- 16 Jan 19
Currently in studio with Billy Farrell (The Corrs, Westlife) and Darren Holden (The High Kings, Billy Joel), some industry insiders are already predicting hits
Just a couple years into his career, Chris Leonard has already had sizeable highs and lows. He’s played to some of the biggest arenas in Ireland and U.K. due to his appearance on The X-Factor which has given him a taste of what's it's like at the top.
On the flip side, he has had it taken away from him in the blink of an eye, he says: “That's just how these things go, it's made me tougher, smarter and more prepared. I've never felt more ready and confident than I do right now.”
On Tuesday evening, the singer-songwriter (just 22 years old) played a charming debut gig upstairs at Whelan’s backed by his young live band. After the gig, he caught up with Hot Press. On the agenda; his song-writing process, performance anxiety, and plans for the coming year.
When and why did you start playing music?
I started playing when I was around four years old. My old man is a trad and ballad musician so I was exposed to music at a very young age. I remember being about five years old at my dad’s gig and sitting on the side of the stage using a box of Pringles as a drum and giving out to people who were trying to give me money because they were interrupting my playing.
Who are your inspirations musically?
That’s a tough one because growing up I had lots of different influences. I would find bits and pieces of different artists I thought were sick like Keith Richards, Phil Lynott, Marc Bolan and Shane McGowan. Whether it was stage presence or their fashion sense, I’d take those bits and pieces and mould them to suit myself.
Talk us through your creative process
It's something that comes and goes as it pleases. When I write, I don't say to myself "okay, I'm going sit down and write a song now," because I feel like I'm forcing myself to write then and I don't think I come up with my best material in that situation. I tend to write better when it comes spontaneously. I could be sitting watching a movie or eating lunch - a hook or a lyric will come into my head and when it does that's when I act. I grab my guitar and get down to it, that's how all the songs on my debut album have been written.
How would you describe your music?
I've been asked this question quite a bit and I have yet to come up with a definitive answer that describes to people what my music actually sounds like. It's essentially Pop music with a trad influence. I can't think of anybody out there that I can compare it to, which I suppose is a good thing. All I can say is, when you hear the hooks and the tunes throughout the songs, they will get into your head straight away and put a smile on your face. It's feel good music that everyone can enjoy. There is nothing pretentious or overly complicated about it, just good music that makes you want have a good time.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
All my songs are written on real life experiences which I'm buzzed about because it means there is something real in my music. I wouldn't say there is a hidden meaning as such but I reckon the people I've written about will hear them and through the little details they’ll will know that the songs are letters to them. If people hear my music and can relate or feel something from my lyrics, then I've done something right.
What is your collaboration process with other songwriters and producers like?
Brilliant. I've worked on this album with Billy Farrell & Darren Holden. I couldn't have asked for two better people to do this with. It's been a massive learning experience for me and working with them both, feeding off their experience has been great and something I've really made the most of.
How do you deal with performance anxiety?
I wouldn't say anxiety is something I've ever suffered with. Don't get me wrong, I get nervous and brick it from time to time but that's normal in my opinion. It pushes you and becomes energy for the stage, so for me in the end, it becomes a massive bonus to have those pre show jitters.
Describe the relationship you have with your fans?
The fans are brilliant and I speak to them all the time. I've been fortunate enough to have been on some of the biggest music platforms in the world and because of that, I've built a fan base that is worldwide. They are all incredible. The truth of it is, If they weren't there, I wouldn't be doing shows, it's as simple as that. Tonight was my first ever show in Whelan's and it was completely sold out. There were fans from all over the U.K. and people also travelled from Holland just to be here. I will never be able to thank them enough for the support.
Plans for 2019?
I'm releasing my first single ‘Fix’ in the coming weeks. On a personal level it's probably the most exciting thing I've done so far. Then I will be playing festivals and shows throughout the year which will be followed by the release of an album. 2019 is a massive year for me.
To anyone that's reading and is planning on coming to one of my shows bring your Dancing Shoes and I'll see you there. Let the fun begin!