North Philly, so he's a stud). Brian's a veteran of the East Coast Music scene - played a lot of shows over his career as a mainstream rock artist. But more importantly, Brian is a really great guy with a really great story.

Brian is Jewish and grew up attending synagogue for the major holidays. When he was 8 his dad was a vending machine repairman and was on a job in North Philly and was attacked by 3 armed gunmen. Brian's dad attempted to save the girl working the register at the store and was killed. Come to find out, the girl he saved was actually in on the heist.

So, from a young age, Brian grew up struggling with hating the people who took his father from him.

As an adult he married a Christian girl and slowly, from her reading the Bible and different Christian books, he became interested in Christianity and slowly realized his need for Christ. After he became a believer, he slowly began to realize the need to forgive the men that took his father from him.

As we talked about his story, one thing he said really struck me hard. He told me, "You know, I grew up without my dad. But think about the families of the guys who killed my dad. They didn't have it easy. They didn't have their dads or brothers or sons for all that time."

I was blown away. I mean, only by the God's grace can anyone feel empathy for the people who killed your father!

So, I'm excited about Brian's album. It's vibey and cool and exciting to be a part of. His story is so vital (there are a couple of songs that deal with what has happened in his life) but the story for an artist is nothing if the music sucks. This music doesn't suck!!! We are going for an 80's pop/rock singer/songwriter vibe - you know: Bryan Adams, The Boss, Petty, Don Henley, John Cougar, etc. - but with a twist. While sounding vintage in a lot of ways, it will still sound really, really current. And the songs just feel good. You know when you hear a great 80's pop/rock song and even if you don't know it, it JUST FEELS GOOD. That's how this record feels to me. We are just listening to rough demos and I'm grinning from ear to ear because it just feels good.

This week, however, Andrew Witt is back in town to finish writing his record. Then over the weekend, he and I both have to fly out to do 2 shows, then we both get back Sunday. Sunday, we make final decisions on what songs will be on his record. Monday, we start recording over at the kindly Steve Bishir's studio with Mr. Jon Skaggs on drums! I'm really excited about this record, too! I have a feeling this record is going to be something special.

And I'd like to take a moment and say that Andrew is going through some tough financial times as a young guy trying to make a go of it. Some of you guys have graciously given sacrificially for Andrew. I am so thankful. If you are interested in helping Andrew, please let me know - he could use the help as he takes this next step of faith to move forward in his career!

I work on Andrew's record till the 24th, then I head out for 3 1/2 weeks of promo tour with the Word team! That is going to be fun! I get to see old radio friends, hopefully make new radio friends and just get to share my music in one way or another! I'm excited about that.

When I get back in June, Andrew will come back in to record vocals for his album! Then it's off to mix and master on that project.

The day we finish Andrew's record Brian will come in to start working on his record. That should last until early August.

Then in August, it's tentative, but there's a major label artist I'm working hard on pitching Steve Bishir and I to co-produce! Hopefully it works out!!!

Then September is a tour that is being finalized now (more on that soon!!!)will head out until the first week October and will pick up again for all of NOvember!

So, life is good.

But life is crazy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An "I Love You" to the Jennifer Knapps

Jennifer Knapp recently came out as being in a same-sex relationship in an interview with Christianity Today. Rumors had swirled around Jennifer for a really long time, and when she left the business in 2003 the whispers were that she was gay and that she had left to pursue a relationship with a significant other who happened to be another woman. Turns out all the rumors were justified.

In the interview, Jennifer talks about being a believer and a lesbian and feeling as though Scripture backs her up, using such outdate Old Testament laws as eating shellfish and being around a woman when she is menstruating to show that as believers we have double standards...we hold up one outdated law while letting go of others (2 Levitical laws - seriously, you weren't allowed to be around a woman menstruating...seems like God would want you to avoid the 3-4 days before menstruating, for the good of everyone...but I guess it had to do with some kind of picture of "unclean").

The problem is, sexual sins are talked about in the New Testament, too, when grace had come into the picture.

But this post is NOT meant to be a debate on whether or not homosexuality is wrong or right.

This post is meant to spur a discussion on what our reaction should be - not only to Jennifer, but to other believers who inevitably will begin to admit their sexuality as it becomes more and more socially acceptable.

The album I am furiously working on finishing has a theme. The theme is brokenness mirroring redemption. It can be broken down to this: when the world around us screws up, how do we react.

But I think that Christians, for the most part, "get" the fact that we can't expect unbelievers to live by the same set of rules as those of us who believe. I think most of us Christians understand (for the most part) that we need to love our co-workers as they are and pray that they come to salvation, that they possibly see a light in us that sparks a question that leads to the answer. And I think most of us understand that love is to be pure, not condescending. We are to love the broken and dirty with sin, because WE are broken and dirtied by sin. The only difference is that our sins have been covered by the blood of Christ.

But here's where we miss it, I think:

When a believer "falls", we treat them differently. To a certain extent I get why. We view other believers as "knowing the truth" so "living in sin" they KNOW they're doing wrong.

This goes so much further beyond Jennifer Knapp coming out. This goes to the Sunday School teacher in your church that has an affair. This goes to your son's friend who believes he might be gay. This goes to the child molester in your neighborhood who you realize happens to go to your church. This goes to the believers who fall in a very public way.

We are called to love because we were first loved. We are called to give because God gave to us. But for some reason we separate it in our heads to loving the world while waiting to pounce on other believers when the dirt comes out.

Ted Haggard fell in a huge way. His life will never be the same. He was making 6 figures or more as one of the most powerful pastors in America. He was and is an incredibly dynamic yet basically lost everything when he fell. And why? Because he lied to cover up his sins before coming clean, making the church look bad. We pounced on him like a tiger when the dirt started flying and a man's life will never be the same.

I just heard you say: "but there are consequences for sin". Yes. There are. BUT - the consequence for sin should NEVER be loss of communion with other believers. You can bring up Matthew 18: you confront the believer in sin, if he doesn't repent you go back with 2-3 other believer, and if he doesn't repent, then you treat them like they are unbelievers. So, basically we go back to where we started. We love the world because they don't know the truth. When a believer falls and doesn't repent Scripture tells us that we begin to treat them as the world again.

We love the sinner unconditionally, without consequences and without condescension. It is clear in Scripture that a true believer can not live in a constant state of sin. Honestly, I don't understand that, but Scripture says it, not me. I feel as though I live in a constant state of sin. I'm sick with it. I'm sick with self, I'm sick from pride, I'm sick of all the times of lied, I've struggled and I've tried to be all right. But I'm never all right. I fall and I fall again. I think too much of myself, I get angry at the stupid drivers in front of me, I treat my wife without the respect and love she deserves. Granted I'm not doing one of those things all the time, but in a day my sin adds up.

And so does yours.

Is Jennifer Knapp gay and a believer? She says she believes and she says she's gay. it is not my place to make the judgement - ultimately her salvation/sanctification is between her and God alone. I hope there are people in her life he gently confront her in love and tug at her heart, trying to pull her closer to the picture of a believer we see in Scripture. But ultimately I believe we have to take a person's word at face value.

What the point of this whole post is this: calling believers to step up and love. A lyric on my new record says this:

We are, we are
We are all broken people
But we've been set free and loved
We are, we are
We are the chosen people forgiven much
So where's our love?

Another lyric says this:

I wanna love because you loved
I wanna give because you gave

We're all messed up. As believers, we're dirty and broken and ugly and trashy and nasty...yet God loved us first. How can we do anything but do what Jesus told us are his greatest commandments: Love Him with all our hearts and love people.

So to the Jennifer Knapps of our world; to the fallen and the broken and messed up people whether they believe or not, I say this: I love you. Without condescension. Without judgement. I love you.

Because God loved me in my filth.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update on recording

Recording has gone well.

The first 8 songs were worked on starting 3-4 weeks ago with my buddy Steve Bishir. We got those done very quickly.

We then began work on the final 6 songs, 5 with Pete Kipley and 1 (entitled "One") with Steve and me again.

6 songs have lead vocals completed. We have moved vocals over to my home studio now for the last 3 that Steve and I are working on, as well as the many background vocals and double and triple vocals I'm laying down on this record, plus on Modern Liturgy (which will be part of the pre-release package - this used to be known as Requiem, btw). So hopefully a lot of that will be completed in the next week or so.

