New Artist Feature: Chris Wallace
The New Music Feature is just what it sounds like. A showcase for new music and new artists as they begin climbing the charts or making a name for themselves in the music industry.
This week, we have Chris Wallace. The former front man for The White Tie Affair, who toured with Lady Gaga, and who had the Top 20 hit “Candle” on Epic/Sony. We take a look at Chris who is launching his solo career with a bang.
Chris’s first single as a solo artist was his hit song, “Remember When.” The single impacted radio around the world on July 10th and has already appeared on several major pop radio stations. His music video for the single premiered on MTV Buzzworthy and has recently been featured on AOL Music, US Weekly, VH1, J-14, Vevo, and Alternative Press.
Chris grew up in a small town called Hebron, Indiana. Growing up, he didn’t always have a way to channel his emotions.
“There was this small town mentality where most of the guys I knew got their girlfriends pregnant at 18, 19, got married, and settled in for the long haul. It was just assumed I would follow right into my family’s cabinet design business. So, when I said I wanted to play music and do something different, it was much easier for people to put me down rather than be encouraging.”
When he was a teenager, he realized he had bigger dreams. He began playing lead guitar in local bar bands before putting together his first band, Quad Four. He soon became the lead vocalist and never looked back. His loud and explosive voice worked to Chris’ advantage when he posted a song on MySpace. And that one song was all it took. The track, “Allow Me To Introduce Myself…Mr. Right,” caught the ear of a New York record scout and Chris was soon signed to Epic Records, officially getting him out of Hebron and onto that larger, national stage he always wanted forming the band White Tie Affair.
Soon he released the song that really put his band on the map, the ubiquitous Top 20 smash, “Candle (Sick and Tired).” That song made its way into the public consciousness as an MTV, TRL staple and by its ever-present inclusion in the essential teen show of its day, “The Hills.”
“My whole life totally changed overnight, but not in the way I thought it would. While I was finally getting the recognition I always dreamed of, for doing what I always wanted to do, the record company stepped in. They wanted us to write and record with who they thought were the ‘best’ producers and writers in the business instead of letting us make our own music. My gut has never been wrong and all of it started feeling wrong to me because there was nothing authentic about that. It wasn’t who I was. Right then, I realized that I didn’t want to be part of a big machine; I wanted to BE the machine. I guess I had some blind optimism that told me I could do it on my own terms.”
About His Solo Career:
“There weren’t many places you could go and get loud so I just sang in my car. When people ask me today how I’m able to sing so loud I tell them it’s because I just got used to trying to sing above Freddy Mercury blasting on my car stereo. I would drive around town for hours singing at the top of my lungs. It was the only place I could go to let it out!” -Chris on growing up in Hebron, Indiana
Most known for being the front man and guitarist for his previous band, White Tie Affair, has gained fans and critical acclaim for his performances and writing skills. He has toured with Lady Gaga and on sold-out Warped Tours across the country.
However, Chris is ready to embark on his solo career that he says has a few guidelines.
“The songs I write and release now all have to have three things that make up my ‘musical DNA’,” he states definitively. “They all have to be honest – I have to feel them. Second, they have to have a melody that moves me and third, they need to hit hard!”
His first solo single, “Remember When” manages to encapsulate many of the feelings that come with a hard break up. Fans can relate to the catchy lyrics and heartfelt emotions that Chris injects into the song. With over 50 Top 40 stations coming on board in only its first three weeks of release, the single is already generating rave reviews, with CBS Radio calling the song, “an explosion of raw energy, infectious hooks and emotional connection.”
In talking about the track, Chris explains, “I was dating this girl when I was in my band who I really thought was the one. But as my musical career started taking off, it became clear that we were in different places, (“As my future got bright, we started losing light.”), and we eventually broke up. “’Remember When’ talks about that time when all you really want to do is go back, push rewind, and start all over again.”
BSCkids: Chris Wallace
What made you decide to work on solo project?
I always trust my instincts. Weather I’m writing a song or choosing a path in life. I just felt like the perfect time in my life to do my own thing. The journey I had with my old band gave me so much to write about. There was no doubt in my mind this was the next step for me.
Tell us about what inspired you to write “Remember When.”
‘Remember When’ is a song about the girl I was dating when my music career began to take off. The hardest hitting line for me is: ‘as my future got bright, we started losing light.’ With the music I really wanted to give it a positive undertone, cause after all,the song is also celebration of looking back on great times we shared.
Who is the best act that you have toured with?
The best and craziest act I ever toured with was Lady Gaga. She took my old band on a month long tour. It was definitely an experience i’ll never forget.
When is your first solo album going to drop?
September 4th!! I’m so excited for the world to hear my album!!
Is there an overall theme to your songs?
On ‘push rewind’ I feel like I’ve not only became the songwriter and producer I’ve always wanted to be, but I also found out some things about myself I didn’t know. Most of the songs on the album are autobiographical. I usually write them with a couple things in mind. They have to be honest, hard hitting, and most of all they have to be ME!
Growing up, who was your favorite musician or singer?
My favorite musician growing up was Freddie Mercury from Queen. He was and still is one of the best performers and singers I’ve ever heard.
How does it feel to be compared to Katy Perry in terms of how catchy and infectious your music is?
Honestly I’m flattered to even be mentioned in the same sentence as her. She has so many great songs, and seems like such a great person. I suppose I see the similarities haha. We both come from rock-ish backgrounds. I play guitar, she plays guitar. We both write pop songs that are super hard hitting.
If your music career hadn’t taken off, what would have been your alternative career choice?
Hmm I probably would have never given up playing music. It’s too much fun… but if idk I’ve always wanted to act or be in a musical… I would love to play the phantom of the opera.
Do you have any advice for young band members who are looking to make it big?
Dream huge. and never stop taking chances!! I seriously first got noticed by the music industry by writing and producing one catchy song and putting it on MySpace. Since then I haven’t stopped taking risks every day.
Where to find Chris on the web:
What the critics say:
Critics are comparing his solo project to a male version of Katy Perry/P!nk; calling it “sickly infectious and undeniably danceable.”
Upon hearing Chris’ new music, MTV added Chris directly into Buzzworthy rotation and proclaimed that, “Critics are going so far as to call him the male Katy Perry, a compliment if we ever heard one. Actually, we totally agree!”