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 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 to check out a new song I wrote with my friends Bryan Simpson and Wade Kirby. I like it a'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, that makes up for what I think are weak choruses. The lyrics are typically stupid pop lyrics. Oh'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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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'd think they'd know how to get it done fast, huh? LOL... 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 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 it is:

Paula: "If you don't pay me 1/10 of what you're paying Simon I'll, 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 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 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 - 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 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

Monday, June 08, 2009

Yesterday... 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 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 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 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.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So it is about 99.9% sure that my next label home will be a major label.   Not just any major in particular, but until the deal is finalized I'd feel more comfortable waiting to tell you guys specifics.  However, I want to let you guys know what's going on...

The morning that I was granted my wish to be released from my deal with Brash, about 10 minutes after the release phone call, I was on the phone with the President of a major label talking about signing there.  The next morning we (Mitch & I) had a meeting with him, the VP of A&R and the VP of Marketing and we just talked about the direction of the record and we gave them the songs.

That was Friday a week ago.  This last week, everyone had time to live with the music and I got to talk with the President of the company on Friday afternoon this week and all cylinders are firing on getting this deal up and running and having new music recorded and into your hands as fast as possible.

Obviously, deals are negotiations and negotiations can go wrong from time to time, but I am pretty sure that everyone involved (I know it's the case on my end of things) really wants this to work out and work out quickly!  We're really hoping to have a single out by the time the Back To School Tour II happens.

Speaking of...

Back to School is going out August 27 to November 1 with Aaron Shust and I co-headlining and Rough Draft and a soon-to-be-announced guest opening.  It's only May and we already have close to 30 shows on the books for the tour!!!  We are working to have over 40 and as many as 60!  I'm so pumped about this tour it's not even funny!  

So anyway...all is good on Sligh front!  Just wanna make sure you guys are updated through the highs and lows!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

If you missed it...

If you missed my twitter stream last it is along with what I was talking about...

Show start

All right Slighterers, let's rock!

Show open with all the top 13 in white, singing "So What"  

Yay! Let's wear white, sing a song about divorce a make it as dumb as possible with really bad dance moves!!!

As Ryan announced the awards section

Yay! Really long really stupid awards section!!!

After Nick/Norman won the award for best male...


As Norman sang his song AGAIN....LOL

Oh my gosh ...he is so freaking genius!!!!!!!

That guy needs to be making movies yesterday....

As Queen Latifah takes the stage with Lil Round in a form-fitting body suit

Um...what is Queen wearing? Note2self..just b/c it's a slimming black Chris Sligh should never wear a form-fitting body suit. Even w/ spanxx

Don't get me wrong Queen Latifah is a true multi platform artist...but man what not to wear! For the bigger boned of us out there a warning!

As Jason Mraz takes the stage with the top 13

Jason Mraz is literally 1 of the best singers I've ever been around..we wrote out at Hanson's ranch last yr & he srsly put on a clinic

As Black Eyed Peas performed their new single "Boom Boom Pow"

What a strange performance. That is it. Some things were meant to only be on record..this might be 1 of them. Still processing.

As Ryan asked Bikini girl what was new, when all of us could clearly see what was new...

Ty Ryan for saying what we're all thinking!

Kara comes out behind Bikini girl and Bikini girl has no freaking clue what's going on...

Thiis might be the best finale evah!!!!

My initial joy over Kara's performance turns to possible horror when she strips off her dress to reveal a

I'm not sure if I find Kara's performance/stripping entertaining or pathetic. Still processing. Brain might explode!

During Allison's performance with Cyndi Lauper...

Allison sounds great as always...Time hasn't been too kind to Cyndi's voice..after time

As Danny Gokey takes the stage, eventually with Lionel Ritchie...

Hello Gokey!

As always Danny rocked it

As Adam takes the stage wearing domed shoulders, eventually with KISS....

Dude is freaking rock star...I wish I had the guts to wear that outfit...domed shoulders & all

As KISS came down from the ceiling and rocked....

This just makes me want a diet dr pepper

As Carlos Santana rocked with the Cowbell on "Black Magic Woman" intro....

I need more cowbell! MORE freaking cowbell! Noooooooowwwwwwww!!!!!

As the top 13 joins Carlos on stage all wearing matching outfits...

I'm glad everyone is wearing clothes to match Carlos's guitar

I wouldn't have been able to process the performance otherwise.

As Steve Martin takes the stage with Michael and Caw-Caw Girl (LOL Meagan)....

Little known truth: Steve Martin is a world-renowned banjo player

Another little-known truth: Michael Sarver is a world-renowned scrabble player

As Rod Stewart starts "Maggie May"...

Maggie May!!!! Yes!!! One of the best mandolin based songs ever right behind "These 8 Strings Make My Fingers Bleed"

As Tatiana wins and they show a video of her telling off all the "record execs" who told her she had to sleep with them to get her album made...