We already have had one string session. We brought in an 8 piece string section (4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos). We have put strings on Modern Liturgy, Beginning Not the End, Broken (beautiful), and Scars. I did the string arrangements this time around: my buddy Don Chapman is buried underneath Easter stuff, so with a little help from a copyist and the string contractor, I put together the arrangements...and man I'm excited about how everything sounds. Modern Liturgy sounds ridiculous.

So, what is left?

Well, as said before, I still have 3 lead vocals to do for the songs that Steve and I are working on. Then April 4 I'll be going out to Pete's studio/house in San Diego to cut the vocals on the 5 songs he's working on. I also have to lay down the vocals for Modern Liturgy, which is exciting.

I'll be going down in April to North Greenville College (my alma mater) to record my old choir on Modern Liturgy. I'm excited about that and it's a cool opportunity for them. Since Modern Liturgy has that classical element to it, it's great and natural to use those guys.

We'll have one more string session for One, Still You Love Me, and In the Weak.

Then it's on to mix.

Looks like F. Reid Shippen will be doing 7 songs and Steve Bishir and I will be mixing the other 7! And I will be mixing (with some thoughts from Steve) Modern Liturgy.

So, we're coming into the home stretch for this record!

Hopefully within the next 4-6 weeks you will hear the first single from this record on a radio station near you!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Double Edged Sword of American Idol

I think that most Idols that you talk to would tell you they wish they'd never done American Idol. In fact, I was just talking to an Idol Friday who said the same thing. I think that most of that feeling is naivety in what Idol can and will do for you. Perhaps some of that feeling comes from the stigma that is with the term "american Idol". I don't know. It's a double-edged sword.

I'm somewhere in between, I think.

I had labels interested and had won national vocal and songwriting contests before Idol. I think that getting signed was around the corner from me...in fact I know it was. But Idol simply took things to another level for me. It's a double-edged sword.

It opened up doors with labels because 35 million saw me on tv. But on the other hand it was the same labels I'd worked with before Idol. I had 11 labels at one point interested. But in the "real world", beyond the labels, beyond everything else, there's a stigma at radio (CCM, pop, etc) with Idols; there's a stigma with concert venues (again, both churches and mainstream venues) and there's a stigma with the consumers. In other words, Idol opens up doors to have a chance. But because of what past Idols have done the chance becomes slimmer, if that makes sense.

For instance, for the genre I chose to go into, as a new artist selling 60,000 albums, it is remarkable. 3rd-best selling new artist since 2008. I mean, every new artist in my genre would kill to have that combined with a top 5 single. But because of being on Idol, the uninformed look at those sales as a failure. Whereas when faced with the actual facts, I have to be excited about my career! But I have people tell me all the time that it must suck to be as much of a failure as I am. Haha...it's a double-edged sword.

Would I have sold 60k on my debut without Idol? Hmmm...maybe...but let's be honest probably not. From research I've done, for the average new CCM artist a top 5 single on a debut album (rare, very rare) is worth 20-30k. The 2nd single is where the new artist's debut record is made or broken. Usually the 2nd single is worth 2-3 times in sales what the first single was. Sometimes more. So, if a 2nd single goes top 5 following a top 5 1st single, a new artist should sell an additional 40-80k. I sold 60k off 1 top 5 single, a top 15 single and 2 singles that promotion was pulled for before they got off the ground (because of getting out of my deal with Brash) - you could easily call those 2 flops, though it is more complex than that. My point: Idol FOR SURE helped my sales. Brand recognition right off the bat.

But when I started touring, I was told by my booking agent that many promoters wouldn't work with me because they had been burned in working with other Idols before me. Lack of sales, lack of promotion, lack of success at radio, diva-esque attitudes all played a huge role in that. I had to go out and prove that the Christian market was truly where I was called to be; I had to prove that I could sell tickets; I had prove I didn't have an attitude; and I had to prove I wasn't the same as those before me. Since I began touring, I have averaged about 400 tickets a night when I headline (obviously sometimes much, much more, sometimes much, much less - I played a show last year on the acoustic tour to 9 people...who ALL came to see the opener - haha). And it continues to grow. Idol allowed people to come to shows right off the bat. But promoters wouldn't book a sure thing. Double-edged sword.

Even my top 5 single "Empty Me" was subject to the double-edged sword. There were many stations that wouldn't play the song at first because I was an Idol. To put it in perspective: Chris Tomlin's single off their new record was on all reporting stations within 6 weeks of coming out. "Empty Me" got it's last add 16 months after we went to radio. We were lucky to get a top 5. The fact it was up for song of the year at the Dove's was only because it had tested so well with the stations that played it over a year's time. The song worked because I'd come from Idol But it took so long to catch on because I came from Idol. LOL..the double-edged sword.

All that to say this: I am eternally grateful for what Idol has done for me. But I have made a tough decision to remove Idol from my life. In talking about promoting the new album with my new label I have made it clear that I want no mention of Idol in any of my promo materials. With venues we are beginning to make it clear that in promoting shows, Idol is to have little to do with promoting the shows. I am removing Idol's effect from my career. I've paid homage to what Idol has done for me. Now, it is time to move on as Chris Sligh the artist. Not Former American Idol Chris Sligh. Idol didn't give my talent to me. It didn't develop my talent. It didn't get me my new record deal - my last record's success and my artistry did. It gave me a chance that I was able to take advantage of...nothing more, nothing less.

Even in commenting on American Idol it's a double-edged sword. Most people see that my commenting is tongue-in-cheek and as a fan. Still, others view my comments as disrespectful to the thing that "made me". Most see that my comments about contestants comes as a fan who happens to have "been there, done that". Still others view what I do as jerk-ey and insensitive to the feelings of a bunch of kids who will never read my comments. Haha...it's a double-edged sword.

With all of this in mind, it seems a bit hypocritical to be tweeting about Idol and Idols as much as I do. So, as of today, I am making a conscious decision to delete Idol from my publishing life as well. I will not be commenting on Idol any longer. I think that this is the season to stop: it's so horrible that I can't imagine that I will have ANYTHING to say but negative...and I am simply trying to control how much negative I have a part in. Well, I may throw a comment in every now and then...but not en force like it has been in the past.

So, Idol is a double-edged sword...but it won't be with me any more. I'll end with this:

American Idol, thanks for the joy you've given me for the last 3 years, both in my career and seeing how other's succeed. But I've got to let you go now. Time to move on! Good luck to you in the future...you are loved.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Anatomy of Broken

So, for over a year the planned name for this second album has been "All the Angles". I think I've even mentioned that title several times here on the record.

Well, yesterday, I was making a disc of all the songs that will be on the record and as I was listening through the songs, I realized there was a common theme throughout the entire album. Nearly every song spoke in some way of being broken. In fact I think there are 6 or 7 songs that actually have the word "broken" in the lyrics at some point. But it's not just saying "I'm broken" or "you're broken"...it's looking at brokenness in every way possible.

For instance, "Only You Can Save" tells of loving the broken because God loved us first. "In the Weak" speaks of reaching out to the broken because God lives in the broken. "Our Love" talks about the fact that we are all broken people because of the sin condition, so why would we not love the world around us, when we have been forgiven much. A new song called "Scars" takes a Brennan Manning quote that says "God will not look you over for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars" and talks about the fact that it is our scars that speak to grace. And so on...nearly every song speaks of brokenness.

So the new title of the record is "The Anatomy of Broken"

I'm so pumped for you guys to hear everything on this record!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lyrics to the New Songs

Our Love (Chris Sligh)

So where did we go wrong that it's common place
For the world to think we stand for hate
One too many picket sign
Has deflected one too many times
The fact that all our lives were simply meant to give away
Oh, we're all messed up
Oh, but isn't that the point of love?

We are, we are
We are all broken people
But we've been set free and loved
We are, we are
We are the chosen people
Forgiven much
So where's our love?

We come into this mess, sin upon our heads
Born equals in a race that ends only with death
But we've been running in reverse
Since love conquered death's dark curse
Shouldn't we reflect His love to a world hung by a thread?
Oh, we're all messed up
Oh, but isn't that the point of love?


