Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Empty Me: the Video

So, for a while, we've been trying to figure out what to do for a video on "Empty Me.  The song is a special song to me, and as we've been out on the road, we've seen how special it is to so many people, that I knew the treatment of the video needed to be something cool and special.  We've finally figured out how to do it.

You, my friends, can star in my first music video!

We want for you to video yourself in an interesting situation (in front of the White House, in the airport or on a plane - be creative) lip-syncing to "Empty Me".  It doesn't matter the quality of the video: use your cell phone, or use professional quality stuff, if you have it!  Just make sure you have the actual song playing either through headphones or over a sound system to make sure your lip syncing lines up with the actual song.

First off....because we want to make it as easy as possible for you guys, we are asking (depending on what letter your last name starts with) you to do 35-second clips of the song.  Secondly, we're doing this because it will make file sizes smaller.  So...you can totally do the whole song if you'd like to, but it might make more sense for you to do a couple or three 35 second clips.

So, here's the breakdown of names and what 35 second clips you'll do:

A-C - 0:00-0:35 (start of song until "to see how it gets in the blood")
D-F - 0:30-1:05 ("I've tasted my share" until "Empty Me" of 1st chorus)
G-I - 1:00 - 1:35 (full 1st chorus)
J-L - 1:30 - 2:05 (full 2nd verse - "I've seen just enough...")
M-O - 2:00 - 2:35 (full 2nd chorus plus 1st "everything is a lesser thing" from bridge)
P-R - 2:30-3:05 (full bridge - starts with "everything is a lesser thing" - plus guitar solo - DO A CRAZY AIR GUITAR SOLO!)
S-V - 3:00-3:35 (quiet chorus until 1st "empty me of me so I can be" of last chorus)
W-Z - 3:30-4:05 (first "empty me of me so I can be" of last chorus until the end of the song - MAKE SURE TO MAKE THOSE HIGH NOTES AT THE END LOOK AS PAINFUL AS POSSIBLE!)

So...the key to this is going to be your creativity...do crazy things and you WILL end up featured in my first video!

To send it, you will need to use a website called yousendit.com.  The site is pretty self explanatory...you simply upload your file and send it this email address: emptymevideo@gmail.com. 

You need to have your video submission in by October 24 to be in the video!

Now, get to work and thanks for your help in this...I think it's gonna be pretty awesome!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Colorado, Colorado!

We spent 3 days in CO.  Actually, I'm still here...leave bright and early tomorrow morning.  I'm an idiot and still awake.  Been suffering from insomnia lately.  Not sure why.  Just can't sleep.  Feel like crap all the time, but still can't sleep.  Hopefully that passes soon.  I've been told that sleeping pills are an artist's best friend...I might have to go to the doctor to see.  I'm so freaking tired, but can't sleep.  Got so much on my mind, trying to process.

So, what's been up?

Let's see...of course, I did the Requiem.  Been listening to that a lot, trying to figure out ways to make it better.  Also been discussing out how to get the Requiem out there.  I thought I might like to put it at the end of the next album, but I'm second guessing that.  The next album is kind of going in a very poppy direction ("Hands Up" and "Love Remains" prime examples) and I'm not sure Requiem will fit on that record, even separated at the end of the album.   So, we've talked briefly about possibly releasing Requiem as a separate EP on it's own.  I mean, it's 6 songs, 26 minutes...maybe throw a couple more sacred songs on there and it's a good sell...maybe something to tide everyone over till the next album...which may be a while.  Anyway...that's one thing on my mind.

So, not sure if any of you ever read or heard about a novel I was writing long before Idol happened called Locks, Stocks and Sylvia Romero.  Well, it has sat untouched for almost 2 years now.  I recently started working on it again.  (For those that don't know)  The novel is probably going to end up more like a novella.  It's kinda like a bit like a Chuck Palahniuk novel (Fight Club) or like a novelized version of a Coen Brothers movie.   It's zany, weird, character-driven, funny and, in the end, will (hopefully) have gravity to it.  Before Idol I had written 12 chapters (short chapters, but I digress), so I recently started working on chapter 13.  Soon, chapter 14 will come.  So...that's been on my mind.

