Saturday, May 10, 2008

Some Thoughts...

Quite a few people have asked me why I decided to move more in the pop direction for the new album, away from the more alternative pop/rock of HPF Take a Chance, and I think it's a fair question that deserves an answer.

I listen and love tons of kinds of music.  My favorite artists are bands like MuteMath, Muse, Switchfoot, Relient K, My Chemical Romance, etc., but my favorite songwriters of all time are artists like Bebo Norman, Steven Curtis Chapman, James Taylor, Bryan Adams & Adam Duritz (of Counting Crows).  The thing about that is: my favorite songwriters are many times on the opposite end of the spectrum of my favorite music to listen to.  So, as all songwriters do, you try to figure out how to combine all your influences to make and amalgamation that is your own style.  

With HPF, I was in a band and we were a mainstream band that wanted to put on as exciting a show as possible, so songs like Hero, Closer, Tunnel Vision, Somewhere and Convenience ended up really working for what we wanted to do.  When we played a 30 minute opening set, we had the opportunity to rock out for 30 minutes straight.

Now, the goal for my solo career is to be at a place where Chris Sligh is identified as being a band show...but there are still times that I will be playing acoustic gigs.  After all, I am a solo artist.  I'm not a band.  On later albums, I'm hoping that I don't have the problem of having to worry about playing acoustic gigs, so my albums may be informed by that.  However, on this album, I knew that in trying to break me as an artist that I'd be playing acoustic gigs...thus, I needed songs that I could sell with just me and an acoustic guitar.  I'm sorry but none of the songs I mentioned the prior paragraph would work in that fashion.  I included several songs as it is (Love is Raining Down, Arise, Waiting For You, etc.) that do not really work acoustically...but I have enough of a song base that I can pull it off.

So, to answer the questions...the reason I went more pop has to do with being real in a live situation.  I'm a solo artist now.  Look for albums to come to definitely be a little edgier...but for now, I'm excited for and proud of the album I made, and I think it fits me perfectly for where I am at this point!

Another thing I've seen is people saying that they wish I'd shown more of my personality in my lyrics.  I would like to point out someone like John Mayer...Mr. Mayer is one of the funniest celebrities I've ever seen and in concert he jokes and tells stories and is hilarious.  But his music is deep and serious.  As a songwriter, I feel like that's my place.  There are few things in life I take seriously and those things are my relationship with Christ, my relationship with Sarah and music.  Period.  That's it.  I feel like I would be cheapening my vision for my artistry by writing "witty" or funny lyrics.  I want to write songs that meet people where they are for a lifetime, not just makes them laugh for a couple of seconds the first time they hear it ('cause let's be honest...once you've heard the joke, you've heard the joke - it's not as funny the next time around).

I hope that people listening to the album will enter in listening with an open mind.  Don't go in with preconceived notions of what I should be (funny, witty, etc.) because you won't get those things.  What I hope you get is an album full of killer songs that speak to your life like they came from mine.


IknowIam said...

Wow. I'm very glad you cleared that up for those questioners.

I have to say, Chris. "I'm Clean" is my favorite on your album. It describes exactly the feeling of assurance in Christ. No matter how wretched I am...I know that I'm cleaned through Jesus' grace and mercy shown on the cross. It's very touching for me....And I'm glad that you take your relationship with Christ seriously. As most in mainstream Christianity (Joel Osteen) sees it as one big money maker....God bless you.


P.S I sent you a myspace message that I think you'd really appreciate...Please check it out.


gdahimself said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
risalea said...

That's interesting that some think your lyrics should be funny or witty. I think you've got that covered in your interviews. : ) I'm very excited to be presenting the CD's to the kids at church tomorrow. The lyrics of your songs are what motivated me to make sure they had your CD in their hands.

And on another note, should we be mentioning it to store managers if we don't find the CD when we're out looking? For instance, I saw a super nice endcap display at Mardel's (that's a large Christian/educational store owned by the folks who own Hobby Lobby for those not familiar with it). But I couldn't find it at my area Walmart or Target. I don't want to do the wrong thing, but I was aggravated to see Phil there and not you. (not that I don't love Phil...I just want to see both of you guys out there.)