Gotta give, oh
Gotta give, oh, gotta give all our love
Gotta give, oh
Gotta give, oh
Gotta give all our love to a lost and dying world


So reach out, there's someone you know
That has never seen God's love
Reach out, someone you love
Feels like they've never been enough
Reach out, the untouchables
The un-reachables, the never-thought-ofs
Are in need, they're in need
They're in need of our love...

Sunny (Chris Sligh)

Well, you bring the wings and I'll bring the flightplan
Cuz you're an angel and I am just a man
But I've been a better man since you got here
And life is better, too, cuz my world revolves around you

Clouds are gone and skies are blue
There's nothing to bring us down, whoa...
Things are looking sunny
Things are looking sunny
Things are looking sunny since I found you

All of your skin looks good touching my skin
You're so pretty, I just fell in love again
It's love at each sight, over and over
My heels are over head, now it's me revolving round you


Everything's bright, everything clean
Everything's like my favorite dreams
Cuz my favorite dream is you
The turn of your head, the flick of your wrist
Everything about you, you don't need a list
To know my favorite dream is you, you, you, you...


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spring Tour

We're putting together our Spring Tour and would love your help. We have quite a few dates coming together right now, but are trying to fill out a tour and want to go where the fans are, not just where we have gone before.

So, here's the deal....

The Spring Tour is going to be a virtual smorgasbord of what I think is cool music.

Opening up the show will be my good friend Andrew Witt.

Then (if everything gets taken care of contract-wise - I'm about 95% sure he'll be coming out) will be one of my favorite new artists, Danyew. This guy's music is incredible. And I've heard his live show will blow you away.

Following him will be a new band called Satellites & Sirens. Cool synthy pop/rock. Great guys.

Then we have a comedian called Brother Preacher. Look him up on YouTube. Hilarious.

Then I will close out the night.

Sound like a fun tour? Does to me...

So, here's how we need your help:

In the comments section below, leave me your hometown (where you live, not where you were born...lol), the church that you go to and a list of a couple of other churches in your area that are known for doing shows. We want to come to you. So help us do that with just a little information.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

It's been almost a month

Figured it was time to let you guys know what's going on.

The deal is still waiting to be finalized. Gosh this thing has taken forever...I mean, it makes sense when you look at when it has been done - everyone has taken vacations while negotiating this deal, we finally get it done and then Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays happen. Haha...it's almost laughable how many breaks have come along during this negotiation. It is almost as if God is simply trying to teach me patience through this whole process. I mean, think about it: Originally, I was supposed to start recording January of 2009. It's only God's grace that I haven't gone insane.

However, to look at the bright side: the album I would've made in January of last year would NOT have been as good as the album is now. I think it would've been a good to really good album. But over the last year, the project has taken focus, I've figured out what I think I'm supposed to say, how I want to say it musically...and the songs are just better than they were then. Really, almost half the album has been written SINCE we started negotiating this deal. The album is a completely different thing than it was in May or June.

The Record Company I'm signing with has what many consider to be the best radio department in the CCM business. They've broken several acts in the last couple of years and have had great success with newer artists at radio. I am PUMPED to see what they do with my singles.

2010 is going to be busy for me, but not as busy out in the public as the last couple of years have been. We will be recording as soon as the deal is finished and will probably spend 3-4 months working on the record this time. The single, though, should come out in March or early April. I'm doing a small tour in March and April - probably 15-20 dates in 2 weeks spurts - with Andrew Witt, Satellites & Sirens, Dr. Preacher (a very funny comedian) and possibly Danyew! I'll have more on that tour to come.

Also, this year I have several tv and film possibilities coming up. My agents have been working hard and once I have more definite info I'll give it to you, but there are some cool things about to happen in that arena.

The summer will be a busy time of writing. I'm planning on being out in L.A. for part of the summer, writing with a ton of writers out there, and of course I'll be writing with a bunch of people here in Nashville. Since the album will probably be done at that point, I'll be able to relax a little leading into the album release and the Back to School Tour III.

So, the album will come out in early September, I think....obviously nothings definite until it's definite, but according to when the single will hopefully come out vs when the album will be done, etc...I'd guess early September. Just in time for the 3rd Annual Back To School tour.

The 3rd Annual Back to School Tour will go out in September/October again, then we will be doing a cool acoustic tour in November and then (hopefully) my 1st Chris Sligh Christmas tour in December. We'll probably only do 7-10 dates, but it will be cool to play some Christmas music.

So...that's how the next year is looking!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Another Song on Hold

"Till Somebody Loves You" has been put on hold by one of the bigger male country artist (who btw is up for a Grammy this year). Can't say who it is, but it's a big enough artist that I'm PUMPED that he might record the song!

The writing thing keeps going pretty well...let's hope this one gets cut. After 2 straight high profile holds and then passes ("love is Strong Enough" & "Wouldn't Change a Thing"), it'd be nice to see this one go all the way! Cross your fingers and pray!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


On Monday, I woke up bright and early and packed up a bunch of my guitars, amps, pedals and my computer and headed over to Steve Bishir's studio, where Jon Skaggs, Clint Milburn, Tommy Lee and I set up and spent 3 days recording rough demos of all the songs that will be on the record. The plan, as we went was to work out arrangements, rework arrangements as needed, and simply start to work through a pile of ideas of parts that everyone could play.

I was both excited and nervous as I headed in with MY band. It's unusual in this business to use your own players....in fact a lot of actual bands don't actually play on their albums...they hire session players to record for them. Obviously, when we play live it feels like we're really tight...but you never really know until you get into a room, play through songs and then listen back. Any nervousness I had has been wiped away. These guys are remarkable and after almost 2 years on the road together, we ended up being very tight as we listened back on tape. That's a good feeling. To play with guys that have become your friends and listen back and realize that, man, this sounds really good!

Anyway, we did a basic set up: all of us in one room, me playing electric guitar; Clint, of course, playing electric guitar (our amps were in isolation booths off to the side of the live room); Tommy on bass through a direct box straight into the system; and Jon on drums with just 4 mics set up (2 overheads, 1 on kick, 1 on snare). These aren't the real recording that will end up on the record, obviously...the goal was really just to get to hear how everything sounds and to come up with basic parts, as I said before.

On Monday, we took most of the morning getting everything set up and getting basic sounds. By about 11:30 we finally started working on our first song. One by one over Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we went through the 14 songs that would make up the album, plus the 2 songs that we plan on recording for iTunes exclusives...

I can't begin to tell you guys how excited I am about how everything is sounding. As we went through all the songs and worked out arrangements, I was so happy with several things:

1) The songs stand up. Sometimes when I demo something on my own, it just doesn't translate when you get real players playing it. I program stuff and play what's in my head...but when you get it out to other people, they don't have the affection for the song that I did. Maybe they just don't get it. Maybe they just don't like it. Maybe the song just stinks to begin with. But for some reason it doesn't work. Every song I thought worked ended up working with everyone playing.

2) We're not settling for "stock" parts and arrangements. The mantra throughout the whole 3 days was don't think like session players. Session players are the guys who play on most Christian records. Incredibly talented and perhaps WAY more talented than my guys (though I could argue they aren't). However, they play on different records every day of every week. Eventually, they develop a "thing" that they do and you know (for the most part) what you're getting with a certain player. As we worked this week, we really tried to treat the songs as a band would treat them...not how a session player would treat them. I know it sounds nominal, but the difference is phenomenal. My goal with this record is to create a record that stands up 20 years from now. Obviously, I want success on radio now...but I think you can make records that have radio hits while at the same time doing something interesting and different. And a lot of that comes back to how the players arrange their parts: how the drummer approaches his parts; how the bass player gets in the groove; how the guitar players parts interact with the rhythm section. Obviously we're just getting parts worked out, but what was encouraging was how the guys caught what I was going for immediately...

3) We have radio songs. Nothing is guaranteed with radio, obviously. But as we worked out arrangements, we were all struck with how commercial songs like "Only You Can Save", "In the Weak", "I'm Ready" and "One" ended up turning out. Even the demos just sounded like radio waiting to happen. That is exciting! We need radio to sell records...we need to sell records to get people to come out to shows (and THAT is the most important thing, of course!)