Um...every guy who said I have to sleep with them?!!! What?!!! What the crap is happening right now?!!!

As Tatiana tries to rush the stage with security chasing her...

My brain just exploded! TY Tatiana!!!

As Queen takes the stage behind Kris and Adam's "Champions"...

It's freaking Queen yo! I'm freaking out right now!!! Queen!!!!

After Kris's win leaves him speechless....

I don't think there's ever been an idol more surprised at to him!

Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed the recap...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Twitter, etc.

It's interesting how twitter has changed things...I feel like it's so much easier to keep people up to date with twitter than doing a blog post's silly, but how I feel...

So I'll try to keep up here, but you probably at least want to get a twitter account to keep up with day-in, day-out stuff.

I'm excited about the future and what's coming up...label I'm meeting with loves the new music, so that's a good sign...hopefully will have a deal on the table ASAP.  We'll see!

I can't wait to unleash this album on everyone!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

To the Future

So, if you've kept up with my twitter (@ ChrisSligh) you know that I am no longer with Brash Music.  I wanted to take a little time to quickly bring everyone up to date with what is going on.

Officially, Brash decided not to exercise the option to make my 2nd and final album on my deal.   This was a decision that ultimately was a mutual decision, though Brash had the final decision.  You see a lot of people who come out of record deals and claim it was mutual...I'm pretty sure they're not always fact I have a couple of friends who were dropped that said at the time it was mutual, but if you asked them now, they'd admit that - though they weren't exactly surprised or necessarily upset with the new - they were dropped.  In this case, I assure you, that though Brash had the ultimate decision, it had come to the place that both of us were ready for a decision.

Now, some may ask me how it could come to this, when they read my glowing words about Brash in the recent Christianity Today article.   Everything I said about Brash in that article was remarkably true.  The guys at Brash are incredible men who have integrity and are genuinely trying to make the record business better.  My opinion of them has not changed through any of this.  

Ultimately, what it came down to was that we disagreed on a very basic level on how this 2nd record should be treated.  From what I can understand they liked the songs, so it wasn't that.  It was how I wanted to treat the record and how I wanted to the record the record as well as the campaign I wanted to use in promoting the record.  Also we disagreed on the co-production of the record and how much a co-producer should be used.  

It's strange that something that seems so small on paper was so large in real life.  But both of us were at a place where we weren't willing to budge on certain points - unfortunately the points we wouldn't budge on happened to be the exact same ones.  

So...the next label will soon be announced.  And the album will be recorded very soon.  Hopefully we'll have a single out by the fall tour.  

So, there are mixed emotions involved...ultimately parting ways was the best thing to happen.   But it also stinks because I'm parting ways with great guys.  But I look to the future with hope and excitement...

More to come...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jaded? Not I...

Some people have wondered why I have struggled with's all good.  No Jaded-ness here.  I can't go into details, nor do I want to, but I have a clear vision for the next album.  A clear artistic vision and some people involved with the process have, over the last couple of weeks, decided to peek their head into the process and start to confuse the vision.  That leads to frustration, which leads to anger which leads to being's the story of the music business.  I tried to put myself into a situation with all the people around me from management to band to label that would shelter me from the jade, but it still has crept in.  Thankfully, I'm at a place of peace.  More later...

However, I am in the midst of putting up some new demos!  So you guys can start to digest some of the new music!  Head over to and check it out!  Do remember that these are ROUGH demos...they will sound better and different in the final version (this is more for the people who weren't around for the first time we did this...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Doves

This week was a fun - albeit very busy - week.

Sunday, we got back from the Natalie tour dates at about 8:30am.  I got a little sleep that afternoon then had to go to soundcheck for the Songwriter's showcase, which has always been my favorite part of the GMA week.  All the biggest songs of the year are performed by their songwriter (s) and each writer tells the story of how the song came about.

Tony Wood and I performed "Empty Me" both telling about how the song came to be.

Monday it was up bright and early.  Rough Draft was in town (by the way, if you haven't gotten their album yet, you need to - it really is incredible) all this week and I helped them meet with labels.  Anyway, we had a meeting bright and early Monday morning and then I hung out until I had some interviews later in the day.

I had decided a while back that I really want to enjoy GMA week.  So many artists you talk to dread this week and think the whole thing is pointless or cheesy.  I love it and want to continue to love it.  It's a great time to see people you only see once a year a lot of times.  So I cut my interviews this year down to just an afternoon.  If there's stuff we miss, there's stuff we miss.  So we did like 6 hours of interviews on Monday and that was it!

