New York City-based singer/songwriter Chris Grace is about to set things on fire. With his powerful, charismatic voice and the dark, seductive undertow of his vivid lyrics Chris Grace is the real deal. Once youve heard his music or witnessed one of his bands live shows, Graces magnetism and star power are impossible to ignore.
Chriss background is not unusual. He grew up in a suburban family atmosphere with an intense love for the music of artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, and a natural talent for singing, which his parents encouraged. Spending much of his adolescent high school years as a self-described loner, Chris first picked up a guitar at age 14. He also studied piano and drums and soon began writing music of his own. " I tried to learn the music of other artists, but I always preferred to write my own compositions," he laughs. "When I began to write songs, it was almost reflexive; like something that just had to come out of me." Citing artists such as Tool, Tori Amos, and Peter Gabriel as inspirations, Grace began to produce a multitude of work that helped shape his adolescent years, pouring in equal amounts of emotion, sincerity and truth into his songs.
The compositions of his first album, Compulsion, run this taut emotional gauntlet, touching heavily on a myriad of relationships, life experiences and scattered ruminations. Recorded with Malcolm Burn (Iggy Pop, Emmy Lou Harris, Better Than Ezra) and self-released on his label xx in 2001, Compulsion is an accomplished first effort, utilizing explosive rock riffs that counter against hauntingly beautiful melodies. "The most important thing Malcolm afforded us was the environment to be creative; to wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and just pick up a guitar and press record. He wasnt totally hands-on, but I appreciated him pushing us to be creative and to be the breath of the record."
It is this push that helps Compulsion to take off. While addressing the queries inherent in living a life of any real consequence, Chris Grace demonstrates a truly artistic lyrical bent. With an engaging ability to turn a phrase, his stories of romantic longing ("Hush"), spiritual quests ("July") and understanding when to move on from a difficult relationship ("Thorn") unfold without burrowing into self-indulgence. "If people hear these songs and are able to find something in there for them, I cant ask for more than that, " says Grace. Whether its a couple of lines or a single word, I think people can relate to my music with their spirit, with their soul. Theres always something that holds us together, a unity of emotion that human beings have in common."
This sort of experience began to happen to Grace more often, resulting in a plethora of live shows to support the album and a rapidly growing fan base. In early 2004, he was asked to join Michelle Branch, Gavin DeGraw and Rooney on the Virgin College Mega Tour, a trek that will take his powerful live show across the country and back again. In support of this jaunt, Chriss label will be releasing a new EP entitled, Evidence. The songs on Evidence take Graces signature lyrical depth and set it against churning melodies, powerful song structures and Graces incredibly emotive voice. From the resigned sadness of "Mariann" to the crushing crecendos of "Take It All Back," Evidence never loses its beauty or ability to inspire due to Graces evocative songwriting.
Evidence will be available in all Virgin Mega Stores and via Chris Graces website www.chrisgrace.com.