Hailing from Tennessee, the musician, actor, dancer, and all-around innovator arrives with one hell of a voice (no pun intended), and even more impressive vocal range and songwriting abilities. Fusing the genres of Pop, R&B, and Soul, Blue’s raw talents on national television swooned the hearts of audiences all around the world.
With his voice holding healing power itself, Chris describes himself as “a guy who loves God, loves family, loves people. Loves the way love feels, loves music, loves to perform for people. Chris does a lot of things. He’s an actor, he’s a dancer, he’s a singer.
He’s one who carries truth everywhere he goes, “a carrier of gospel.”
Now partnering with Roc Nation/Equity Distribution, Blue returns with his standout new single titled “Back 2 The Future,” a record that speaks volumes to the current state of the world.
AllHipHop caught up with Chris Blue in London, where he was working and spending time with family. Read below as we discuss his upbringing in Tennessee, what he learned from The Voice, the inspiration behind his new single/video, studio essentials, and his upcoming “The Chris Blue Project.”
AllHipHop: Being from Tennessee, what was the household like growing up?
Chris Blue: Household was crazy. I’m the youngest of 7 kids so a lot of them would beat up on me because I’m the baby. I got the flack of a lot of stuff, but I also got to see a lot of my siblings get whooped up on and I learned a lot of their lessons. It was great man, always good times. We always had fun, we always laughed. Now that I’m much older, I really really enjoy having a big family because during the holiday season it’s always a good time. It’s been great growing up as a kid in Tennessee.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize you wanted to sing for the rest of your life?
Chris Blue: At 2 years old. My mom and dad used to always have us in church all the time, literally 5 to 7 days a week. I remember I was watching this gospel singing group, I liked what they do, I liked how they sound. I liked how people respond to them when they sing, so I started trying it. I started mimicking videos, I enjoyed the response people would give me when I’d sing. I said “this is really what I want to do.”
I knew it’s what I was supposed to do when I tried out for The Voice because I really didn’t think I was good enough to be on the show. Didn’t think I was good enough to win, but I knew I was supposed to be there for some reason. Winning and seeing all the different messages that people gave me then and still to this day give me now. Somebody messaged me today saying how much they still only enjoy my season, how my voice and what I did on that show really inspired them.
AllHipHop: What did you learn about yourself on the show?
Chris Blue: I learned I belong on this level, on the level with top artists. I belong on stages with the Usher’s of the world, with the Alicia Keys’ of the world. I belong on stages with A-list artists who have paved the way for me to be on stages such as The Voice. If you work extremely hard and you continue to keep pushing and persevere through the difficult times, eventually you’ll win. We’re able to win literally on that show. I learned that very quickly in my experience.
AllHipHop: How was it doing the duet alongside Alicia Keys?
Chris Blue: It was a lot of things man. [laughs] It was great! What’s funny was my fiance at the time wasn’t familiar with the music industry or music, she didn’t understand performing. When we did the song vocally, it was great but there were some theatrical expressions we had to do throughout the song. I never told my fiance what we’re going to do so when she saw it, she’s like “okay, so you wasn’t gonna tell me you gon’ hold another woman in front of the whole world?” It was still all good, all funny and all love. On a serious note, performing with her was amazing. She’s a beast vocalist, an amazing person, a genius musician. It was an experience that honestly if I could do it again, I’d do it a billion times over because she’s Alicia Keys! [laughs]
AllHipHop: “Back 2 the Future (Louder)” out now, what were you going through recording this one?
Chris Blue: You know what, we didn’t intend to write the song. We didn’t even intend to release the song to be honest. We wrote it thinking “alright we’ll release it in 2021,” because 2020 has been such a tough year for everyone. Watch this one out, we’ll come back and revisit next year. There’s a line in the song that says “I’ve been dreaming of Wakanda,” a reference or nod to the Black Panther movie. Chadwick Boseman’s the lead actor, he’s the Black Panther.
AllHipHop: Rest in peace.
Chris Blue: Chadwick passed away the very next day. That’s when I knew because the song felt really special to me. I wanted to release music period next year but when we recorded the song before Chadwick passed away, it felt especially real good. If you know anything about recording in the booth, you have those days, those songs where it takes time. It really takes time to cultivate and craft the song, the take, the performance that you’re most proud of and the one that tells the story the best. Then you have those songs where it literally takes you one take, maybe 2. This song took us 15 minutes to finish, that’s when I realized I needed to release the song after Chadwick Boseman passed away. Rest in peace.