Have a great weekend in CA! What an honor to be receiving an award. Dang it, I was a week too early there! Take care, Risa

risalea said...

Hey, GDA! I was thinking last night I hadn't seen you around much late. So howdy!

Badpacifist said...

Real men respect men who love their God and their wife. Inside we all want to be the honorable hero and you just can't do that without honor. You also have a bonus where you can love your job....most of the time.
BTW went to the David Cook show at his High School. 10,000 at just that show and he played downtown too. You can't hide from who you are and around here he and his family are well known. Even if he had no talent I can assure you he is someone very respectable too.

Carrie said...

I remember being a little disappointed some of the HPF songs didn't make the album, but I'm not upset because I still have had the chance to hear them on at least one CD as it is, so I consider myself lucky.

I'm also glad you have more serious lyrics because yeah, you're pretty crazy sometimes, but your lyrics show that not everything in life is a joke. They're just more powerful that way.

Carrie said...

oh PS; I'll give you a pass this time since I'm going to Nashville to see your concert, but by next year I expect you to be well-known enough that I get a Buffalo concert. ;) Haha.

gdahimself said...

The hope is, whether by a fan or a new listener, they will approach any creative work without be judgmental.
The unhappy reality is that people are almost always going to have some preconceived notions based on the previous recording(s). There is a certain expectation that there will be some continuity with growth or variation.

That is the risk of a working musician growing up in public.

External to the blog, the songs and how they are performed, will make it on face value.

You have entered the fray better equipped than most.

Howdy Risa

Chuck said...

Really enjoy your music. Great message!! Heard it on the radio recently and started investigating and found out you are a Christian. You were my fav when you were on Idol and it was great to hear you on the Christian Station here in Des Moines. If you ever get through here we have a progressive Lutheran Church that has a great new 2500 seat place for music. Pretty non-traditional church that has grown from 20 to over 10,000 in 15 years. The place is on fire! Just had Avalon and anticipate more Christian artists soon. You are perfect for our church! Keep us in mind! mcadvantages@hotmail.comjf

The Gang's All Here! said...

did you hear that bryan adams is starting an all acoustic tour this summer?! wooo hooo!

the kids heard you on the radio the other day - good stuff!

chamilton said...

I have to tell you, The album is just great and I like it more than the HPF CD. It sounds alot cleaner and I love Vessel it is becoming I think my favorite song on the CD I is hard to choose. I went today to do some shopping and the Wal Mart in Derby Kansas is selling the CD. I bought the last one in the store today for my 10 year old because he loves it too and he is not getting mine. Chris I don't think you should explain yourself so much because some people are always going to be critical of what someone else has done and as an artist you are allowed to express yourself any way you are feeling. You keep doing what feels right for you and I for one will keep buying it.

bmorebamma said...

hey vessel is my fave i hope it gets some airplay. it may be the last track on the cd but it's not the least for sure, and it seams to always bring a tear in my eye.

Anonymous said...

I haven't posted in forever >.< but as everyone else has said, the album is amazing <3

I'm surprised people asked that about your lyrics. I guess they must not know much about the type of writer you are.

rosalee said...

Hey Bmore -
Are you coming to the picnic?

risalea said...

And Tawny, what's your status as well? And GDA, what aboutyou? Hope to see you in July! Risa

DJ in AL said...


So um, who are all these critics? Not sure I know where this came from, so I'm guessing maybe I missed something? Anyway cause I love throwing out my 2 cents- I loved the first album don't get me wrong, it was afterall my first Chris Sligh album, but RBTY in my opinion is much better. IMO based on how you conduct yourself in public and online, I think it is very representative of who you are as a Christian, a man, a husband and an artist. Your personality comes shining through in all of these songs. Your comedic side comes across in other places, in your interviews, your interaction with your fans, etc. Listen, you just keep doing what you are doing, let the critics think what they will, as they will anyway.

Have a good week!

Teri said...

I got your album for Mother's Day...the best gift ever....and Rocket Dog flip flops...way cool! But I agree w/Norman Your "I'm Clean" lyrics are so biblically accurate(bravo)and speak to people about Jesus's love and grace. I've loved Empty Me for months and appreciate that you stayed true to who are and your struggles and don't sell out. I love your CD! Thanks for the explanation....for them.