4) The diversity of this album is cool. The album has an overall "Sound"...probably most described as synthy pop rock. But we throw in some surprises. There's some acoustic stuff. Bells make an appearance. Choir pops up. String sections ranging from single cellos to quartets to a full string section will be on several songs. A banjo will probably be played on at least one song. Lots of little synth parts. I mean...I think this record is going to be so much ear candy it won't be funny! You will want to listen to this album on headphones!

So...all that to say: I'm pumped. I can't wait until we actually record these songs and you get this album in your hand and ears!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Till Somebody Loves You

Head over to myspace.com/chrisslighsongwriting to check out a new song I wrote with my friends Bryan Simpson and Wade Kirby. I like it a lot...it's called "Till Somebody Loves You".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Track by Track of For Your Entertainment

This is a track by track synopsis of the album...I'll give each song a grade on a scale of 1-10 and then the reasons why...then the overall grade.

1) Music Again 6/10
This song was written by The Darkness front man Justin Hawkins. Kinda silly lyric. "You make me wanna listen to music again". Hey, pop music is filled with stupid lyrics... In this case it sounds like Adam is harping every run and vocal trick that Justin did in the demo. However, the song sounds really good. And really Adam tones down the Broadway-ness that bothered me in his Idol run. I think this is a fun song. Thus 6/10. Not groundbreaking or revolutionary but fun. Entertaining.

2) For Your Entertainment 6.5/10
Interesting track...Dr. Luke and Claude Kelly. Sounds a bit like "I Kissed a Girl"...I really like the track a lot. Adam's voice is toned down and popped out, which is a good thing for pop music. The bridge has him doing some of his trademark squeels. Not my favorite thing, but impressive. As a pop hook, the song isn't that catchy or hooky. I'll be surprised if it's a big hit, but it could be simply off of the sound of the track alone. And his voice does sound good.

3) Whataya Want From Me 8.5/10
Pink donated this track. Sounds like a Pink song. Written with hitmaker Max Martin. This sounds really good. So far this is the highlight. I like the way the track sounds and the lyrics are typical Pink-type wanna be deep. And I mean that as a compliment...I actually enjoy Pink's writing a lot. Adam does some crazy vocal stuff at the end that kinda ruins it for me, but overall very strong. Nice song.

4) Strut 5/10
Written by Adam with Greg Wells (produced Katy Perry & One Republic) and Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. Um...what to say about this song. The track is kind of cool. Trying to be riffy rock, but the production and lyric takes it to this really poppy place that reeks of not rock. The lyric is beyond assinine. And I think I'm being kind with that assessment. The bridge is musically interesting...really the coolest part of the song. Then back to the wanna be riffy rock. Not a lot of good about this song. Pretty weak.

5) Soaked 9/10
Written by the lead singer of one of my favorite bands of all time: Muse's Matthew Bellamy. Really interesting Muse-ish intro. Adam's voice doesn't sound as cool as Matthew's...but then few do. He's trying hard to cop Matthew's vocals from the demo. This is the over the top retro pop/rock ballad that people are wanting from Adam after his time on Idol. Very baroque-type chord progressions that you expect from Muse. THIS is the song I want to hear Adam sing more of. Definitely the highlight so far in the album. His vocals are in check throughout this one...really really great performance.

6) Sure Fire Winners 5.5/10
Interesting club-like intro. Interesting production by Rob Cavallo. I like the sound of this but the song is just so-so. Adam is trying really hard to sell this song with an interesting vocal, but the song just isn't a great song. Feels lyrically and sounds like a wanna be "We are the Champions" type song. I really hope I never hear this at a football game. If you're downloading highlights only, leave this one off the list. It has it's interesting seconds, but is overall a loser.

7) A Loaded Smile 6.8/10
Written by hitmaker Linda Perry (producer of Pink's big records, Gwen Stefani, many more). I really like the moody/ethereal intro to this one. Very cool synth/guitar stuff. The chorus doesn't really lift or hook for me. It's an interesting song but as an enjoyable piece of pop music, it misses just a little bit. Beautiful song, though. Not a highlight, but FOR SURE not a low light. Good song. Adam's falsetto is quite nice on this one.

8. If I Had You 7/10
Another Max Martin creation. Max's tracks are always cool. But this one is very much style over substance. The chorus is catchy as crap, though. Very hooky, catchy chorus, though...so that makes up for what I think are weak choruses. The lyrics are typically stupid pop lyrics. Oh well...it's pop music. Maybe down the road Adam can write from his heart instead of trying consistently for pop anthems... The bridge is weak. Bridge's can make or break a song for me...in this case it pushed the grade a little lower, unfortunately. but man that chorus is ridiculously catchy. Disco beat plus catchy melodic chorus makes up for a lot of ills.

9. Pick You Up 6.2/10
This song came from Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo with additional writing from Greg Wells and Adam Lambert. This song is lyrically kinda stupid. Musically, it goes between really great and just okay. The chorus is kind of cool. The verses are so-so. Adam's voice sounds really really good on this song. But the song is just...so-so. I really want to like it better...maybe with time it'll grow on me...

10. Fever 7.2/10
This was a Lady Gaga creation. The synth work on the verses is really interesting. The track sounds really good. Adam is really going Broadway on these vocals. Not my favorite vocal of his on the record. But the song is pretty cool, actually. I really like the song itself and the way it sounds. And the lyric is kind of an interesting take on pop. Very cool, actually. But the vocals just grate on me on this song.

11. Sleepwalker 8/10
Ryan Tedder wrote this with a couple of big Nashville writers. I'm a big fan of Tedder's writing and production. Wow...vocally Adam sounds A LOT like Ryan Tedder on this one. You know, as good a singer as Adam is, I'm surprised at how many songwriter's vocal tics he adopts on these songs. This is an interesting song and, as always Tedder's tracks sound great. The synth pad he is using sounds a little dated, but that may have been a deliberate choice. Side note: Tedder's songs are obvious...he has such a style of his own. I have to admit that I think he's a pop genius. Call me a sell out, I don't care. I like Tedder's songwriting. I really like this song overall...not a highlight but strong. The guitar solo on the bridge and outro was a little over the top silly 80's for me without having the pinache of, say, Brian May...so that loses some points...

12. Aftermath 8/10
Adam wrote this with Ferras and a couple of other songwriters. Actually a really strong song. This gives me pause and gives me hope that as a songwriter, Adam will be able to find his own voice and write lyrics that say or mean something. Granted the other songwriters may have driven the boat on this, but overall this is a really strong song. Howard Benson's production on this one is one of the best on the record, especially as a rock record. Good song, good performance. This one actually rocks about as hard as pop/rock is allowed to rock (i.e., Daughtry & Nickelback). Big guitars on this one, toned down synth stuff...good sounding song.

13. Broken Open 7/10
Written by Adam, Greg Wells and a songwriting acquaintance of mine Kidd Bogart. Bogart actually did a few songs with Blake Lewis on the Idol tour, so I met him a few times...good guy. Anyway...the song. Really, really cool intro to the track. Very ethereal instrumentation. At the top of the song, his voice is soaked in reverb...nice programming on the first verse. Sounds like they're really trying to cop a Madonna type feel...or maybe ethereal/world music Sting. Actually interesting. One of the more interesting tracks on the record. There's some interesting samples and glitch editing on this song. Not a super strong song, but it gets points for being one of the most interesting on the record.

The album also includes a bonus track of his 2012 song Time For Miracles. I won't review that. it would take down the average. Not a fan of that song.

Anyway, overall I thought the album was relatively strong. One of the better post-Idol debuts for sure. I am looking forward to Adam's next album, if 19E doesn't pull its usual hit and run. Hopefully next time around, Adam is able to write more of the record and develop as an actual artist, not simply a puppet singing other people's songs. I think the listener wants to hear what Adam has to say...well, maybe.

So, my overall grade is: 7/10 (averaging all the song grades together)...I'd say that's about right. Strong, decent effort, but I'm looking forward to growth on his next record.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here's the Deal...

