Wednesday, August 14, 2019

10 Questions For: Christopher


Sounds European! had the honor of meeting one of the biggest stars of Danish music in person for an interview. And what a special one it was! He was very friendly, and open to talk deeply about various subjects, as you will see below. We are sure that, after reading this, you will be even more in love with him than you already were! These are our 10 questions for Christopher:

Sounds European!: We like to start interviews asking about the artists' first memories with music. What artists did you like to listen when you were growing up? Who were your idols in music? And do you feel that any of them has influenced the artist you came to be?

Christopher: One of my first memories when it comes to music is probably listening to Michael Jackson, and feeling like I couldn't stop my feet – and getting so happy of listening to that! I think I was 12 years old. I didn't grow up in a musical home, with a father playing the guitar or a mom sitting by the piano. So it was always just something that came from the inside, it was always pure passion.
I was 12 when I got a Christmas gift from my grandma. She gave me a Spanish guitar, and I started playing nonstop. I started to listen to a lot of singer-songwriters, like Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Jack Johnson – stuff that I could easily learn how to play on the guitar, and play in front of the girls, you know? (laughter) That was really one of the big motivations for me, to be able to pick up the guitar and play some songs for my friends and for girls.
Then, when I was in third grade, that was my first musical huge success: there was like a talent show in my school, and I won that, and that was the first time that teachers, older students and my friends were like, "Wow, that was something else!". That was when I thought to myself, "Maybe I could do this, maybe I'm actually better than anyone at this". And yeah, that's my first musical memory.
You asked if any of the artists that I listened to growing up inspired me and influenced me as a musician... Absolutely! I think it's like that with all artists. You become a sort of a mishmash, a product of everything that you've listened to. So, I've listened to a lot of John Mayer, a lot of Michael Jackson, a lot of Justin Timberlake, a lot of Jack Johnson, a lot of singer-songwriters... lately, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran – and I'm just a mix of all that, you can hear all those guys in my music. And it comes out in different ways, but 100% [they have influenced and inspired].

SE!: When you were a kid, you were divided between two passions, football and music. At what point did you end up choosing music over football? What were you first steps singing and playing instruments? And when did you realize it was becoming more than a hobby, but your profession?

C: I remember when I got signed with Warner Music – at that time, it was called EMI Music –, when I got that label deal, when I signed that, I sort of slowly backed out of playing football (soccer, for the American audience). And I played for like 17 years... I still play to this day, and I love the sport, so I never quite stopped, but I knew that I was never good enough to go pro – and I felt like music really gave me a shot at going like pro-pro. And the label deal, the first deal, was a sign of that. I could show that to my parents and go, "I told you! I don't need a university degree! (laughter) I can do this!". And they were like, "OK, sure, go for it!". And that's eight years ago, now. Almost ten. And it's been going uphill – in a good way! – from that point.

SE!: You have a very special connection with your fans. Can you tell us a little about your relationship with them? How important do you feel this contact is, for you and for them? And what do your fans mean to you and your work?

C: Obviously, without the fans, I would not be able to do what I love. Without them buying tickets, without them listening to and spreading the music... just supporting me, and always being there, it would not be possible, any of it.
My career exploded at the same time as social media exploded, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and those three platforms have been a huge part of my career. They gave me a unique way to interact with the fans. I sort of was the "new generation" – I was like a Spotify artist, I was a YouTube artist and I was an Instagram artist... all this, at the same time. It all just sort of exploded when I exploded, so I had a huge fanbase, a huge following, and played some huge shows (compared to the fact that I had only released one album and been touring for a year)... playing for like 3000 people, in Denmark, which only few people do that.
So it was like a rocket career, and it was all because of the fans, it was all because of the young girls – in the beginning, there was a lot of similarities between me and what Justin Bieber did, it was young girls, and we all know that the 14, 15-year-old girls, they are the most dedicated and loyal fans, the ones that scream the loudest, and I really felt that, that kind of crazy pop-icon support. The way they put you like on a pedestal and you almost can't keep track with them, because it's so surreal, and it happened so fast. We still got some young, crazy 15-year-olds screaming, but it's ten years ago, so the fans grew with me. I see, today, when I'm performing, more 25-year-olds than there are 15-year-olds.
It's just been a crazy journey, and I've got a lot of day-one fans – people who have been with me from "Colours", my very first album, and "Call your girlfriend", the first cover I've ever put on YouTube, until "Irony", "My heart", "Real life" and the latest album, "Under the surface". It's been one hell of a ride, and I know for sure that none of it would have been possible without the fans.

