The definition of Sophisticated Soul is often a phrase used to describe Southern California artist Chris Morris. However his diversity reaches far beyond that. As a keyboardist, songwriter, producer and vocalist, his diverse and unique style is drenched in Jazz, Reggae, Pop, Funk and Hip-Hop. He has garnered a reputation as a seasoned veteran who over the years has significantly seen his musical resume expand both as a solo artist and an on demand stage and studio presence.
Chris' new album, "Changes" offers a glimpse into his musical heritage. Each song sounds different from the next, yet there is continuity due to Chris' unique writing and mixing capabilities. "Let Your Hair Down," is soulful instant vintage at its finest. An upbeat groove with a nostalgic yet currently accessible vibe that sounds like it could be a cross between 'Curtis Mayfield' and 'Justin Timberlake.' "Another Day to Run," is a dramatically inspirational song which musically reflects his rekindled love of reggae. Its anchored by a haunting trombone melody, shredding organ solo and soaring vocals complete with elaborate harmonies. Chris began work on the album around the time of his Father's passing in early 2012. It served as a sense of musical therapy for him during that traumatic time. He pays tribute on the song "One of a Kind," which is the only definitive phrase one could use to describe him. Other notable highlights include the high energy dance/funk of "Up Up and Away," the downtempo electronica inspired "Cheap Champagne," an unearthed 'Stevie Wonder' treasure "Why Don't You Come Home," and a cover of the 'David Bowie' classic, "Changes" which is an accurate description of what this collection of songs reflects.
In 2009 through what could only be described as a twist of fate, Chris joined the San Diego based roots-reggae band 'Roots Covenant.' This collaboration has added a new dimension in Chris' diversity and stage experience. In addition to performing original material, they also serve as an all star backing band for iconic reggae artists both locally and on tour. Alongside his bandmates, Chris has shared the stage with an impressive list of legendary artists including 'Johnny Osbourne,' 'the Melodians,' 'Earl Zero,' 'Sister Nancy,' 'Edi Fitzroy,' 'Steve Knight,' 'Little John' and 'Tristan Palma' to name a few. Recently, Chris has also been seen frequently sitting in and touring with the incredible San Diego Music Award winning band 'Stranger.' It's only the beginning of these collaborations and one that seems certain to produce legendary results.
Chris, with the encouragement of his parents, began piano lessons at the age of 5. At 6 years old, they took him to see the legendary rock band with horns 'Chicago' in concert and he knew that night what his true calling was. At 10 he began playing the trombone. He was a member of the Marching Band, Show Choir, Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band at Oceanside High School in Oceanside, CA where he was born and raised. He immediately began pursuing his professional career after graduation by playing with local bands like 'Shocks of Mighty,' 'Willie Dee & the Experience,' and 'Egyptian Acid Rock.' He released the album "volume one: definition," in 2000. Chris followed it with a string of albums which found him experimenting with his sound. 2001's "the sneak peek ep," 2002's "kristalinjae: somebody's coming" and 2003's "christyle: the lion roars" while very solid efforts, found Chris searching for his true indentity as an artist. After years of performing throughout San Diego county, he moved to the San Fernando Valley in the greater Los Angeles county area in an effort to take his quest to another level.
In 2004 Chris began a historic journey and co-founded the band 'Funktuation.' Rooted in breakbeats, late 70's funk and classic hip-hop, they jumped on to the underground San Diego scene performing hundreds of shows at B-Boy jams, countless Southern California venues and even the inaugural 'Rock the Bells' music festival. Though never officially disbanding, they stopped performing in 2007 and talks of reunion shows have never ceased.
Towards the tail end of Funktuation's run, Chris connected with a collective of artists based out of Orange County that would eventually turn out to be the developmental stages of the label "Full Volume Records." Alongside the production duo 'Team Ice,' he co-wrote a library of songs ranging from Pop, R&B, Dance and Hip-Hop that was truly ahead of its time. He was a writer on a song that would be the morning show theme song for the Stevie Wonder owned Los Angeles radio station KJLH (102.3). Through them he was also given the opportunity to form relationships and be mentored by industry giants 'Dwight Bibbs' and the late 'Skip Miller' who was instrumental in Motown's history. Chris rediscovered his voice around this time and got the urge to once again pursue his endeavors as a solo artist. He began recording what would be the still unreleased album "the Catalyst" which spawned songs he still performs to this day.
"the Catalyst" defines Chris' positivity and enlightening personality. This is most evident in what he considers his mission statement, the song "Wonderful Life." The feel good classic would be Chris' first music video and appropriately shot in his hometown of Oceanside, CA. The same night in which "Wonderful Life" was filmed, a music video for his song "Can I Have This Dance?" was also filmed. It was a high school reunion of sorts as it featured many of Chris' best friends and a plethora of up and coming models. In 2010, that two-step anthem was featured on the popular online video game "Audition Online" alongside superstar artists like 'Ne-Yo' and 'Lady Gaga.' The success of this song led to the opportunity to travel to Canada for a short but mighty promotional tour with radio interviews and numerous meet and greets. His travels were documented on film and released as the official music video for his song "Let's Get Out of Here." A collaboration with Chicago based producer 'Bangghz' spawned the soulful "I Fell For U," which was also the subject of a music video documenting the first weekend spent together of what would turn out to be a long term and distanced relationship for Chris. Though it ultimately didn't work out, it was instrumental in his personal development.
Fast forward to 2013 and we find that Chris has found his sound and is ready for the world. Enlightened and inspired, opportunities are plentiful. Songs from his new album "Changes" have already been played around the world on blogs, podcasts and internet radio stations even prior to its release. And with a busy schedule of shows scheduled throughout the year, it appears there's no end in sight for Chris Morris.