Chris Eberlein is many things. An award-winning singer, possessing a behemoth four-octave voice. A songwriter behind some of the best indie jams of the past ten years. A recording artist whose music has appeared on global radio formats and even television shows. A charismatic entertainer. Call him a "21st Century Renaissance Man" and you wouldn’t be far from the mark. So, what’s his secret? “I don't stick with just one thing,” he says. “I love growing and learning new things every single day. There's always been this passion to create and evolve as a person, as an artist. I'd rather rest on my laurels when I'm dead."
Raised in the desert plains of southern Idaho, Chris achieved local prominence early in life. His talents as an artist received accolades throughout his childhood, with some of his works being placed on display at venerable places such as the Idaho State Capitol and art galleries.
And yet despite the notoriety he achieved later in life with it, his interest in pursuing music professionally came much later. While attending a private school in his teens, his decision to take Choir turned out to be prophetic. “I chose Chorus because it wasn’t something involving sports because I suck at sports,” he muses. “I honestly didn’t expect anything to come of it. It kind of just snowballed from there and turned into this journey that I’ve been on for over half my life.” Chris’ voice and boyish charms made him an immediate, bona fide local singing sensation, taking him to the top of regional singing competitions with honors at numerous festivals and on the Contemporary Christian Music circuit in the early aughts. He was offered a development deal from a Christian label from Nashville after turning 18, but decided to attend Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music instead. “I have no regrets about that,” he says. “At the end of the day, I was far too open-minded to ever be a Christian artist."
In Boston Chris honed his singing and songwriting skills while studying under some of the industry's top brass. “My coaches were the backup singers for artists like Aretha Franklin or Chaka Khan. I was just in complete awe at all of the opportunities. I mean, I was just this kid from a small town surrounded by all these extremely talented people. It was so, so surreal.” But his high-octane four-octave voice received praise and admiration from both his teachers and peers, placing him at the forefront of the already musically elitist school. His favorite critique? “I was taking a gospel ensemble from this guy named Dennis Montgomery who is one of the top gospel guys in the country. During a rehearsal he stopped the band, pointed at me and shouted, ‘This boy can saaaaang. He’s church!’ That’s the best thing I’ve ever heard."
Chris released his first original music in 2006 after a rediscovery a la MySpace resulted in a digital music contract by iTunes, beginning with a touching ode to his disabled brother entitled “Brother (Make It Right),” earning him his first press as an indie act. In 2007 he released his first pop entry - the churning Nu-Disco number “What You’re Doing to Me" - and received acclaim for creating an innovative sound that combined elements of the underground disco and indie pop genres alongside insightful, inspired lyrics. The beginning of 2008 saw the release of his first extended play called Parnassum (a fan collector's item out of print), which featured the acclaimed suicide ballad "Black & White" (a staff-selected Track of the Week on the now-defunct GarageBand.com). That same year he released his debut LP The Way of the Door preceded by lead single “Love-Inflicted,” a shimmering slice of lilting electro-pop about a wary lover which garnered significant acclaim in the global indie community; befitting the electronic theme seen throughout much of his work, “Love-Inflicted” was highlighted for its insightful lyrics, clever rhyming and reserved, multi-track layered vocals. The song was also in the running to be offered to Madonna, but, as Chris puts it, "that really didn't go very far." “Love Is A Game” was selected as the album’s second single and subsequently received a remixed production by a Grammy-winning production duo, charting on satellite dance radio formats (it eventually won two Best Dance Single awards and remains Chris’ solo mainstream release).
Following graduation from Berklee with degrees in Music Business/Management and Performance, Chris relocated to Los Angeles in early 2009 and began working on his sophomore effort. He abandoned the dance music genre, opting instead to collaborate with the up-and-coming Boston producer Dann J by creating more Top 40-friendly fare. “Twisted Up” was released that spring, boasting euphoric poptastic vocals, backed by a Hip Hop groove and featuring an infectious melody; the song received universal acclaim from critics and listeners alike, moved over 100,000 copies (Chris’ second song after “Love Is A Game” to do so) and topped the indie Pop chart for two consecutive weeks. Says Chris on the song’s success: “I knew it was a hit when I got the rough draft, just some basic chords and drums. It just has that magical sound. It’s timeless and it opened a lot of doors for me. I always wanted to be a pop star and it was the song that got me well underway.” A promotional single "Stay Fly" was later reportedly shopped to Justin Bieber's management team.
Chris' second album In One Ear, Not Out the Other was released in the fall of 2009, but failed to maintain the momentum of its catchy first single. The underwhelming album remains a rare find to date. A final attempt to increase sales was made with the release of “Too Sick” as the disc's second single; the single reached the Top 5 on the indie Pop chart in November, but dropped off quickly, with no further promotion enacted.
Focusing on a budding modeling career throughout 2010, Chris returned to music at the start of 2011 with the one-off LGBT anthem “Fours," a scintillating club pop jam about decadence, sexual exploration and hedonism. “Lots of people were shocked when I put out ‘Fours’,” says Chris. “It was this really catchy song, but it was a niche single for me and kind of started to limit the audience I was reaching. It wasn't screaming from the rafters that it was supposed to be for the gay community, but it definitely had that underlying vibe. But it did open the door into that world for me and I'm grateful for it.” “Fours” eventually sold 100,000 copies and could be heard in European gay clubs throughout 2011.
In 2012 Chris expanded his brand by hosting venerable events such as Microsoft’s Halo 4 E3 extravaganza and appearing in Internet star and gay rights documentarian pal Ryan Yezak’s upcoming “Second Class Citizen” documentary; he remains an avid LGBT warrior: “However you look at it, gay rights are basic human rights. Everybody deserves to be able to love whomever they love and not get shit for it. I am a proud supporter of the community.”
Following his ambient dabblings beginning with experimental cuts such as "Blue Planet" and "It is...Beautiful" from 2008, Chris released the atmospheric instrumental track “Autompne-Hiver" in 2014, which he composed living in Boston as a musical interpretation of the transition from fall to winter. The single received universal critical appreciation and could be heard on rotation on NPR in the fall.
In February 2015 Chris returned to making music with the release of the folk guitar ballad “Dear Homie,” a song written about a close friend who had recently succumbed to cancer. It earned praise from fans and critics, becoming his best-selling single in the country for several months after being downloaded several thousand times over. Not As One, Chris' third studio album, was released worldwide in October of that year to general acclaim. It was preceded by “Standing There Alone,” a boisterous synth pop single that was considered a return to form for the indie pop artist (the LP's only other single).
Chris' first career retrospective Decade: The Best of Chris Eberlein is slated for release in 2017; plans for a coinciding single were confirmed in March.
Album released in 2008
Album released in 2009
Album released in 2015
Album dropping Fall 2017
“Brother (Make It Right)”
“What You’re Doing (To Me)”
“Black & White”
"I Think I Love You" [Germany-Only Single]
"Is It Really Better?" [Promotional]
“Love Is A Game”
"The Way of the Door"
“On This Magic Christmas Night”
"For the Record" [Promotional]
"Can't Stand Saying Goodbye Anymore" [Promotional]