Danish singer Christopher is not ashamed to admit that pop music has become formulaic. In fact, he embraces it. This isn’t the popular opinion amongst music lovers, but that doesn’t seem to deter the 25-year-old. He’s hell-bent on writing a song that people all over the world will sing while in their showers and he’s confident the naysayers will come around too. We catch up with him over some coffee at the JW Marriott Hotel Singapore over at South Beach to find out what makes him tick.
How did you first start out?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My parents tell me I’ve been climbing on tabletops singing my lungs out from as young as 4 or 5 years old. I have always loved the attention. I have a younger brother who’s the complete opposite though. He’s really shy, and prefers staying out of the limelight.
When I was about 12 years old, I started picking up the guitar. I’d watch tutorials of various people playing songs by Jason Mraz, John Mayer and other singer/songwriters. Over time I got pretty decent, and even ended winning a talent competition in school. That’s when I knew I wanted to do this for a living.
How would you describe your music?
Well, it’s more singer/songwriter styled. It has many different elements but I tend to focus on guitars and funk. I love that sound. Like many people describe it, it’s basically pop.
How much of your own music do you write?
I write all of it. Well, I do collaborations with artists on my records but I always have a hand in the writing progress. I don’t feel comfortable putting music on my album that I haven’t worked on. I have to feel passionate about it. It has to be my own creation.
It has been said that pop music has begun sounding all the same. Do you agree?
I guess to a certain extent that’s true. I can see why people are saying that. A lot of times the songs sound the same. Almost like a formula. But, if it works, and the song sounds great, then why not? I’m not ashamed to admit that. People can say what they want about pop music but if you’re able to create a tune that will have people from all around the world like Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, then I consider that a success.
But in that case, how do you stand out?
As a pop artist, what I strive to do is put myself in all of my music. Hopefully that’s enough to make it stand out from other acts.
How much say does a record label have on the music you make?
The record label doesn’t really impose much on my music. My record producer is the one who influences my album the most. Every piece of music I create goes to him first, and then he gives me his input. He tells me what works and what doesn’t, and helps me align the music to what we want to accomplish for that album. Most importantly, he gives me input on which should be the first singles to go out. The music industry right now right now is very much single-driven. The first single you put out can make or break an album. My two managers, my parents, and my girlfriend also give me their input on which singles I should release first. I can’t stress enough how important this part of the process is.
Do you have role models when it comes to music?
Yes, I have quite a few, actually. Growing up I listened to singer/songwriters like Jason Mraz and John Mayer a lot, so you’ll find a lot of their influences in my music. Right before we left on this press tour however, I managed to catch Bruno Mars live, and I was absolutely blown away by his performance. He was annoyingly good. His stage presence was impeccable, his voice and energy was amazing, and then he grabbed his guitar and killed it with a solo. I just thought to myself, “Fuck this guy, man” (laughs). But honestly, it made me want to get right back into the studio and practice. The goal is to get that good.
What is the song writing process like for you?
It really varies for me. Some days, it’s as simple as stringing four chords together, or writing a piece of lyric that resonates with me. Sometimes it takes me two hours, and other times it can take up to two months. It all really depends.
The Modern Gentleman. What is that to you?
(laughs) That is a good question. Who is he to you? Well, back in Denmark, I’d say the modern gentleman is not necessarily your stereotypical masculine hunk anymore. The definition has become more accepting. The Modern Gentleman is now more about being yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re homosexual, have red hair, or a huge beard. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and also accepting other people as they are. That, to me, is the modern gentleman.