Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Picnic

Just wanted to give you guys an official announcement. There will be more details coming, but we have a date: July 5, 2008. So, plan on coming into Nashville for that weekend. Yes, it is July 4 weekend, making it that much easier for you and your friends and family and extended family and in-laws to make their way to Nash-vegas, Tennessee!

More details to come. But you can check out for more information.

Friday, January 11, 2008

An Open Letter To this Year's Top 24

In January of last year, I flew out to L.A. to the dreaded Long Walk down the Wooded Floor to the judges. I was so nervous. But as soon as I saw Phil come out and making it through, I was okay. I went up the elevator, walked down the walkway and as I sat down, said, "You're probably wondering why I called this meeting" which immediately roused laughs from the judges that they never really recovered from. They tried to keep a straight face, but the smiles they had told me that my comment just solidified in their minds why they had chosen me in the first place.

I was in the top 24! One of the best days of my life. I knew that I would have a chance in front of America.

But then my thoughts were, what now?

So, this is my open letter to this year's top 24.

Dear contestants,

Since I was 10th place last year, it's doubtful I'll be a featured guest on Idol this year. So, hopefully, this will get syndicated to several Idol websites, so that you can read it, since I know, like I did last year, you're all reading all the websites, just waiting with great anticipation for the first mentions of your names! So, here we go...

In a week or so, the show will start and one by one, your auditions will be shown and people will start fan clubs for you and everyone in America will have a vague recognition of who you are. People will begin to ask you to sign autographs in your hometown; when you fly out to L.A. again and again, in airports, people will stop and stare and whisper and ask you for autographs; people will screech to a halt on La Cienega, get out of their cars and ask for your autograph; you will have people buy you free meals Soak it in, enjoy it, and make sure to journal so that you never forget all the things that happened. These will be, for many of you, the highlight of your lives and careers.

However on the other side, don't let it go to your head. Unwittingly, I allowed myself to buy into the hype. I don't think I was the typical butthole, I still cared about people and wanted to do right by people back home and my band...but I bought into the hype and my head grew and that is my greatest regret, especially since I have a large cranium to begin with. Don't leave this experience with any regret, certainly not that one. Be confident, be in control of your career and your life, but do NOT allow yourself to think of yourself as anyone or anything other than what you were before this were a wanna-be and still are. Even if you win, you are still a wanna-be. Two of the most humble people I've ever met are Carrie and Kelly...for all their success, for their winning, still act as the people they were when they started. That's the attitude America will fall in love with long-term. It's the attitude you should try to cultivate in yourself.

On the realistic side, 14 of you will not make the tour. 4 of you will be gone the first week America votes for you. And, the way the competition works, only one of you will win. Please read the next few lines and take them to heart:

The position you go out on is not indicative of your talent; it is not indicative of your like-ability...all that it means is how well you and your character worked on a tv show. The most talented person doesn't win every year, and neither does the best singer. If you go home the first week, treasure the experience and continue to plug away. I promise life will be more meaningful that way. Do not by any means second guess and become bitter. American Idol is an experience that only 168 people (plus your 24) thus far have been able to enjoy at the level you're at now. Take that and put it in your hat...of the nearly 600,000 people who have auditioned, you are part of less that 200!

Song choice is key. Do not make the mistake I made. I specifically chose songs that no one knew because I wanted to be the anti-Idol. Be yourself, but pick some freaking songs that people can sing along with. I've realized that's why people watch the show in the first place...they want to hear someone who isn't polished sing a song they like and can sing along with. Oh, and they watch to hear Randy say dawg alot, to see Paula act loopy and to hear Simon's crap. But they like to sing along, too.

Make these people your best friends in the world. Sure, they are competition, but they are also people. People always come before everything else. Make sure you act in a way that, even if you are the winner, allows you to remain friends with people who you beat out. My season's cast were all close to each other because all of us had the mentality of people coming first. We helped each other with song choice (Blake helped me feel comfortable with picking Typical, I helped him pick Somewhere Only We Know, I originally had picked the Jamiroquai song, but gave it to Blake because I thought he would do it better, I helped Phil pick out some of his songs, Phil helped Blake country week, Melinda helped Jordin) we all looked out for each other, and as the production crew will tell you, it was the most fun a cast had had. Have the same year we had! Have fun, enjoy each other. People before competition. Always.

