Atlanta, GEORGIA, US
Artist / Band / Musician
A scrappy little kid with a guitar.
That’s how Chris Cauley describes himself. But anyone who thinks that’s all there is to this talented singer/songwriter/musician doesn’t know the difference between a dandelion and a rose.
With chiseled features that rival those of any Hollywood star, a voice flavored with soul and passion and songs born of the kind of pain and angst that come from being brokenhearted and misunderstood, Chris Cauley is a creative genius whose time has come.
At the age of 23, Chris has lived through the pain and heartbreak of a man twice his age and he has the emotional scars to prove it. His music is filled with his own experiences, thoughts, and fears.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Chris grew up listening to the masters of soul. “When I was coming up my mom always had Stevie Wonder records and Donny Hathaway records laying around the house so I’ve always been exposed. I was raised as a church boy, singing in the choir, hearing all those really tight harmonies at a young age. That kind of jumpstarted my interest.”
Chris was a middle schooler when he first picked up a guitar. “It kinda came natural,” he recalls. “I never took a lesson, had no formal teaching. It was all by ear. From growing up, listening to it, I sort of knew what I wanted it to sound like. It just kinda took off from there.” Though he enjoyed his music, Chris says he never expected to make a career out of it. “It was just a fun thing for me and my friends to do.”
But Chris soon went from playing around with his friends to sitting in on shows and by the time he went to college he had become a member of a trio called the Broken Poets. The band enjoyed some local success before they went their separate ways and Chris embarked on a solo career and eventually came to the attention of Augusta, GA-based indie Red Drum Records.
“Fish Out Of Water,” Chris’ debut for Red Drum is a musical treasure trove full of songs about love and life, some of which are about his own experiences while others are purely the product of his imagination. “Some of it can be very personal and some of it just comes from me wanting to hear something that day. I’ll wake up and I’ll wanna hear a particular style song and I’ll go and write it. I don’t wanna sit by the radio and wait for something to come on. I’ll just go write it.” His lead single, “Picture Perfect,” was born that way.
“I couldn’t tell you how that came out,” he laughs. “I just kinda sat down one day and that was it. And there are other songs that are really personal, songs I spent many late nights writing.”
One such song is the unforgettable “Figure It Out,” a gem whose simple message about a lover yearning to know where he stands tugs relentlessly at the heart strings. “That’s a very personal song. If you read it on paper you would be like, ‘Wow. It’s really deep stuff.’ I put it with a very simple melody which I think really kind of balances it out.”
Chris’ inclination to keep things uncluttered and uncomplicated is apparent throughout the album. “On this album for the most part I tried to keep the melodies real simple. There’s no fancy guitar riffs; it’s really simple.” The title track, which Chris refers to as a “musicians’ anthem,” truly follows that formula.
“Every time I play it if I’m in a club and the room is really loud there is suddenly complete silence. The song is pretty much about a guy being young and kinda putting everything else aside for his dream. It kinda talks about everybody else who is after the suit and tie job, the business corporate kinda thing, how everybody is running toward that and I’m running away from that. There’s a line in it that says ‘You think I’d be scared of this unstable life but what I am really scared of is turning into you.”
Chris experiments with genres on the eclectic “Giving Up On Me.” “It just kinda starts off with a real bluesy electric kind of solo and that’s kinda odd for me to write because I’m interested in ballads and soft voices. It’s got a real driven beat to it. That’s a personal favorite of mine as far as instrumentation goes.” Chris says he likes crossbreeding genres. “You can take anything from one extreme to another,” he explains. “There are some ballads that I have written that could be country songs. I don’t perform them that way but someone could take them and turn them into great country ballads or a modern acoustic soulful kind of thing and everything in between.”
One of the most intriguing songs on the set is “Stone Statue Face,” a song that goes where few others dare to go. “It kinda deals with how most guys today run from any type of emotion and they feel like they have to have a shield. We are supposed to be strong but in reality we feel the same things that women feel. So the song talks about someone going through a rough time and he’s running from it. All I needed was to say ‘It’s okay. You don’t have to put on a mask’.”
And Chris Cauley follows his own advice, sharing his innermost feelings with the world and showing us all who he really is – no masks, no disguises, no gimmicks. Just a ‘scrappy little kid with a guitar.’
-Rhonda Baraka of the Soulstice Media Group
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