Monday night, we went to the ASCAP dinner.  How much fun was that?!!  So many big-name artists and writers were was so cool.  Sarah and I sat at the table with Sanctus Real and got to hang out with Jeremy Camp, Mac Powell (Sarah and I got a picture with Mac and his wife cool!), Matthew West and so many more.  Larnelle Harris was there!  He sang a tribute to Dave Clark, a writer who just got his 25th number 1!  And I thought it was awesome having 1 #1.

Anyway, overall this week it's been really interesting to see the marked difference between last year and this.  Last year I felt like the little kid jumping up and down going "Look at me!  Look at me!"  This year, it's fun to have had some success as an artist that other people seem to have recognized, as well as the Rascal Flatts cut!  I mean, so many people who I never would've guessed would've known about the song came up to congratulate - it has been really crazy.  I guess I didn't even know what a big deal this has been.  I guess it still hasn't really sunk in yet.

Anyway, Tuesday I met with 6 labels with Rough Draft.  Some really great meetings, some not so great meetings...but overall a lot of initial interest in the band.  The EP turned out so great and I'm so proud of the guys and what they've accomplished.  I can't imagine they won't get signed with as hard working as they are and as talented as they are.

My parent came in Tuesday night so we went and got some Red Lobster (my parents favorite restaurant - they don't have it Germany).  It was great to spend some time with them!

Wednesday I slept in a little later - I didn't have anything until 2:45pm, when I had to go for the rehearsal/sound check for the Doves.  That lasted way too long then it was off to a radio interview with Rough Draft over at Total Axxess.  Now that was fun. Wally is seriously one of my favorite people in the business and easily one of my favorite DJs.  He is just real and funny and knows what he's talking about.  

From there, I went to a Doves party and my place with friends and family and Rough Draft even made an appearance (albeit unplanned).  That was fun.

Yesterday was up bright and early to pack for this weekend plus I had to be at the Opry House at 11:00am.  And couldn't leave until after the doves...sheesh.  All day.  But I had so much fun.

Remedy Drive are awesome.  We hung out a few times during the long day.  I shared a dressing room with the Afters and Tenth Ave North.  That was fun.  The Tenth Ave North guys are great guys...congrats to them for winning New Artist.  

Anyway, that's kinda my week.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nice Little Birthday Present

"Here Comes Goodbye" is number one on every major chart.  On Billboard and Radio and Records, it jumped 6 spots to number 1!  

My first number 1!!!


Today I turn 31.  Wow.  31.  

My dad had 2 kids by the time he was 31.

Paul McCartney sold 100 million records and had literally conquered the world by the age of 31.  Oh, yeah, and his band had broken up already by the time he was 31.

Bono had made his most successful record (Joshua Tree) and was working on releasing his (and U2's) greatest artistic achievement (Achtung Baby) by the age of 31.

Jimi Hendrix had changed his name, changed the world of music and overdosed before he ever came close to 31.

Stevie Wonder had been signed for almost 20 years by the time he reached 31.  The 70's brought Stevie unbelievable success and his albums changed the landscape of R&B music.  And he didn't turn 31 until 1981.  Sick.

I could continue to go on...but the point is this...I've been incredibly blessed thus far.  But I have so much to do!  And I'm excited to see what the future holds.

Here's to 31!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

American Idol Generationals Reunion!

This week, I'm out in Los Angeles writing.  Wrote yesterday with Lindy Robbins and Jess Cates who have written some HUGE songs for people like Nick Lachay, Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill, and many more.  We wrote a KILLER song to pitch...I think it'll definitely get cut!

Anyway, the title of the blog...what's that about?

Well, some of you may know that Danny Gokey and I have become friends...not close or anything, but friends via phone calls and texts.  When I found out I was coming out to L.A., I let Danny know and we decided to get together if his schedule allowed.  American Idol is notorious for not letting the contestants know what's going on till the last minute, so our plans to get together Sunday night were thwarted.  But last night, he called me as I was finishing up my writing session and told me he had some time to hang out!

So I went to Rickey Minor's studio and picked him and we headed over to a nice Italian restaurant and ate.

Meanwhile, on the way to pick up Danny, I called Jason Castro to say hello and found out he's living in the L.A. area now working on writing his album.  I won't steal his thunder but congrats to Jason on his success.  Anyway, he asked if he could join Danny and I and when I asked Danny it was of course okay, so Jason met us at the restaurant.

We spent the next 3 1/2 hours just talking getting to know each other, and building a friendship between the 3 of us.  All of us are believers so it was awesome just talking about faith and what God was doing in us and about our experience with Idol.

Seriously - I don't say this lightly - I think God has some big things for Danny.  Maybe it's not selling millions and millions of records, maybe it is.  But his heart is to use his foundation - Sophia's Heart - to change people's lives is contagious.  

Jason is doing great, too.  He's writing like crazy and is excited about what's happening for his career.  Again, there's not much else I can say at this point, nor should I say...but know that Jason is doing great!

