VALLEY – Chris Gill has to feel the song when he sings.
Those emotions show through when his fingers are either pressing the piano keys or strumming his guitar strings, and when he displays his thoughts through his lyrics.
The emerging country artist is in the midst of recording an album – Gone – and the first single is climbing up the charts. In fact, ‘Gotta Lotta Livin To Do’ just won an online emerging artist showcase on CJKC, a country radio station in Kamloops, B.C., with 84 per cent of the vote.
“To make it real, I have to relate to my song,” said Gill, 56, a Corner Brook native who has been living in the Truro area for about 20 years now.
The father of a 16-year-old daughter said he’d never touched a piano until about five years ago when he divorced from his wife of 20 years.
“My father said that only a handful of people get to experience real love, and I was one of them,” he said. “I didn’t see anything other than what was around me at the time. I never touched a piano before she left.”
Since then, Gill has been expressing his emotions through song, including one dedicated to his ex-wife. It was his daughter who inspired him to write his songs.
“If not for the piano, I don’t think I’d be here today,” he said. “This is not just about me. Music helps everybody. It’s one of those things that brings everyone together.”
Following the demise of his marriage, Gill’s friends pushed him to the point of sending him to Nashville, where he met a number of producers including Paul Scholten, who worked on Gotta Lotta Livin To Do.
He’s hoping for a fall release of Gone, which will feature a song that pays homage to his ‘teachers’ – Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.
“I put my whole music career on hold for my family, but this is me showing my kids that dreams do come true and you don’t quit. By seeing what’s out there, that’s what is making me drive.”
The country artist said there are four sides to him – happy, hurt, tough (he’s a martial artist), and “everyday, ordinary Chris.”
“When I talk to people, I truly listen to them,” he said. “I hear everything they tell me, that’s why I write songs. I need to know who you are.”
While Gill doesn’t know exactly when Gone will be ready for release, he does have plans on having an album launch for it at a local establishment, such as the Marigold Cultural Centre.
“There won’t be a dry eye in the house,” he promised.
ABOUT CHRIS GILL:
- Age: 56
- Lives: Valley
- Originally from: Corner Brook, NL; has been in the Truro area for 20 years
- Interests: writing his own songs and performing
- Musical instruments: piano, guitar, drums
- Other hobbies: martial arts
- Grew up listening to: Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis
- Favourite songwriter: John Lennon
- Currently working on: Gone, hopefully to be released this fall
- Current single: Gotta Lotta Livin To Do