When pop music began, most artists spent a week or two recording and mixing an album. Chris Bryan just spent 16 months recording “The Sum of my Habits.” Apparently, it’s difficult to find time for the studio when you’re finishing up college and student teaching.
“The majority of the material for this album was created while grading essays and drinking red wine,” Bryan admits. “I would give somebody a B+ and then run to my bedroom to write down a melody.”
Bryan, a Hope College graduate, is somewhat beside himself with the knowledge that he spent 60,000 dollars on a college degree – an arguably unnecessary piece of paper for a touring musician - but Chris says he feels at least a “little bit” smarter.
In his third year in Michigan at Hope College, Chris recorded his first album, “Shades of Blue,” with longtime friend and producer, Nick Sleik. Unfortunately, with a full load of college classes, they were burdened with the inability to fully promote it. Fortunately, good music has a way of getting heard. The album soon sold in all 50 states, and the reviews from the press couldn’t have been better. He was dubbed, “The next John Mayer,” by Plugged-In-Music, received a four-star rating from “Discovering Artists,” and “Impact Sites” recognized him as “a name you will be hearing a lot of in the music world for years to come.”
Now, with the release of his sophomore effort, “The Sum of my Habits,” Chris Bryan has further proven himself to be a major force among singer/songwriters. Delicately balancing between jazz, pop, and blues, Bryan has blended a variety of musical genres and created a truly unique sound.
“I felt like Shades of Blue was my attempt to prove to the world that I can be clever,” Bryan claims. “Like the line: ‘The future’s just erasable history’ (quoting “Day to Day”), that’s clever. But it doesn’t carry much emotional content with it. The interpretation of the line sort of ends right there – it’s cut and dry. I feel like I’m done trying to prove to the world that I can write clever lines with quick rhyme schemes. Music isn’t supposed to be a puzzle, it’s supposed to express the truth about my place in the world and how I feel about that particular place. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t try to write anything with wit, or that rhyme schemes aren’t important, because I do and they are, but the reason I’m so pleased with “The Sum of my Habits,” is that the material is more earnest, straightforward, and heartfelt. These songs are a true expression of my habits – the way I interact with my life emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.”
“The title of the album is actually borrowed from Aristotle,” Bryan reveals. “In some of my reading I came across an Aristotelian statement which argued that a man’s character is simply ‘the sum of his habits.’ I like that. Someone can talk the day away about who they want to be and what their future holds, but in actuality, we’re just the sum of our habits. I wanted to address this issue head-on with the new album. I wanted each song to be an insight into my character – my thoughts, my dreams, my fears, and consequently, my habits."
The album is packed with emotionally charged material, from “Seasons” – a quiet prayer for change, to “Thousand Times Goodbye” – a painfully honest description of the difficulties in letting go of a relationship. The 16 months of tireless work have resulted in an incredibly revealing and personal collection of songs that show a well developed talent for imagery and metaphor, as well as a performer’s charm. With the strength of this new album and the nationwide recognition Chris Bryan is gaining, it seems inevitable that people will be more than satisfied in making “The Sum of my Habits” one of their favorite listening habits.