Hopefully I'll get to hang out with the guys again before I leave on Saturday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Am & Barely

So Lori heard the first single off the next album at my concert tonight so I thought I'd put it up for everyone to hear.  Didn't want the blogger girls to be left out.

Also, I put up a demo of one of the songs we wrote for Gina's eventually-coming project.  Clint Lagerberg, Gina and I wrote this one...I think it turned out pretty fantastic.  It's called "Barely"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Here Comes Goodbye...

....broke the record last week for a debut country song on iTunes.  It sold over 125k first week out!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted

Just bought Kelly's new album.

And man is it good.  You must buy it immediately or you shall cease to be relevant.

Here Comes...well, Here Comes Goodbye

You can now buy the single on iTunes!  As well, as the video!

Go buy it!  Listen to it!  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Next record

So the last few weeks have been vital and incredible for finally honing in on a vibe/direction for the next album.

A few months ago, I wrote for the first time with Don Chaffer, who is the lead singer of a band called Waterdeep. Waterdeep is highly considered within the industry as being one of the most artful bands in the business and Don is well known for his production and songwriting skills, especially within his own band's music (his wife is the other lead singer in Waterdeep).

We talked to several producers about co-producing with me, including my friend Adam Smith (who is an incredible songwriter/producer/mixer - he's mixing the Rough Draft stuff right now). We talked about Brown producing part of it as well as several other respected guys in the industry.

My goal for this record is to establish that I'm more than just that chubby guy from American Idol. My goal is to establish that Chris Sligh is an artist, not just a singer. I really want to establish that my songwriting is as or more important than my singing. That my production head space is as vital to my career as my voice is.

Running Back to You was the best album I could make at the time.  It was full of songs we felt were the best ones I had written.  Working with Brown Bannister was one of the greatest experiences someone in the music business could ever have.  And honestly, I still feel that it is and was an incredible debut record.   Not a lot of people get to make a record like mine their first time I was blessed.

This time around, though, the gauntlet is thrown.  It is time to make an album that can live up to anything I've ever dreamed of making or being a part of.

So many people aspire to make good records.  I'm trying, with this album, to make the greatest album ever.  Obviously, the odds are against me meeting my goal.  However, as artists, I think we should aim for the stars.  I want for my record to be something that U2 or Coldplay or {insert an artist} would be proud to have made.  That's my goal.  

So, this week we took another step towards trying to meet my goal.  We went into the studio and jammed to write songs.   The guys in my band aren't necessarily "songwriters" in the sense that they don't do a lot of sitting down and just songwriting.  But they are some of the most creative people I Don Chaffer was there and he brings to the table both creativity from the point of pop sensibilities plus off the wall crazy creativity, too.

The thing that was cool about the writing session on Monday & Tuesday was that if I sit at home and just write from an acoustic guitar, I really am only able to bring a certain thing to the table.  I can try and come close to writing something rocking, but ultimately it needs the band to fill it out.  What we did in the studio was jam and put together songs with ideas that I never could've come up with on my own, or even with just me and Don in my studio writing.  5 heads come up with cooler and different stuff than 2 heads.

The stuff we wrote in the studio exceeded my expectations by a thousand miles.  We wrote upbeat rocking stuff.  We wrote rocking weird stuff (if you know music this will make sense - one song, we wrote the chorus in 7/4 time).  We wrote emotional piano ballad stuff along the lines of some Coldplay stuff.  We wrote some really cool down ballad-y stuff...I mean in 8 songs we wrote exactly what my album needed.

Now over the next few weeks, I'll be spending time writing lyrics and melodies over the musical pieces we wrote. And I'm pumped about it...I feel like these musical pieces give me the opportunities to write some really different stuff than I've ever written.

So...less about those songs specifically and more to the general album...

It looks like there will be 14 songs on the record.  We are breaking the album up into 2 sections.  The first 4 songs will be "THE SINGLES"; the next 10 songs will be "THE ALBUM".  And the credits will be delineated in that way.  

Someone asked if this album will be more like RBTY or TACOSB.   I guess a little of both and a little of neither. The singles are going to be mixed like singles and will sound like radio...perhaps even more than RBTY.   The album, however, is going to be very artistic.  Think a U2 or Coldplay record from a sonic standpoint.  

From a song standpoint, the singles will be straight down the middle CCM.  They are already written and ready to go.  In fact, I'll go ahead and give you the titles:

1.  I Am
2.  To the World
3.  I'm Ready
4.  You Are

The last 10 songs will be chosen from about 25 so far...maybe more depending on what I write between now and then.  There are a few that I'm pretty sure will be there, but you never know.  

My point of this post is that I'm pumped about the new album.  I'm pumped for you guys to hear, though it'll probably be next March or April or something like that.  But I'm pumped about this record!