I Know It’s Love
Chris Walker’s life has been a string of unbelievable coincidences. Starting in childhood and leading all the way to the release of his new CD, I Know It’s Love, fate has stepped in clearly and frequently, guiding him to where he’s supposed to be. “My life has been a journey – like you wouldn’t believe.”
Born and raised in Texas, Chris Walker began his musical voyage when he was just 5 years old, singing and playing drums in his family’s gospel group, The Walker Brothers. When the bass player stopped turning up, Walker’s father dropped the bass guitar into his son’s 7-year-old hands and the rest, as they so often say, is history. Ever since that destiny-filled day, left-handed Walker has played the bass positioned upside down. (He keeps a right-hand string set up.)
Walker continued to play music throughout his young life, performing in jazz and gospel groups and writing songs “as a hobby.” When he graduated, he longed to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City, but did not have the financial means to do so. As only a fearless 18-year-old could do, Walker sold an amp and bought a one-way ticket to the Big Apple a month into what would have been his first semester. The day after he arrived in New York, with all of $40 in his pocket, he went down to check out the school. He noticed a jam session with something missing… He got up and joined the ensemble on stage, drawing the attention of the school’s dean, who immediately offered Walker a full scholarship. Walker remembers, “I didn’t know what to say – except ‘YES!’”
Moving onto the professional playing field was another lucky draw. Ornette Coleman headed down to the New School when he was looking for some new musicians; Walker came highly recommended and got the gig. He spent the next several years touring with the influential jazz legend, and he eventually wound up working with a wide range of artists in the genre such as Michel Petrucciani, Bob James, Kirk Whalum, Gil Evans Orchestra, and Jimmy Heath while further developing his song writing prowess. Walker continued to increase the vastness of his musical realm by working with musicians including Regina Belle and Yolanda Adams, among others; he is currently with Al Jarreau, serving as his musical director, as well as contributing his diverse musical talents.
“ . . . I’m watching him and listening and learning so much,” Walker says about working with Jarreau. “It just blows my mind.”
Walker has also had the honor of collaborating with Jarreau and writing music, including some tracks for Jarreau’s GRP release All I Got. And what advice does the incomparable singer have to offer? “Stay true to music, stay true to what’s in your heart,” reports Walker.
Throughout his career, Walker has always followed his own path while making great music. In the 1990’s he was discovered by A&R impresario Ruben Rodriguez. He released two successful albums, First Time and Sincerely Yours, which sold nearly 200,000 units combined. These two acclaimed records included the Top 5 hits “Giving You All My Love” and “Take Time.”
Walker dreams of surpassing that success with the release of I Know It’s Love, a solid set of Adult Contemporary tunes. Walker co-wrote most of the songs on the album with Houston-based businessman and songwriter Ray J. Davis. His meeting Davis was, again, an act of fate. “That’s just the way my life has been – every situation,” says Walker. Davis, who has no professional musical training, had been working on some demos with another musician at Walker’s studio space. When he had to miss a session at the last minute, he asked Chris to fill in and do a favor for him, and Davis was so happy with Walker’s music that he asked to continue working with him. “Here we are, 30 songs, 40 songs later, still writing,” Walker laughs.
He and Davis work together effortlessly, sometimes writing a number in as little as four hours. “Sometimes you can beat a song to death and it will never get finished,” said Walker, “or you can get out of the way of the music and let it dictate what the song should be.” Adds Davis, “We have a hard and fast rule that there’s no pride of authorship, and anything goes as long as it works.”
The 12 tracks on I Know It’s Love showcase the various facets of that all-powerful emotion, from the thrill of romance to the desperation of unrequited passion. The songs, inspired by many different people and situations, speak with a universal resound, and Walker’s velvet voice soars with tunes such as “Have You Heard,” “I’ll Never Know,” and “Even Now.”
The lyrics for “Drifting Along,” the album’s first single, came to Davis while he and Walker were working on music: “What a day for falling in love / With a lady who I never saw / I’m standing here / Heart in my hand / So in love with you.” “I envisioned a man in a happy frame of mind, and along comes an exotic woman who he had never met, but he instantly falls in love with her,” said Davis. “It’s about happenstance meetings of people in life who may or may not ever have the opportunity to cross paths again.”
One of the standout tracks on I Know It’s Love is the country-tinged “Perfect Woman.” “I knew from the first chord that it was going to be a country song,” Walker said. He wrote “Perfect Woman” a number of years back when he was living in New York, thinking about what he would want in a lady; “I found that in my wife,” he says lovingly. Another captivating song is the beautiful duet, “Can We Make Believe.” Singing along with Walker on this instantly-appealing tune is Rosalyn Brunswick McDuffie, a Houston-based vocalist known for her impassioned gospel singing and stage performances.
A third of the proceeds from sales of I Know It’s Love will be donated to the American Diabetes Association. The disease has touched Walker deep in his heart; he was practically raised by a woman by the name of Miss Mary Glenn, who passed away many years ago from diabetes. As the number of people with diabetes rises exponentially, Walker says, “We want to do whatever we can to help find a cure. Through music, hopefully we can make a difference.” By working with Ray J. Davis and Canvas Records on release of I Know It’s Love and by donating money to diabetes research, perhaps Chris Walker will cause something truly unbelievable to happen.
For more information, contact:
Canvas Records/Canvasrecords.com 713-895-9742