Singer/songwriter, latest album, The Upside of Down
3-time Dove Award winner, including prestigious “New Artist Of The Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year,” as well as in the category for “Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year” for debut album, No Far Away (2010).
Chris August Shares The Upside of Down
The 700 Club
DISCOVERING GOD AND GETTING DISCOVERED
Chris August grew up around music and absolutely loved it, and his involvement with music as a child wasn't limited to listening to the record player. His dad had put a home studio together that consisted of a few guitars, keyboard, drum machine and the standard 4track recorder. “I would pluck around on each of these, but didn't get serious with them until years later when my dreams of being in the NBA fell through because of asthma...and a lack of talent,” says Chris. Turning 15 was a big turning point in Chris’ life. “This was the year that I would start playing, writing and recording music; and most importantly, become a Christian,” he says. Chris gave his life to Christ after he was suckered into going to church by a girl from school whom he thought was cute. “It just so happened her youth group met at a place that was known for its break dancing. I arrived Sunday evening (wind pants and all) ready to show off and perfect my Usher-like moves, only to find out there would be no break dancing, but instead, a church service for teenagers. I would have been mad, but there was free pizza and who can complain about that?” He says that even though his reason for going to church wasn’t the best, once he was there, he heard the Gospel and came back week after week to hear more. “I had grown up with Christian beliefs my entire life, but I was finally starting to understand what giving my life to Christ meant. I now had two new and unrefined loves in my life,
While at church, Chris gained a love for worship songs. He’d recently received a keyboard as a birthday gift, so he started learning to play the worship songs. Eventually, he was asked to help lead the music for the youth group. “I would show up week in and week out with my keyboard, amp and a binder of songs to sing to God with my friends. My faith was growing and so were my musical abilities. It was then that I added acoustic guitar to my repertoire, opening the door for me to sing, perform and travel.” Over the years, he started adding pieces of recording gear to his collection. “The moment I was done with school I would immediately come home and work on my latest song,” Chris says. At age 22, he was ready to release my first self-produced, recorded, mixed and mastered independent album. It had been finished for about seven months when he says his life took a dramatic turn. A singer/songwriter named Ryan Cabrera had gotten a hold of Chris’ album and wanted to work with him. “Within two weeks of Ryan hearing my music, I signed a management deal with Joe Simpson, father of Jessica and Ashlee, and a record contract with Geffen Records.” Chris moved to Los Angeles in January of 2005 to work on his first album with Geffen. While there, he worked with recording artists such as Brian McKnight, Jessica Simpson, Ryan Cabrera and many more. In the fall of 2005, Ashlee Simpson asked him to go on tour with her. “I would open for her, and play keys during her performance. I ended up playing with her for a year- traveling around the world doing what I loved,” he says.
In January of 2008, after restructuring at Geffen Records, Chris ended up back in his hometown of Garland, TX. “It had been two years since I was involved with a church. I missed leading worship. I missed writing Christian songs. I missed the feeling of conviction,” he says. He started playing keys at a nearby church and ended up leading their worship pretty frequently. “It felt great to be playing Christian music again.” After he’d been back in Dallas for a year, he realized he hadn’t written a Christian song in a while. “I wanted to write a song that was a rededication of my music and my life to Jesus. On January 18, 2009 I wrote 'Starry Night.' Little did I know this song would change my life,” he says. His indie release of 'Starry Night' somehow made its way to Nashville, TN, and caught the attention of the right person who was ready to give him a chance. “I decided to pack up and move to Nashville and start the next venture of my life.” In 2010, he released his debut Christian album, No Far Away, to rave reviews. He quickly became a fan-favorite in the Christian music industry. In 2011, he swept the Dove Awards, winning an impressive three awards, including the prestigious “New Artist Of The Year” and “Male Vocalist of the Year” as well as in the category for “Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year” for his debut album. He earned the most awards of any new artist that year. “I’m absolutely speechless,” shared Chris at the time. “I am truly blessed to be able to make and share music. And then to receive this recognition is quite humbling.”
Chris says his latest album shows a more soulful side than the first. Early reviews have been favorable and the lead single is already making its way up the charts, proving once again that the self-taught pianist, guitarist, and producer is an artist in his own right and a mainstay in the Christian music industry. “People often ask me what I want listeners to walk away with after hearing my music. My response is that I want to write music that people can relate to. I hope my music speaks to them within their own lives and becomes something they can turn on any day of the week and in any season in life. I hope that when someone listens to my music, they learn something about me, something about themselves, and most importantly about the God who creates starry nights.”
On April 24 of this year, Chris had a skateboarding accident and ended up in the ICU with a serious subdural brain hemorrhage. He still has no memory of the day of the accident, but the support of his fans and the Christian music industry, as a whole, will stay with him forever. He says when he couldn’t drive, people would bring him things he needed. Other artists were texting him messages and many people were praying for him. One result of the accident was that Chris lost his sense of smell. In a radio interview he said it was weeks before he realized it was gone. It’s something you don’t think about all the time, he says, until you realize one day that you can’t smell the perfume you are spraying, or the food you are eating. He’s now doing great, but it could take up to a year for full recovery.
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