Love your vocal coaches. Byrd and Dorian are the best. And Michael O. and Matt are incredible accompanist. Make sure you show your love to them...they will make you better. I promise.

Nigel and Ken are on your sides. It may not seem like it at times, but they are trying to look out for you. Sometimes they will do stuff that will be maddening for you, but look at it like parents...they are simply trying to help you make good decisions. And let them know how much you appreciate them allowing you to be part of the show.

Oh, and Seacrest...seriously, the coolest guy in showbiz. You are lucky to be working with him.

When it comes to the judges, remember they are trying to get people to watch the show. However, as the judges said on Oprah last year, they watch dress rehearsal because they can't hear in the performance. So, now that you know that, make sure your dress rehearsal kicks butt! Normally, Randy is pretty on. Paula is so sweet that it's hard to get made at what she says. And Simon...well, Simon goes for the ratings, but he's usually somewhat block him out when he goes overboard.

Almost done...but do yourself a favor: when the producers tell you to stay off the boards, I promise you they're telling you the truth. The forums and blogs were a great way, I thought, to keep up with the pulse of what people thought. Instead it just made me attempt to please everyone I could and I ended up alienating many. Don't make the mistake I did. Do this and you will enjoy the experience so much more (It's what I did the last 2 weeks I was there): have a friend who you trust and love be the person who goes through a looks at the forums and blogs. Have that person email you either snippets of things for you to read, or links. And make a promise to yourself to only look at what your friend sends you. If you listen to anything I say here, listen to this! You will not be disappointed by the crap you missed while you were on the show.

Finally, be in control of your careers. American Idol was made to create careers in music. And not just for the winners. Being in the top 10 can be a launchpad for anyone. Look at our season and season can be successful. But, remember, this is YOUR career. Research, research, research. Find out what is going to be the best decision for your career. You don't need a major label to make a career. But you might want a major label. It all depends. Just be in control and do not believe everything 19 tells you. Remember that 19 is a business and they are looking out for number one...but if you make the top 10, they are also going to take great care of you. Walk the fine line of loving them and being wary of them.

To end, simply enjoy will be the best experience of your lives!

Peace and love,
Chris Sligh

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

If You Didn't Love Me

Phil Stacey's first single officially went to radio yesterday. And, guess what? It's freaking awesome!


  • I don't care if you don't listen to Country, get your rear ends on the phone and call the local Country Station at least once today and ask them to play the song. The Fro Patro' goal between now and April is to help that song get to #1 on the Country charts!

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Top Albums of 2007

    Honestly this year was a weird year in that not a lot of albums really caught my eye from this year. A lot of albums came out but not a lot of albums from this calendar year blew me away like MuteMath or Muse or My Chemical Romance did in years past. So instead of albums that came out this year (as I did last year) I'll talk about the top albums that I DISCOVERED this year.

    1. Frou Frou - Details
    I have talked about Imogen Heap for a long time. Ms. Heap is odd in the fact that she was a somewhat successful solo artist, then formed a band (Frou Frou) then went solo again. I first heard Imogen's voice on the Shrek 2 soundtrack (hey, I bought it for the Counting Crows song) as Frou Frou performed "Holding Out for a Hero" and I fell in love. I didn't know who they were. Then I discovered Imogen Heap and figured out it was the same singer and then bought this album. I was a little worried because I bought it without listening to the whole album...but needless to say, I was not disappointed. This ended up being my favorite record of what I discovered this year. Imogen Heaps' distinctive alto and Guy Sigsworth distinctive electro-pop production as well as killer songwriting and amazingly earnest lyrics make this album a keeper. Even if you don't like electro-pop, you will like this album. Every song is beautifully written and perfectly produced. Buy this one today.

    2. Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
    Great songs. Great hooks. Great playing. Great sounding record. See my review from earlier this year.