AllHipHop: Talk about the 80’s New York vibes influence in the record.
Chris Blue: I’m a huge fan of 80’s music, I’m inspired by all those guys. Al Green, Stevie Wonder, those timeless, classic legends have been a very big inspiration in my life musically. Currently, Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, The Weeknd have also played a major role and influenced me. I have a lot of history in New York. I spent a lot of time up there and I love the culture. I love the city, I love the people. I love it up there. I wanted to blend all the things I love about music and life, and put it in a song. That’s how we’ve been able to cultivate our sound and style we want to give people. You’ll see me sometimes, I’ll look 80’s retro. I look like a throwback. If you go back to the show, you’ll hear me. I’m singing a bunch of 80’s throwback stuff. It’s in me. I think I was born at the wrong time. [laughs]
AllHipHop: The music video is so powerful, what inspired you to pull from each generation?
Chris Blue: It’s important we understand the message of the song, “Back 2 the Future.” It’s an outcry for unity, not hate. It’s an outcry for love and unification. I grew up in a culture where I had all types of friends, all types of ethnic groups and cultures around me. Even though I’m in a small town. I loved on everybody. We grew up poor but in my community, every type of person you could imagine was there. I was never one to have cliques, only hang out with this group or that group. I wanted to be cool with everybody, that’s always been me.
The message of the song is crying out for love and unity for all, that’s what I wanted to present in the video. You take a message we’re currently feeling right now in our climate today, you can reference it back to the 1950’s and 60’s when my grandmother was around protesting and crying out. Crying for you to love, it’s the same thing. My grandmother’s been saying it, my mama, and now I’m saying it. I’m praying to God I’m the last one of my generation to say it. I pray that my children and my children’s children won’t have to say it. If you don’t hear what we’re saying by now, we’re going to keep saying it louder and louder and louder and louder! Until you hear love will always win.
AllHipHop: Favorite scene in this visual?
Chris Blue: I was a big fan of the hospital and the straightjacket scene, because I got to play a doctor. When I was a little boy, I said I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. The 2 professions I wanted because they make a lot of money, and I wanted to make a lot of money when I got older. Obviously my life went in a different direction so I didn’t end up being that doctor or attorney, but I got to play one. My first time ever wearing scrubs, it was cool.
AllHipHop: Talk about your new deal with Roc Nation/Equity Distribution.
Chris Blue: I didn’t see that one coming at all, it just happened. I was out, I was getting some Japanese food because I love Japanese food and I get a call from my team. They said “yo guess what?” I said “what now?” [laughs] They said “you got a deal!’ What you mean I got a deal? “You got a deal with Equity Distribution, they work with Roc Nation and a whole bunch of different…” ‘What?! What you mean? “You got the deal!” So I’m flippin’ out, I started screaming like a little girl. Break the glass in my car window. [laughs] It was very dope.
Equity Distribution is a great company, good group of people. Fine staff, amazing team. They go hard for their artists so I was really excited. That’s who I’m signed to, a lot of people say it’s Roc Nation but it’s really Equity Distribution. I want to clear that up, make sure everybody knows. They work alongside majors like Roc Nation and some others.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Chris Blue: I need water, preferably Essentia or Fiji. I need plain Lay’s potato chips, and I’ll take some plain red juicy grapes. As long as I got even 2 out of 3, I’m good. I’m easy. Honestly, I like to get in, do what we gotta do, get moving on to the next one. I’m not spending too much time worrying about my atmosphere because I’m so locked in inwardly, it really doesn’t matter. I need what I need for my throat, make sure my voice is good and we all good.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from The Chris Blue Project?
Chris Blue: Expect a vacation, because that’s what I go on every time I listen to this music. I don’t feel like I’m in my reality, I don’t feel I’m in my own skin. I’m taking a trip, a journey somewhere else and I’m escaping my reality. We all need to escape 2020, Even when 2020’s done, in our mind we need help forgetting it ever happened for the most part.
There was some good that came out of this year but definitely a lot of hardship, a lot of challenges many people faced. You can expect high energy, dance, uplifting but upbeat, fun, heartfelt music. A mix of pop, retro, R&B, and dance. A whole lot of fun. I can’t wait for people to have it because it’s what people have been wanting from me. I’m giving the people what they want, so I hope they enjoy it as much as I’m enjoying it.