Well, the deal is finally done. We got everything worked out with everyone involved and are finally moved on to the long form. So, unless something crazy happens in the long form phase (which rarely if ever happens) then within a couple of weeks, this deal will be done officially, official announcements and press releases will be made and within a few weeks I'll be in a warm, cozy recording studio working on album #2...tentatively titled "All the Angles". For that I am very excited.

The album will still have 14 song plus musical interludes. Some songs have changed...here is the tentative track listing:

1. Intro/Naive
2. Losing My Faith
3. Only You Can Save
4. In the Weak
5. Taking It Back
6. Catching Up
7. Still You Love Me
8. Chasing Down a Name
9. Beginning/End
10. I'm Ready
11. Love is the Answer
12. One
13. Always You
14. Broken/Beautiful

Of the songs on there, the ones I don't think you've heard yet are Taking It Back, Still You Love Me, Love is the Answer and One. Taking It Back was written with Jason Walker and talks about being away from home as much as I am and how it affects relationship. Still You Love Me is song I wrote with Rebecca St. James that ended up not working for her record so I snatched it. It's one of my favorites on the record. I'm really excited about that song. We haven't talked about it yet, but my wish list includes getting Rebecca to come and do vocals on the songs with me (fingers crossed!). Love is the Answer was written with Jon Skaggs. We were just trying to write a cool but different rocker. And finally is One. One is a song I wrote with a guy from Atlanta named Travon Potts. It's really pop and really kinda cool...I'm excited about this one. Similar to the feel of Only You Can Save music wise. Lyrically it's a call for unity, forgiveness and love within the church.

Anyway, more news as it comes!

ETA: Hey I threw One up on myspace.com/chrisslighproductions 2nd song.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Much Needed

Well, we got home at noon on Monday after driving through the night from Enid, OK. We unloaded all of our crap and I proceeded to fall into bed and take a nap to make up for the hour and a half sleep driving all night in the van. I ended up sleeping for 6 hours. Guess I needed it.

On Tuesday I jumped right back into things...maybe a little too fast. Mitch and I caught up over lunch then I went straight to a writing session with a worship leader named Jon Abel. We wrote for a couple of hours and then he headed off and Sarah and I caught up on some tv shows we'd DVR'd during my absence. Glee is incredible. Mad Men is marvelous. And Survivor this year is really good. That's the basics.

Wednesday I went over and sang a couple of demos for a couple of writers named Wade Kirby and Bryan Simpson. One of the songs I co-wrote with them...called "Till Somebody Loves You". Really cool kinda Bryan Adams-esque lyric with a cool country tune. Then I sang a really cool song the two guys wrote together called "Everytime". It was really fun to sing on demos...but by the end of that 2 hour session I was tired. Just still lagging from the tour.

On Thursday morning, we headed to Mt. Vernon, IL to play a one-off show for a church there. The show went great. The crowd was surprisingly really into it. Sometimes smaller towns seem to have a harder time when we rock out, but for the most part the people were really into it! We combined new and old songs, playing the 3 new songs we debuted on the Back to School Tour II plus songs from our regular set list. It was a fun time...my voice barely held up...I think the 2 months on the tour and not enough sleep over the 2 days off didn't give my voice the chance to get back into 90 minute show shape.

So anyway, we got back yesterday afternoon and Jon Skaggs and I went and saw a movie together. Good fun.

Hopefully rest happens asap. Shows not until next weekend, so I've got some time!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back to School

Well, Back to School Tour Volume II is coming to an end. By the end we'll have played for over 15k people, played 25 shows put over 10k miles on the vuses and spent 2 months not getting enough sleep, trying to sleep in our sunks (by the way, we imagine that our vans are buses and our seats are bunks...so we call them vuses and sunks).

This tour has been awesome in a lot of respects. The Orlando show was unbelievable. It was incredible to be able to step away from the microphone and hear 1200 people singing "Empty Me" at the top of their lungs. I think Orlando was my favorite show, simply because with 1200 people stuffed into a room designed to hold 700 chairs...sooo much energy. They sang "Only You Can Save" louder than I could have ever imagined.

This tour has been fun. Aaron and I have gotten to know each other much better and have become friends. Everyone on tour has become so close. Having Meredith out was a lot of fun...she's out with Smitty now, so Lanae is back, it'll be good to see her again.

Anyway, overall this tour has been everything I hoped the 2nd year of it would be. Ultimately, we grew. More people this year. Bigger artists on the tour. More artists on the tour. We're just building this thing year by year.

Next year will be even bigger!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blake Lewis "Heartbreak On Vinyl"

Hey guys, you can listen to all of Blake Lewis's new album "Heartbreak on Vinyl" HERE

Take a listen. I'm about half way through the album and it sounds really, really good. He's singing better than ever, the beatboxing is at a minimum and the tracks sounds great! THIS is the album he needed to make the first time around. Yes! My boy is rocking it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where I Am At

So, I've received some questions pertaining to my deal...

So, I thought I'd let everyone know where I'm at. My explanation will contain some technical stuff, but it shouldn't be too hard to understand.

In May, after I left Brash (I asked out of my deal and they granted my request), I immediately started dealing with a major label (Christian major label tied in with a mainstream major label). Negotiations take more time than even I was prepared for. The reason why Idol contestant's signings are negotiated so quickly is that we negotiate for everyone before the season even starts...so once it's time to sign, there are no more negotiations. Brash was a small label, so our negotiations went extremely quickly (less than 2 weeks). So, I wasn't prepared that, when signing with a major, you are dealing with a behemoth that takes forever to do anything. It is seemingly impossible for a large label to do anything quickly because everything has to go through multiple and various channels.


We have the deal negotiated. The thing that we finally hung up on was publishing. My publishing is with Brentwood-benson/Universal (BB/U). The way my deal works, on outside writes I split 50/50 with BB/U (a basic publishing deal). On songs I record, I get 75/25 (called a co-pub). The way the 75/25 works is that I own my writer's share (I can't give that up) and then own half of the publishing share on those songs I record. What the new label is asking for is the share of the publishing that I own, so basically, songs I record instead of being 50/50 would become 50 me/25 BB/U / 25 to the new label.

This is a lot to give up, especially for someone who writes all the songs on their own albums. But after discussing and thinking things through, it's an okay compromise to make: if the major label does what it should, I'll sell WAY more records than if I simply put out a record on my own. It's give and take...so we agreed to that compromise. We actually agreed to that compromise about 7 weeks ago.

The hang up right now is we are figuring out who will account for said monies. The new label doesn't feel like they should have to do it. BB/U doesn't feel like they should have to do it. So, we're stuck between 2 behemoths not budging and have been for way too long. Eventually, someone will budge and the deal will FINALLY be done. We're hoping it's within the next couple of weeks...but we've been hoping for that for a while.

So, the deal is completely done...with the exception of who is accounting for the 25% of songs I record on my album. It's funny the silly things that deals get stuck on. We worked through hundreds of detailed points in a few short weeks and get stuck on something this simple. It is funny, but frustrating. So...hopefully this will be done as soon as possible.

I just wrote the song that I feel like completes the album yesterday. So the songs are ready and rearing to go. So....we'll see when we can finally get in the studio. As far as I know, it'll be as soon as the tour is over...finally.

That's where I am at.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Phil Wickham

All right, so I've talked about Phil Wickham before. He is one of my favorite artists and is simply incredible. Great songwriter. Great singer. Great everything. Right now, he has a deal on his website where you can download his new record 2 months before it's out in stores, plus you get an acoustic version of his record now, too. Plus you get the CD in the mail on release date and a t-shirt. All for $25. I just spent money on it. You should, too. Great, great record.


In retrospect

So, now that the fervor for this last blog has kinda died, I'd like to say this:

In mentioning what was going on with the Idols from my season, I was honest with what was going on, or my knowledge of what was going on with them. But, in living with the blog for the last days, I could see how it came across as condescending to their accomplishments after the show. I never want to push myself up by putting others down. It wasn't my intention with this blog but a few people pointed it out to me, and looking through that lens I can definitely see how it could come across that way.

My season of Idol will never get the props it deserves because it was completely thrown under the bus by Idol and 19E and because none of our season had the runaway success of a Kelly, Carrie or Chris. I know each of these people are innately talented...some just as miraculously good singers and others as more well-rounded musicians (i.e., ability to write, play an instrument, etc.). Others were blessed with other skills outside of just music, but never got the chance to showcase those.