    3. Derek Webb - The Ringing Bell
    Derek was what made Caedmon's Call great, I always thought. His earnest, open, broken-hearted songwriting always seemed to hit me just right. Then he got married and left the band and felt called to being the reincarnation of Keith Green, calling the church out for its crap...constantly. Honestly, it got kind of old. I wanted to hear him sing love songs and deep lyrics again. Plus, from a musical standpoint, he got more and more "out there" and for me it wasn't good "out there". I had kind of written him off. Then, a good friend of mine Mike Snyder told me to check it out, so I bought the record and could not stop listening to it. It's Beatle-esque and pop and roots and folky and experimental all rolled up in one. Easily my favorite record from the Christian music industry from this year. Great, great album. Go listen, then buy.

    4. Blake Lewis - Audio Day Dream
    A year ago, when I came home from Hollywood, I told my wife that only one guy really stood out as major competition...sure there were other great singers, but to me Blake was the best guy this year. And, of course, my prediction turned out correctly...Blake was the #1 guy this season and went on to make an album he wanted to make. There are mis-steps on the album, I think, but overall this is one of the best Idol albums, if not the best yet (stiff competition with Daughtry's debut). If the label picks the right singles, the album should have life and I predict the album will do incredibly well in Europe. I am just cheering for my friend to do well. Songs like "Know My Name", "1000 Miles" and "How Many Words" show his songwriting ability and ear for catchy hooks, while the prom song of the century "End of the World" just makes the BoyzIIMen fan deep in me come out and sing along.

    5. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
    I enjoyed 3 songs on FOB's first album. The rest of the album just was not my cup of tea. Right as my American Idol experience was starting to ramp up - I'd made the top 40 but didn't know about the top 24 yet - I heard "This Ain't a Scene" on the radio while driving in an Idol-driven car. And I flipped. I thought it was one of the coolest songs I'd heard in a while. So, immediately when the album came out in February, I bought the album and it was one of those albums that I listened to almost non-stop. I have great memories of Blake and I sitting in our hotel room on La Cienega listening to this album, talking about wanting to just make it to tour. So, not only is it great music, but there's some good memories along with it. Anyway, every song on this album is a step up from the last album. The album sounds great and Patrick Stump's vocals are fantastic.

    6. Brandi Carlile - The Story
    One of the most distinctive female voices in the music business ever, in my opinion. She sings and screams and squeels her way to making you feel every heartbreak and every joy she has ever felt. The Story should be included in lists of best-written songs ever as musically and emotionally, Brandi's voice takes you on a journey that you believe and feel through to your heart.

    7. Kevin Max - The Blood
    Take away my duet with my musical hero and this album is still one of the best of 2007. Kevin dug deep and made a great roots record that had some of the coolest duets in years. This is a great album. Go buy it today. I don't make a cent off it, so I'm not telling you to buy to make me rich. I'm telling you to buy it because it's a great freaking album.

    8 Graham Colton Band - Here Right Now
    I have been a GCB fan for a while. I discovered them when they were an indie band and have kept up with them since. I was somewhat disappointed with the band's label debut, though I did enjoy it a lot. So, when I heard that Graham was working with John Fields (Switchfoot) on this record, I had high hopes. I wasn't disappointed. This album is a little more pop to his first 2 album's alt-country-rock, but the pop/rock works. Graham's a good songwriter and the production is for the most part spot on.

    9. Steven Curtis Chapman - This Moment
    Steven seemed to have lost his mojo for a while there. Really, Declaration was the last album of his that hit me. The last two just didn't do anything for me...just seemed like a rehash of what he's always done. However, "This Moment" seems to have Steven back to doing what he does best, only sounding somewhat fresher. Sure, it's nothing new, especially for Steven, but the album's songwriting is great and feels fresh for the first time in a long time.

    10. Jordin Sparks - Jordin Sparks
    I wish that the album had shown off her voice more because I've been there hearing her SANG. This album, though, is a warm up for what I think will be a very long and fruitful career. Songs like "No Air" and "Tattoo" will give the album life on the sales charts while songs like "Permanent Monday" and "Freeze" show maturity beyond her 17 years (now 18 years).

    Honorable Mention: Mercy Me - All That Is Within Me
    Best album since their debut. "God With Us" will be up for song of the year.

    EDIT: And one album that I literally just discovered...Elevator Musik from Victory Fellowship in New Orleans. The best worship album I've ever heard. It features Paul Meany from MuteMath leading's amazing. Go to and find the shop...they have it for sale.