SE!: Your success has crossed many borders. You have a large fan base not only in Denmark, but also in a lot of other countries. As an example, you have recently concluded your second Asian tour. How does it feel to know that your work has a worldwide reach? And how were your experiences on the Asian tours?

C: Oh, Asia is crazy, man! It started a couple of years ago, I think three or four years ago, that's when we played the first Chinese TV show, and since then we've been in all countries in Asia, I guess – all the big ones, at least. And it's just been crazy, to see your music travel to the other side of the world, and go to the other side of the world... get on a plane, sit there for ten hours, land in Hong Kong, and then there are screaming fans, you know? It's just been so surreal – and, in many ways, a dream come true!
I feel like there's a really special connection between my music and the Asian crowd, and the Asian music scene. They love pop music, so it just happened, again, very fast and very naturally. I've been in Beijing eight times, ten times, now. I just kept coming back, and I think that's one of the reasons why, right now, we can play sold-out shows and play in TV shows. I really feel that it's still growing, it's still building. It's weird and it's so awesome at the same time! It's mind-blowing when you get home from those tours and you have to absorb all the inputs, all the feedback and all the things that you've experienced... I'm just in my bedroom, in Denmark, in Copenhagen, going like, "What's just happened?". So crazy! So crazy!

SE!: In 2012, you received Danish Spotify's innovation award "Årets Nytænker". The award recognizes, among other things, innovative use of social and digital media to connect with fans, and it rewards creative promotion of music in new and original ways. So, being a person with recognized knowledge and quality in this topic, we ask you: how do you see the importance of social and digital media today, as tools for promoting music work?

C: It's everything, man. It's everything! It is the way that people consume music, it is the way that people listen to music. It's all digital. It's all online. And I think if you underestimate the power of Instagram, Facebook and social media in general, you don't have a fucking chance. (laughter) I mean, some people can do it, like Kanye West can do it – because he is where he is, he is who he is and his music is what it is –, he can take a step back from the game... but everybody else? To all aspiring musicians and all newcoming artists: put as much content as you can out there. Make shitloads of content! Be active, be social. Try to find that balance to where it's not ruining your life, obviously (that's hard, I've tried that), but in general, you can't underestimate the power of social media. It's the future, it's the now, it's everything. So yeah, go out there, get some content made and put it out there. Press it down people's throats. (laughter)
I can just see how important it is for me still today, and how important it's been for my career, and I wouldn't redo anything – even though it's hard sometimes, and you just wanna throw your phone in the ocean sometimes, and take breaks, you need that. But especially when you have a platform like mine, it's not even comparable to the audience you can reach on television, in the newspaper or in magazines – it's 600000 people, and it's the people that already chose voluntarily to follow you, you know? That's your number one promotion channel, so you should really take care of that and see the importance of that. That's how I see it.

"I'm allergic to repeating myself. I have to constantly be on the move, and go somewhere where I haven't been before and explore new music" (Picture: official Facebook page)

SE!: As we see it, your latest albums, "Closer" and "Under the surface", show an artist who is maturing in several aspects. Songs as "Tulips", "Heartbeat", "Monogamy", "Irony" and "My heart" are examples of that: you are not afraid of exploring different styles, and you go very well in all of them. How do you compare the artist you are today with the artist you were at the beginning of your career?