I wish that some of my class of Idols had followed some of the advice I laid out. I truly believe there are 2 or 3 artists who never got the chance they should have. Not because they didn't work or didn't want to work. But I think they simply didn't know how to navigate some of these waters. Neither did I. I knew more than most, but I was lucky enough to have A-level management from the time in the midst of the tour that I got released from my Idol contract. And I have learned soooo much from them...

In my original post, I was trying to set up to this season's Idols, "Look, you probably know my name simply because of Idol, but you don't know that success isn't measured just by record sales anymore...let me lay out how I've been successful to let you know how you can be successful, too." It was never about patting myself on the back. It was never to brag to outside people about what I've done.

This isn't an apology, just an admission that I can see that I didn't give my season the props they deserved.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

To the Idols: A Realistic look at your career prospects

ETA: A lot of people have asked me why I wrote this blog. Honestly, I didn't realize that it was going to get as much interest as it already has by outsiders. I figured my blog readers would read it and I'd try to pass it on to the other top 10 Idols from this year through some of the guys I'd met from this season. The reason I wrote it is because I genuinely want for the Idols to read it, heed it and do well. Not everyone is trying for a career in the fashion I'm pointing out here...if the Idols want to do Broadway or acting or anything other than being a pop (inclusive of rock, r&b, etc) performer, this article/blog entry isn't for them....but if they are, this article has information I know to be invaluable. Some of it is info that I personally have not had to follow: when I moved to Nashville 8 days after tour ended, I had major management (for my genre) and a record deal basically in place (in the final negotiation stages). I also had a publishing deal in place (the company that got my Flatts' cut) and a booking agent picked out (and each of these cogs in the machine brought money to the table). I used my tour time to put all of these pieces in place. So, I haven't lived every single piece of it...and each situation is going to be different. But the basic premise involved with this article is true: if you work hard, you can and should be successful.

Secondly, this post aims at the top 10 members who have not been signed to 19E. We all know that those who have won or come in 2nd have failed, but they did have all the opportunities in the world coming off of Idol. My post is to the unsigned, lower ranking Idols.

On to the article...

So, American Idol Season 8 is officially finished. Last tour date done. People are moving home and for the next several years will try to move on. I believe that this season of Idol was one of the most talented, but if History repeats itself the majority of these Idols will do nothing in music and will be washes within 3 or 4 years. Not trying to be mean, just being real.

From my season of Idol, Jordin Sparks has an actual career. Blake probably should've but doesn't - though he does have a chance to connect in the dance world with his new music. ETA: I've been told that Melinda's first album was quite critically acclaimed and she is currently writing for her next record - sounds good. Lakisha just had a baby, but not much going on on the music front. Chris Richardson is writing a lot, but hasn't released more than a single so far. Phil has a chance to connect in the Christian market, but nothing is guaranteed. Sanjaya is...well, Sanjaya. Haley is in Texas doing something - not exactly sure if it involves music. Gina is putting together some new music, finally, 2 years later. And then there's me.

ETA: Someone brought up Jared Cotter (went home top 16 night my season) who had a big hit with Jay Sean called "Down". Props to him...my post was focusing on the top 10 of each season, but in reality, this success would put him to the top of our season - plus he has the hosting gig...Jared was one of those that was going to be successful no matter what - he got what Idol was and he got who he was.

If you look at Season 7, the odds are about the same. You've got Cook and Archuletta who are doing reasonably well. Then Castro who is signed to a major label. Michael Johns and Brooke have records out and have seen some chart success. Carly is now the frontwoman for Evanescence part 3.0. And the rest are trying to get something going.

So, how is it that the fat, not-so-great-looking guy who came in 10th place is the 2nd or 3rd most successful from his season and top 5 most successful over Season 6 & 7? The difference is pure drive and ambition and work ethic. I haven't had luck on my side. I haven't had a major label behind me yet (though that is about to happen). I haven't had 19E's help AT ALL. I have simply worked my tail off, been pro-active and worked on becoming better at my craft. Not that other people haven't worked...sure they've worked...but not on the right things in my estimation...and they've had an unrealistic view of what Idol can and will do for them.

Idol does not break new artists. It is a marketing machine for 19E to break their artists. They don't care about the ones who get away unless they make really really good (i.e., Jennifer Hudson and...well, that's it). It may sound cold, but the point of this is to rattle your brain and make you realize what is about to happen in your life.

So, my message to Season 8. You're not going to be successful. You're not going to be millionaires (with the exception of MAYBE Kris and Adam). You are going to struggle. No one will care about you. Those fans who've been asking for your autograph all tour long - 98% of them don't give a flying poo about you once next season of Idol starts. They're not going to buy your album when you put it out 2 years late. Chances are you'll never feel the rush of playing in front 10,000 people who care about you again. Your star is waning and remarkably quickly.

In other words, your days of being a star are over. But that's all right - so are mine. And I'm one of the most successful for my season of Idol. I'm not a star. Chances are I never again will be.

But here's what's awesome. I'm not a star. Few people know my name anymore. But I get to do music for a living. And I make a healthy living doing it. It's hard work. The late nights and early mornings sure do suck after a while. At 31 I wish I didn't have to travel in a van any more. But I did 137 shows last year. And that paid my bills and I even had some left over. And this year I'll do a few more shows than that. And that pays my bills with a little left over. And my writing career is helping me put money away. So...for those of us Idols who few care about any longer, there is hope.

Let me explain what needs to happen for you in the next few months.

First off: surround yourself with people who will be real with you. People who will tell you your music sucks, if it sucks. People who will tell you when you're being an idiot. People who will keep you grounded. But these same people also need to be the people whose shoulder you can cry on, who will encourage you when you do well and who will cheer for you. Your mom and dad are going to think everything you do is great, so they don't count. Get a manager who is someone who knows music and will challenge you when it's not quite good enough. Put together a team that loves you, cares for you...but will kick your butt when it needs to be kicked.

Secondly: Leave home and live WAY below your means. Move to a music city. L.A., New York or Nashville. Move there immediately. Don't wait for a record deal, because chances are you'll never have a record deal. Oh and when you move, get a crappy apartment that is cheap, cheap, cheap. You're not a rock star. You're a wanna be who happens to be more famous than most wanna bes are. Get a part time job with flexible hours that will help pay your bills...your tour savings will fly out of your bank account faster than you realize. $200k or whatever looks like a lot of money until you have to spend it. You need to finance your lifestyle and though a few gigs will pay big bucks most won't. So live WAY below your means. $200k now doesn't mean you will make remotely close to that next year.

Thirdly: Start booking yourself. CAA isn't going to book you. They don't care about you. Your deal with them is only because they have a deal with Idol. They care about the $100k gigs that Adam and Kris are getting right now. You're not going to get those. So, don't keep waiting for CAA to book you. They won't. Period. So, this is what you do: within the next 3 months pick 15 towns or cities within 5 hours of where you are and search the internet for their bar/music venues. Once you've found a couple in each town, pick up the phone and call them. Tell them who you are, tell them you're calling for yourself and that you want to play a show there in the next couple of months. Once you've put together a show in each of those 15 cities, you have yourself a tour. You won't make much money, so do it cheap...if you play an instrument go out solo. If you don't play, take out 1 player who can do what you want to do, and get him to work for cheap. Just so you have an idea, most of the time you should be able to get good players that will start with you for $100-150/show. You need merch to sell. You won't have music product yet - at least not new - so you need to have an array of GREAT t-shirts and gear. Cool designs that incorporate who you are as an artist. Don't get your mom to do the designs. Don't get your friends to make the t-shirts for cheap. Spend tour money on this stuff...it will pay back in spades. Cool gear = sales = people wearing your name on their chest = building a fan base. Once you've got shows booked and gear, get in a rental car and rock.