I'm still working on the screenplay idea I talked about a while back.  In fact, October is a slower month for me, show-wise, so I'm going to spend a good deal of time working on the script.  I have finished the treatment and the scene outline both...so it should be easier to work on a script now.  I think this script has real potential to be really funny.  We'll see...

In October, it looks like I'll be meeting with some new agents for the acting side of things.  My management and I think that tv/film could be a great avenue to put me in...but we need an agent to work for me.  CAA was the agency I was with, but as I started to book shows, we realized quickly that they simply didn't catch the vision for what I wanted to do, so we moved over to Third Coast Agency for my personal booking.  They are so great and they've worked their tails off for me...but they don't have a theatrical/movie/tv side.  So, we're looking at some agencies for that.

In October, Gina will be coming into town to stay with Sarah and me for 5 days.  We'll be spending every day in writing sessions with some of the guys I've written with over the last few months.  Gina's finally beginning to work on a record.  I'm hoping to be able to produce some of her record, too...so we'll see what happens with that.

We're still working hard on the tour for next year.  We're looking at a 5 artist co-headlining tour.  5 artists that are up and comers will go out together, and change off every night who closes the night.  If we can work it out, it's gonna be cool.  Really cool.

In November, of course, we have the Chris Sligh STRIPPED tour.  If you can make one of these shows, make sure to make it...they're gonna be cool.  Jason, Jon and I will be doing a stripped down acoustic show that I think has the possibility to be really, really cool.

The day after Thanksgiving, I start out on the NewSong Christmas tour.  It's NewSong, Rush of Fools, Ayesha Woods and me!  Should be great.  I'll be sleeping on a bus again!  Thank God!  I'm so tired of driving in a van or SUV!  That tour is 15 dates up until Dec. 21.

So, because of the tour, I'll be going into the studio in October to record a Christmas song or 2 to sell out on the road.  So...another thing on my mind.

So, life is busy.  But life is good.

And, we're back to where we started.  I'm in Colorado.  And it is freaking beautiful.  How anyone could believe this just exploded into being, I don't know.  I look at Colorado and know that there must be a Creator.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Downhere - Ending Is Beginning

You must, must, must check out this album.

Downhere is a Canadian band transplanted to Nashville.  They're one of my favorite bands ever...one of my biggest influences.   You'll hear that immediately when you hear this album.  It just came out today and it is their best work yet.

I was up till after midnight listening to it this morning!  It's melodic pop/rock with inspirational, well-written, non-cheesy lyrics.  If you like Chris Sligh, you will LOVE this album.

Go now and you can thank me later!

State of the Union

Well, the Chris Sligh First Annual Back to School tour is coming to a close.  We've had some really, really good nights.  We've had some okay nights.  We made some brilliant decisions, we made a few rookie decisions.  But...overall the B2S tour has been a HUGE success.

It will end up being 30 shows.  We've averaged about 350 a night, overall (about 250 on ticketed nights - some shows were given free).  We had some really big nights, attendance-wise.  We had a couple of nights that were less than 100.

What I have to remind myself is that I'm a new artist.  I'm on my first headlining tour...though I'd love to see thousands of people flock to the shows, I simply have to be patient as I build this thing from the ground up.  However, management and booking and my whole team is extremely encouraged by how well this little experimental tour went.  We definitely will be having the 2nd annual Back to School tour next year!

One rookie mistake we made was putting the tour in August and September.  Apparently, the Christian music industry has a couple of dead times - Christmas (unless you're on a big Christmas tour - more on that later) and August.  Oops.  Little did I know.  So, I booked 21 shows in August - 17 of those headlining shows!  Haha...rookie mistake.

Another rookie mistake was taking crazy-butt drives between shows.  Kansas City to Greenville, SC?!!!  Stupid!  We will try to keep those shows to a minimum.  When I get no sleep, my voice sounds like poop!

Overall, though, the band played GREAT every night.  We had Jason Walker out for about half the shows and he killed it every night!  We got tighter in friendships and that was great.

