Singer-songwriter Chris Rudd has been making the Red Carpet rounds of late. His towering presence has been seen on every Red Carpet from Omar Akram’s CD release party in 2013, to the Tribute to Urban Music Executives, to the Endless Nights Concert Series, to the 2014 International Fashion Film Awards. While it is not his favorite thing to do, it is an essential part of artist promotion and networking.
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate what these people do, but I realize kind of, that basically there’s a target audience between probably 14 to 18, and that’s who they’re selling to. Well they’re leaving out two-thirds of the population, and the reason why we’re not buying CDs is because the music is crappy. We don’t want to buy it. So I had a really brilliant idea—you want to sell to those two-thirds and the younger? Make good music!”
With the upcoming release of his new album, Chris is seeking to do just that. “This is the album I’ve been really waiting for a long time to do, and I expect it to be one of my best collaborations to date,” Chris said.
Being able to sing and make music is a gift in and of itself, but for Chris, it is a near-miraculous accomplishment. Chris was born 60 percent deaf in both ears. Yet, Chris has been able to overcome this obstacle to create catchy, and moving compositions, that incorporate complex arrangements.
Chris’ music, a combination of indie Rock and Soul, is changing the landscape of modern Rock with his thoughtful lyrics, and uplifting focus. After the 2009 release of his first album Sleepy Eyes, Chris wanted to deepen his musical experience and influence. Earlier this year he released the single Dance by Herself, and the video has over 189,000 views to date.
Chris plans to release two other singles from the album in late August: Wreck Me Twice and Out of Light. His project collaborators are the Who’s Who of Rock and Roll studio musicians: Grammy-winning mixer Tom Weir is engineering and mastering the songs; Matt Laug, has worked with Slash from Guns N Roses, and was a studio drummer on Alanis Morissette’s album Jagged Little Pill; bassist Lance Morrison was also on Jagged Little Pill; and Tim Pierce, who has played with Rick Springfield, Bon Jovi, Santana, Alanis Morissette, and Rod Stewart, added his flavor on guitar.
Along with his passion for music, Chris has a passion for seeing people escape from addiction. While some musicians first gain fame and fortune, then fall into the trap of drugs and alcohol, music was the instrument that helped extract Chris from this pathway of pain.
“I got miserable enough. I got so sad, and so upset with my life, and the fact that I couldn’t function, because I was obviously under the influence of alcohol and other substances. So, you know, I picked up a guitar while I was using, and played it for my mom and my dad.”
His parents, who adopted Chris when he was a baby, encouraged him to delve deeper, so Chris went into the studio and recorded some songs. The rawness of the product, rather than discouraging Chris’ efforts, encouraged him that he had a voice—something to say.
“So I realized, you gotta get better, you gotta work at it, and you gotta mold it, and grow as an artist, as a person. You gotta go out there and have life experiences. So that’s what kind of got me to sobriety, you know?”
Chris did get sober, and started seriously making music. What was birthed from both experiences is an avenue to help others find sobriety and a place in life. Chris currently owns and operates Advanced House Sober Living in Venice Beach, Calif. He has also completed coursework at Loyola Marymount University for alcohol and drug counseling.
“I’ve been afflicted by that, and so it kind of made me want to help. What can I do to help somebody find that higher power, to help somebody find their God, you know? To start listening to those good things that God instills within us.”
In Chris’ heart, creating music is not only an outlet for him, but a way to help fund the current, and perhaps future, sobriety centers.
“I would love the music to fund more centers, to put back into it. I’d like to be able to live on my own, but I don’t need 10 houses in Milan. So why hold on to that money? The whole purpose is to give it back, create places where they [the men in rehab] can participate and actually do stuff.”
Along with his music, and his newfound philanthropy, Chris is nurturing a newfound faith in Jesus Christ.
“Literally we come to two choices—I can go on to the end, blotting out that the fact that there’s not any type of God, I can keep going and kind of maybe I’ll live, maybe I won’t, or I can accept some form of spiritual help.”
While rehab pointed the way to a higher power, Chris came to realize that Jesus Christ was the highest expression of God’s love.
“For me, it was always Jesus, I was just refusing to see it. When I was younger, it was this religious abuse, you’re going to go to hell, all that stuff. It’s kind of like a newfound thing now. It’s kind of like when you read it with new eyes, with spiritual eyes, it kind of makes sense.
“It’s really just a fantastic, beautiful story, I mean, we’ve all heard it many times. But you kind of look at it and say, yes, life is scary. But when something bad happens, it ultimately doesn’t matter—we’re going to end up in God’s care. “
Through the healing power of music, Chris found the God who heals, and is now being used not only as a musical instrument, but an instrument of healing for those struggling with addiction.
“Really, it’s funny to say it, but it’s the journey of one foot. From here to here. And some people only travel millimeters on that journey, but a lot of these guys, you get them started on that. Some of them don’t make it, some of them relapse, and some of them never come back. But it’s worth it, because at least I’m doing something to help. It makes me feel good, it helps me to be able to sleep at night.”