Fourthly: learn the freaking music business. Buy a book. Buy several books. Get Donald Passman's book All You Need to Know About the Music Business. Read it 3 times. Some of the info is dated, but it will genuinely help you understand why record labels are hurting and why you probably don't need a record label. Part of learning the music business is figuring out where you fit. I had mainstream major label deals offered, but studied and thought hard and figured out that the place I fit best in Christian music. For you it might be pop (though it should be understood that few artists - even major label artists - start off by jumping into the pop world...they usually start in smaller genre and work their way over to pop) or r&b...but study and figure out where your place is. If you're a white r&b dude, make sure there's a catch...there's already Robin Thicke... how is what you do different? We don't need another Robin Thicke or Justin Timberlake. If you try to be like them you'll always be considered simply a cheap American Idol rip off of said artists. And honestly that is the worst thing you can be - a cheap Idol take on something else.

Fifthly: once you've moved to a music town, find people to jam and write with. You may not be a writer now, but you have a voice and you need to be able to speak with your voice. What does that mean? find people who are better writers than you, write with them, even if it's a matter of you simply finding a melody that fits your voice...oh, and if they write the majority of the song, offer to give them more credit than just the normal 50%. People who know you'll take care of them will work hard to help you be better. At this point that is what you need more than anything else: people who will work hard to make you better.

Sixthly: Work, work, work, work, work. Period. You have to work. Nothing and I do mean nothing is going to be given to you. 19E is not going to come back around. They're done with you. The music business, for the most part, will treat you like an outsider. And they should. You are just a game show contestant who still needs to prove why you should be here. They don't know you've worked for years in clubs or worked as a songwriter or developed your piano skills amazingly - all they know is that you're a game show contestant who is more famous than them for doing nothing other than making it on a tv show. So, go out and prove to them why you belong by working harder than they do to be better.

Seventhly: Get into a studio and get music down asap. Even if it's just an EP. However, walk the wire of finding the balance between getting music out and shooting yourself in the foot. If you don't have the songs, don't record music just to have it. You will kill your career. But, on the other hand, you need to get music out asap. So...write good songs or find good songs quickly.

Eighthly: Be proactive. I've said it before, but it's important to get: nothing is going to be given to you. If you get a record deal now, you deserve it. Why? Because you will have had to work for it. You will have gotten it because you worked not because Idol worked. this is about you, now. You have the power to be successful. You are talented. You have a skill set that should be shared with the world. But you have to seize the reins of your career and do something with your skills.

ETA: I saw this somewhere else and knew my post was missing something -

Ninthly (and finally): Freaking love what you do. When you don't love this anymore, when the pain of travel and the hurt from non-success hurts more than the joy you feel when you rock people live, quit. Go get a "real job". Love what you do. Do what you love. Period.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back to School

Back to School Tour Version 2.0 is under way. And so far (2 shows in) it's been great.

Not just saying this: you want to see this tour. Everyone is rocking it. Lanae was out for the first 2 shows and she rocked it. Meredith is on for the next few shows. She'll rock it. Andrew is literally blowing people away. Just rocking it. People are blown away that this young kid -unsigned, mind you - is as good as he is. It's pretty awesome for me to watch people react to him. It's impressive. Aaron is, of course, great, playing songs from all 3 of his albums. The songs from his new album seem to go over great. And of course "My Savior My God" still blows people away.

My set is going great. I start off with 3 new songs (well, 2 new songs and a rewritten old song): "Naive" (rewritten! and more rocking!), "In the Weak" and "Only You Can Save". The first two shows may be a fluke, but "Only You Can Save" is going over incredibly well. The whole audience is singing along with the chorus, and it's pretty incredible for me to hear a new song being sung like that! My set list ultimately looks like this:

In the Weak
Only You Can Save
Something Beautiful
Let You Know
Empty Me

35 minutes of rock and roll (well, we hope!).

Anyway, after Aaron's set, we have a short worship time to end the concert. I don't want to give too much away, but this time is really, really cool and really, really special. Maybe simply because it's so different, we've received more comments on this than anything else...but it really is a cool, special time.

So...come out and see my 2nd annual Back to School Tour! Go to chrissligh.com for more info on where the tour is hitting close by you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Only You Can Save

Hey guys, I just wrote this song...and I'm really pumped about it. It feels like one of those special ones. I don't know if it's a huge single or anything, but message-wise, it's exactly what I want to say...go over to myspace.com/chrisslighproductions and listen to the first song up: "Only You Can Save"

Here are the lyrics...

Only You Can Save
words and music by Chris Sligh

I saw a man today, his whole world across his back
A living monument opposed to my success
I tried to look into his eyes as his shuffled past my car
Sweat beading on his skin, his clothes and hair a mess
As the light turned green and I pulled away, he slowly disappeared
Just a memory of another chance I failed to show your love here

I wanna love because you loved
I wanna give because you gave
I wanna reach my hand out to the lost
'Cause I know your hand will save
Yeah, only you can save...

Sometimes I have to wonder if I really want to know
The struggle and the pain that others feel
Do I want to hear the stories I see echoed in their eyes
Or is this love I say that I'm reflecting even real
As the light turns on inside my head and I slowly disappear
I steel myself cuz what you call for me is to show your love here...

I wanna love because you loved
I wanna give because you gave
I wanna reach my hands out to the lost
'Cause I know your hand will save
I wanna love just like you loved
I wanna give just like you gave
I wanna reach out with your hands
'Cause only you can save
Yeah, only you can save...

Only you can save...
Only you can save...
So let me be your hands...
So let me be your eyes...
Help me understand
That I'm your hands and feet hidden behind this frail human disguise...


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wouldn't Change a Thing

Well, you remember I let you guys hear a song called "Wouldn't Change a Thing" recently. Well, today we got the news that one of the biggest solo artists in Country music put it on hold! Hopefully, we'll follow up "Here Comes Goodbye" with another hit!

Exciting news!!!

Also, I recently did a session for some of my country songs and got 5 done. 1 of the rough demos is up on myspace.com/chrisslighsongwriting.

It should be the first one up...called "I'm Yours".

Back...Back in the Saddle Agiiii-hin

Sorry if the blog has felt neglected. Pretty much everything has been neglected, I guess. Just go nothing going on at the moment. A few shows here and there, but still waiting for this record deal to finally be done. Who knew a major label deal could possibly take this long. These are the guys that have been doing it for 50 years...you'd think they'd know how to get it done fast, huh? LOL...

Anyway...life is good. Follow on twitter..I do pop up there a little more often just b/c of the amount of words needed to put something together over there!

All right...new discussion!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Andrew Witt/Rough Draft

Well, some of you may have realized through my twitters that Rough Draft has broken up. Andrew (lead singer) recently came into town to start writing for their full length record and the more we talked and assimilated the information we had at hand - what labels were saying, what we both saw as strengths and weakness, etc. - and finally Andrew came to the decision that it was going to better to leave the band and go solo. It was a tough decision, but ultimately, I believe, the right one.

Andrew is 18 years old and is literally one of the most talented, awesomely creative kids I've ever been around. He has great song writing skills, as well as good instincts about what feels right in a co-writing session. He has a great voice that is literally progressing by the day and is a fine musician. I think he has a long and fruitful career ahead of him.

Anyway, all that to say that, this week, Andrew has been in town writing for a full length album that we will (hopefully) begin recording before the end of the year. I am PUMPED about the music we've been turning out. I don't have anything for you guys to hear yet, but know this: his record is going to be incredible.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Paula has left Idol...

I posted this over at twitter...thought I would post it over here with a little more comment...

Paula quit American Idol. I think probably more out of frustration than anything else...but she's gone and Fox has confirmed that she is gone. Ugly situation. I would imagine that Paula's move was of desperation, trying to get more money. But what I think she didn't realize is that Fox views Idol as bigger than anyone. Bigger than contestants. Bigger than judges (though the deal with Simon proves they value Simon a great deal). Bigger than Ryan.

I wrote up a jokey version of what I thought the conversation probably looked like over at twitter...here it is:

Paula: "If you don't pay me 1/10 of what you're paying Simon I'll walk...no, I'll dance away! I'll even choreograph it to be joyful!"

Fox: "Okay. Make sure to make a video of it and put it on youtube. Btw, we own youtube, too, so we'll be making money off u there, too."

Paula: {takes drink from coke cup, sighs as she stands up and claps her seal clap, single tears drip from each eye} Brilliant performance!