So...what's going on in the near future.

Well...first of all, October is a slow month show-wise.  But I am writing a ton.  Along with the 7 shows on the books right now, I have 8 writing sessions, and will be adding more.  I have about 20 songs that I've written that have not yet been demo-ed, so I'll be, hopefully, getting a lot of demo work done.

November is filling up.  We have the Chris Sligh STRIPPED tour, with me, Jon Skaggs and Jason Walker that is up to 10 shows now.  We also will have a couple of full band shows.

One exciting bit of news is this: I'll be going out on the NewSong Christmas tour!  It's NewSong (of course), Rush of Fools, me and special guest Ayesha Woods.  We'll be doing 15 shows starting the day after Thanksgiving until December 21!  Yay!!!  I get to sleep on a bus again!  No driving ourselves!  Roadies!!! YAY!!!

Seriously, though, it's gonna be awesome...more on those dates later!

Also, it looks as though in January through March I'll be on a massive tour for like 35-40 dates...we're still working on details, but if it works out...this tour is going to be awesome!

Then, in March-June, I'm working on building my own tour to own, featuring myself and 3-4 other up and coming artists.  Not sure how this will work yet, but if it works out like I have it in my brain, it's going to be cool.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


So, I've been a little vacant from the blog.  There's no reason to send out search parties or anything.  Just very busy.

Even when I'm home, I'm working a lot.  Though, I have taken some time to catch up on some of my favorite tv shows, as well as discovering some new stuff.

However, the real reason I've been absent from the blog is I've been working on songs for the next album.  Specifically, a song set called Requiem that I think will be at the end of my next album.

When I was in college and studied music, one thing that almost every composer of note worked on was a Requiem mass.  Schubert, Verdi, Mozart, Beethoven...the list goes on.  All of them worked on Requiem masses.  In the 20th century composers like Rutter have composed their own - more modern, albeit - versions of the Requiem.  So, in college I always had my sights set on composing my own Requiem.

As I've become a composer of sorts in the pop/rock genre, I have been mulling for a while over the idea of composing a pop/rock Requiem set in English instead of Latin and combine it with classical elements.

So, I took the Latin text, found the best translation of the text and then either adapted the text to being a lyric or wrote a song based on the text.  I've spent about 3 months mulling over how to pull it off, and then actually started writing the songs about a month ago.  When I got home, last week, I went to work in earnest on the project.

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to adapt the text.  The Latin text is all Scripture, so sometimes it worked well to simply use the text.  But sometimes the text was obscure Scriptural references to angels and crazy-named places in Palestine...obviously the average listener isn't going to get the references....so, taking the ideas, breaking them down to their basic concepts and then forming a song around them, well, it was difficult.

But...today I finished the basic demos for the song set.  The 9-part text turned into 6 songs.  When they get produced they'll have boys choir, a chamber orchestra, full band, a full choir in places, and much more.  It's going to be a massive production.  But it's gonna be really, really cool!

I can't wait for you all to hear it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chris Sligh Stripped

So, I'm doing a mini-tour in November called the Chris Sligh stripped tour with special guest Jason Walker.  

We'll be going out as an acoustic 3-piece, with Jon Skaggs on percussion/drums, Walker on keys, and me on acoustic guitar...should be fun!

We've got 8 shows up on myspace...check 'em out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Michael Gungor Band

A new album came out yesterday that you need to check out!

Michael Gungor Band's "Ancient Skies".

He's actually a long-time indie artist who wrote the title track a while back and it was cut by Israel and New Breed and was nominated for a Dove Award.  The album is a mixture of U2, Coldplay, John Mayer and more with great inspirational lyrics.

I think you'll love it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A year has passed

I spent a little time tonight going back and watching old videos from the Idol tour last year.  The tour this year is coming to a close, so a year later...wow, how life is different.

I remember the tight pants I was made to wear for "Thanks for the Memories".  Not cool.  Chubby guys and tight jeans.  Not cool.  But Gina and I had so much fun with that song.  