C: That's a really good question! I'm glad that you say that! I've really, naturally just have felt a need to constantly develop myself as a songwriter, as an artist and as a singer, and go somewhere different. I'm allergic to repeating myself. I have to constantly be on the move, and go somewhere where I haven't been before and explore new music. And that means writing a lot of shit songs, because you are just fumbling, blindfolded, in the dark, "Where am I going? What's the next step?". And you just can't be afraid of writing shit songs. If you're afraid of writing shit songs, you'll never write that magic one. You'll never write something that really feels special to you. And that's what I really feel like I did, specially with "Under the surface", the new one.
Obviously, when I was 22, and I was single, and it was all about partying and getting girls, there was a lot of "Hey, there, sexy lady!" kind of songs – and, today, I think music sounds different to my ears. I like different stuff, my values are different, my moral compass is different. I feel certain things are more interesting than others... I mean, a lot happens from when you're 22 to 27, you know?
And I would love people to be part of my journey, not only visually, but also musically, so they can tell the difference between "OK, he was 18, he was 22, now he's 27. And now he sounds like this!". And I'm not afraid of going somewhere else, and experimenting with different genres and different styles. As long as it feels real, and as long as the lyrics are real to me, and it's a direct one-to-one vision of where I am in my life right now, then yeah, I can do whatever I want, whatever I feel like! To me, it's all about honesty, being real. That's important. Everything comes in second, after that, when it comes to writing.

SE!: You have just released a new single, titled "Real life". What can you tell us about this song? What feelings and messages did you want to express in it? And "Real life" is not part of your album "Under the surface". Does it mean we can expect a new album coming soon?

C: Actually, I'm gonna release a deluxe version of "Under the surface" in a couple of months, a physical version too, and "Real life" is gonna be on the album. It was like an in-between single, a song that I've written recently, after the album was released and after I got married – I wrote most of it on my honeymoon, and I was just high on life.
It's about being all the way up there, and you're looking down, with perspective, and you look at all the times that you've turned left when you should have gone right, and just accept the journey that you've been on, embracing all the wrong turns that you've made. It's looking at the person that you are hopefully gonna spend the rest of your life with and be like, "I love you for all your beautiful and all your good parts, but I love you for all your messy and all your bad parts too" – which is, for me, the most dedicated way of loving someone. It's like, "I love you for everything that you are, but most importantly I love you for everything that you're not".
And it's not only like that with a girlfriend or a wife. It's like that in a relationship with a brother, with a friend, or with your mom and dad. It's the only way to love someone, for all the things that they are and all the things that they're not. And I just thought that was a great message and something that you have to remind yourself of, especially before you go into a marriage and tell yourself, "I'm gonna spend the rest of my life with this person". We all carry our difficult sides, and our bad sides. And it's hard loving that too, but you gotta try.

SE!: What are your professional projects for the near future? What can your fans expect from you?

C: I took a break a couple of years ago, writing this album. I was off social media, I was not playing any live shows. Releasing this album and being back on the road has just made me so hungry! I feel I'm just gonna write and release music and tour the next couple of years, as much as I can. There is a Danish expression, "Smede mens jernet er varmt" [Strike while the iron is hot]... I feel like, right now, it's hotter than ever! I feel I found the recipe now, and I just need to go with it. And I just need to go all in!

SE!: If you could choose anyone, who would be some Danish and international artists you would like to collaborate with?

C: Oh! We have so many good musicians in the Danish scene right now! I feel that, soundwise and visually, it would probably be cool to write with . She is so awesome! A great songwriter, a great artist, so sweet, so talented... Yeah, I think that would be cool!

SE!: We would like to finish this interview with a song of yours. What is your favorite song by Christopher, and why?

C: I think it varies all the time, man. Often, I just feel like saying "Real life", because it's where I am right now, and I just love performing that live and hearing people singing it back to me. But there is a difference between which one I like the most right now and which one I feel is the best song. I feel "Irony" is probably one of the best songs that I've ever written. And it just happened so naturally, the whole song just poured out of me – and I never tried that before! That was really a magical moment. It was a cool way that song sort of came to be. So, one or the other: "Real life" or "Irony".

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