Fox: No, we're serious. We own youtube. And the video of you dancing away from Idol will seriously make us money."

Paula: {now frantic} Wait, you mean you're actually GOING to let ME leave?

FOX: {long dramatic pause}{in high-pitched voice} awk-weeeeeeerd.

I think that both Paula and Fox are making a huge mistake. Fox needs Paula...I think they underestimate the chemistry of the original 3 judges...and Paula needs Fox...I mean seriously did you guys see the Bravo series? She needs Idol.

I love Paula. The judges have nothing to do with the contestants with the exception of Paula. Paula actually cares for the contestants. She sees us as more than advertising dollars. And that was refreshing. To echo what Phil Stacey wrote in an earlier blog, I feel for the future contestants who don't get Paula's love.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Brad Paisley's American Saturday Night

This album is incredible. It's funny that for the writing that I do, I don't listen to a ton of country music. There's the more pop artists like Keith Urban and of course Flatts. But for the most part, I don't listen to a ton of "real" country music.

Brad Paisley's music is more traditional "twangy" country. But, man, his songs are so freaking good, it's just nearly impossible not to love his stuff...at least for me. I'm a sucker for good songwriting. I study it, learn and try to emulate as much as I can. Brad's albums are just clinics on great, emotional but not sappy songwriting. He also has a wittiness that unparalleled in most people's songwriting.

So check out this album...

Standouts: "Then", "The Pants", "You Do the Math" and "Anything Like Me"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wouldn't Change a Thing

Hey guys, head over to myspace.com/chrisslighsongwriting and check out the new song "Wouldn't Change a Thing". I really love this song...maybe because usually when I'm writing country music, it's more writing a story about someone else. This one is straight from my heart to Sarah.

I remember the hard times and am so thankful to have a wife that stuck by me when I was nothing and no one else believe in me. This song is for her. I think someone will make this a big hit on the country side. But ultimately, this is for Sarah.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What's Goin' On...

So, the last month and a half has been....well, odd. Weird. Different. Tough.

When I left Brash, I knew where I was going to go for my next record deal. I knew that was where I wanted to be and they wanted me to be there. And I still believe both of those things to be true. I just didn't know it was going to take so freaking long.

When Brash and I broke up, I was 2 weeks away from starting this record. Now, a month after I was supposed to start, well, I feel like I'm about to go stark-raving mad. I've never had so much creative energy just bundled up ready to pop out.

We have cut the album to 14 songs, plus a few instrumental interludes. Those 14 songs are in my opinion...well, incredible. Those that know me get that I'm not saying that in a cocky sort of way. I'm saying it in this sense: I truly believe that this album is the best work I have ever done. And I truly believe it may probably be the best work I'll ever do. So much pain and struggle has gone into making this album that I can't imagine ever topping this emotionally. And music, if done right, is 95% emotion. I'm warning you...if this album turns out how I think and hope and it will - how I hear it in my head - it's all downhill from here.

I am so ready to finally get in the studio and birth these songs into what they are meant to be. I'm pumped to get in the studio with some of my best friends and hash out arrangements and making sure every single note, every single beat, every single sound is exactly what it needs to be.

I think I told you guys this before, but this album will be branded as a band album. The credits will read:

Chris Sligh is...

Chris Sligh: lead vocals, keys, guitar
Clint Milburn: guitar, bgv's
Tommy Lee: bass, bgv's
Jon Skaggs: drums, percussion, loops, bgv's

So, obviously I'm excited about that. My band is making a record with me.

I'm excited to bring in guys like Jason Walker to do some piano stuff; Don Chapman will be coming in to do some strings stuff (this album will have a lot of strings); Blair Masters will hopefully come and do some keys stuff (he played on my last record); looks like Brown will be producing 3-4 songs.

The short of it is this: I'm pumped to make this record. I'm hoping to start by the end of the month. The songs are done. The guys are ready to rock. This project needs to be in your hands as soon as possible.

This album has been and I know will be life changing.

I hope it is for you, too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In the Weak

Check out myspace.com/chrisslighproductions - new song up called "In the Weak". I am really excited about this song. I wrote it with Meredith Andrews and it's going to be a perfect segue for me to talk about Compassion International in shows...plus I think the song ended up just really cool.

It's the first song when you navigate to the page...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I'm Ready

An older song that has been around for a long while, will be on the next album, I'm about 99.9% sure.  Especially with the arrangement I've worked on...everyone seems to be excited about this one...

Check out the demo at myspace.com/chrisslighproductions

Monday, June 08, 2009


...life changed for me. Not really sure why.  Not really sure how.  But I woke up yesterday and it finally clicked.  

I was an athlete my whole life.  I played basketball at a pretty good level in high school and college.  Ran track.  Tied the DOD high school record for the 200m my junior year.  I was athletic.  Then life after college happened.  I don't make excuses.  I ate the same as I always did - a lot - but without all the exercise to go along with it, weight gain happened.

Now, here I am at 31.  I took a stab at health a year ago.  But it didn't take.  I think in processing it now, it was because I was doing it for everyone else.  I wanted everyone to go "Wow, he lost weight".  I've never been good at doing what other people want me to do.  Just my character for some reason.

But yesterday I woke and it finally clicked.  I don't care if I lose weight.  I just want to be athletic again.  Obviously weight loss will probably happen if I'm becoming athletic.  But I want to enjoy athletic things again.  I want to go play basketball and be able to play more than 15 minutes.  I just want to enjoy more than music again.  I've worked really hard to be great at what I do...still working.  But I'm ready to focus on other things now. 

Like health.

So I woke up yesterday.  And I copied my dad.  In his late 30's my dad was fat.  He just decided one day he wanted to play basketball again.  So, one day, he just went out and ran as far as he possibly could before he collapsed.  Then he walked back home.  First day, he ran less than a quarter of a mile.  Within a year, he was running 5-6 miles a day 3-4 times a week.  And he got skinny.  But more importantly, he played basketball again.  With me.  

So, I'm starting a diet.  Not rigorous.  From all I've read lately, it's about doing things in steps.  I'm limiting myself to 2k or less calories a day.  Plus exercise.

Yesterday, I ran 1/3 of a mile and walked back home.  Embarrassing?  Yeah.  But only to myself.  Today I ran almost a half mile and walked back home.  And I should note that I'm running up and down hills here.  I'm tired.  

But it's a good tired.  'Cuz this is for me now.  Not anyone else.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Chris Sligh songwriting

Hey guys,

I've created a new myspace - /chrisslighsongwriting where I'll post new song demos as I write stuff that isn't necessarily for me.

I thought it be a cool thing to do to differentiate Chris Sligh productions and Chris Sligh artist stuff...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Requiem Update

So some of you have asked for an update on Requiem....here it is...

In talking with management and publishing, we decided to hold off on Requiem as a solo project right now.  Everyone feels like it's a bigger thing than just an add on to an album.  It took me a while to come around to that, but that thinking did allow me to dream a little bit and come up with a bigger plan and a bigger idea...an idea that we are following through with some meetings.

The idea is to now expand Requiem to be a multi-artist album in the vein of City on A Hill or My Utmost For His Highest.   The album would be 12 or so songs (including the 6 from Requiem), all based on liturgical texts.  Requiem would most likely end the album.  The 6 songs that are Requiem will feature several different artists, obviously including me.

For the first 6 or so songs of the record, we would go to different artists who catch the vision for this project and have them write songs based on other texts, or write songs straight from the texts.  Each song will likely feature more than one artist, even if an artist writes the song for themselves....this will be a community record.

The vision I have for this record is to approach the idea of writing worship music that is deeper both musically and lyrically than the normal "every day" worship music.  Plus basing it off of liturgical texts in the first place kind of gives it a different angle to begin with.

I had a meeting yesterday with a major producer who is becoming a friend.  We talked about the idea and he is excited about the whole thing.  We're getting together on Saturday to actually listen to the whole Requiem a couple of times, then talk about the project in this light and in light of him hearing the music.  

I really believe in this project and could see it being like that City on a Hill kind of thing...so hopefully we can start to see some project in the near future.  I have a feeling that with the right team around it, that it won't be a hard sell to some major artists and if the artists are on board, the labels should be easier (it's never easy LOL) to get on board.