And the Boy Band.  Wow.  That was awesome every night.  I know we weren't the tightest band.  That wasn't the point.  The point was that when we got to the "Nah-nah-nah-nah's" on "Hey Jude" every night, we had every single person in that stadium in our hands!  I don't know if I'll ever experience that again...10k people singing along with me...hopefully, but you never know...if not, at least I got to experience it once.

Doing "Typical" every night was so awesome.  I know most people didn't know the song and there were times on the tour I wish I'd done a different song.  But to sing one of my favorite songs ever in front of that many people was great.

I miss my castmates.  I miss being in the green room every day with them.  I miss talking about useless information and getting on the bus for a few hours every night heading to the next city.  I miss Blake and his craziness.  I miss Sanjaya and his young messiness, his silliness.  I miss Rich and his kindness.  I miss Phil and his baldness (though I did just hang out with Phil last night).  I lived for almost a year with those guys...and though we're still friends, I don't know if it'll ever be the same.  

I miss the girls, too, don't get me wrong...Gina was one of my best friends...but it was different...the guys were together a lot.

My season got the short end of the stick in a lot of ways, I think.  But here I am a year later doing what I do, my management and label are pumped at how things are going and I'm building something.  Life is good.  

A year has passed.  

Monday, September 08, 2008

Like a virgin

I'd like to take a minute to say that I think that Russel Brand is HILARIOUS.  I think his brand (not a play on words here) of humor is hilarious.  What I saw of the VMA's last night, he was the highlight of the night...he's funny.  Really funny.

However, I would like to give props to my girl Jordin Sparks for standing up for what she believes.  For those who didn't see it, Brand made fun of the fad in Hollywood to wear purity rings.  Jordin came out and said something to the effect of: not everyone, guy or girl, wants to be a slut...and that's okay.  I'm assuming that she doesn't mean that simply having sex before marriage implies slut-dom...but the thought behind what she said is great!

Hey, personal choice is personal choice, but I can say for certain, I am incredibly happy that I waited until I was married to have sex.  And I think my wife would say that same for herself.  

There's no judgement here: everybody has baggage to deal with.  Premarital sex is no worse than the next person's baggage...but it's nice to see Jordin take a stand on one of the biggest broadcast's of the year.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Hearts go out

On Friday night, we played a fun, fantastic show in Fredricksburg, VA.  The show was used as a fundraiser for the Christian school there and in return we had over 900 kids and parents show up to support the school.  All profits went to the school...so it was really cool to help out the school.

I was struggling with sickness all week, but we went out and rocked it!  And the crowd was INCREDIBLE.  It hadn't been since Blake performing on tour that I'd heard so many little girls scream that loud.  It was crazy.  And the boys put on a great show.  My voice was cracking in and out, but it's nice to have the band steady behind me.

It was a great show.  

After the show, about 400 people stuck around for autographs and pictures.  I was wasted.  I went back to our green room to get some rest before we packed up.  As I sat in the little conference room that was acting as our green room, I heard sobs and whimpers coming from what sounded like teenage girls down the hall.

I wandered down to see if whoever was crying was okay.  As I asked, an adult came up and whispered that a senior girl was driving to the concert and had been in a two-car accident and was killed instantly.

My world nearly caved in.  I can not imagine what that family and church and school are going through.  My heart breaks with every thought for the family.  

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is in control.  But sometimes it's hard to reconcile how God is okay with taking a girl so full of promise, so great by all accounts.  It echoes the sentiments we all felt with Amanda leaving us far too early.  I don't understand it.  

Call it naivety.  Call it faith.  But I choose to believe that God is in control, somehow.  I don't think God was surprised by this, nor do I feel He finds pleasure in our pain.  Yet, he uses our pain to build our faith and His kingdom.

But sometimes I can't help but wonder why.

But, ultimately, my questions are irrelevant.  My deeper thoughts on God and faith mean nothing.  All that matters is that a family is hurting.  Deeply.  And my heart...I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to say, our hearts...go out to them.

Please keep the family and friends in prayer.

Her name was Kelsey Orndorff.