Friday, October 08, 2010

The End of an Era

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

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

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

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

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

But all good things come to an end.

So here's to this era.

Now let's toast the next era!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Way too long

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is Crazy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, life is good.

But life is crazy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An "I Love You" to the Jennifer Knapps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so does yours.

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

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

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

Another lyric says this:

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

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

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

Because God loved me in my filth.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update on recording

Recording has gone well.

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

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

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

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

So, what is left?

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

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

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

Then it's on to mix.

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

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

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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Double Edged Sword of American Idol

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

I'm somewhere in between, I think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Anatomy of Broken

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lyrics to the New Songs

Our Love (Chris Sligh)

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

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

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


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


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

Sunny (Chris Sligh)

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

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

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


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


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spring Tour

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

So, here's the deal....

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

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

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

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

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

Then I will close out the night.

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

So, here's how we need your help:

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

Sunday, January 03, 2010

It's been almost a month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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