by Logan Deiner
On Sunday, June 30th, Chris Urquiaga will be performing at the DC 9. Chris is a singer/songwriter with a very bold and unique take on music, with influences from all over the world. He has a very flamboyant and theatrical persona on stage, taking many cues from artists like Elton John in that regard. Chris takes these influences and Frankensteins a concoction that is super profound, yet easily accessible to anyone. Equally diverse is what he chooses to sing and write about. From deep and complex political issues, to uplifting and enjoyable love songs that are perfect for thinking about that special someone. Chris is the main singer and songwriter, with an ever changing cast of equally talented instrumental musicians. Currently, aside from Chris Urquiaga, there is Alexander Gallows on guitar, Andrew Musslmen on bass, and Joey Antico on drums. Chris is assuring concert goers that they can expect “a pretty high energy set” from him and the band, with lots of catchy pop songs and smooth romantic ballads, with perhaps even some commentary to enrich your mind.
Chris Urquiaga was born a first generation American immigrant, with ancestry from Spain and with a mother born in Brazil and a father born in Peru. Chris’s mother, who he takes a great deal of influence from, always listened to a lot of different types of music, including traditional music from countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba, with styles such as bossa nova and Mexican salsa. Alongside this, he also grew up with a lot of classic American music, such as Motown legends like Diana Ross and Smokey Robinson, and even more contemporary singer/songwriters from the 70s like Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder. This, naturally, allowed Chris to form a unique mix of several genres, allowing him stand out among the crowd.
So far, Chris has only released one album and a handful of singles. His debut album, 2018’s I’m Here contains a wide variety of different musical styles and lyrical topics. One moment you could be listening to a pleasant sounding love song, and the next a powerful anthem to protest a change in the geo-political world. Either way, his music is highly accessible and doesn’t alienate anyone who believes differently than him. The messages he strives for are more or less universal, and can bridge the gap of things like political party or culture. Even if you are somehow turned off by Chris’s political message, the rest of the album is definitely tough to top and offers a refreshing new and exotic sound. Even though he only has one album currently, Chris is actively working on new material, and plans on releasing his next album in late 2020 or early 2021. He says it will be more autobiographical, with a more clean production and a style leaning more towards traditional Latin American.
Speaking of politics, Chris is very intelligent in his opinions on many political issues. He is very much left leaning, and proudly brands himself with the label of “progressive.” He is also a major advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and always plays for pride events whenever he can. He even recently came out as bisexual himself. He said “I started out dating women up until college, and I liked it, but I started to feel like I wasn’t tapping into something inside of me. I felt the desire, sexually speaking, for men. I was exposed to many people as a child that told me that homosexuality is wrong and a defect, which I now know is false. I have worked with many gay musicians that have said that if they could choose to be straight, or take some kind of pill to cure them, they would, but that is not possible.” He said regarding his own coming to terms, “I was lying to myself, telling myself I was a straight man when that just was not true. Lying is a sin. Homosexuality is not.” On the subject of the trans community, he said that “It is hard to put yourself in the shoes of somebody who is marginalized like the trans community, who have suffered for expressing the sexuality that comes naturally to them. It is a tragedy that there is so much violence against them in my hometown. It needs to stop. If you disagree with people around you, you should embark on a meaningful debate and you will become wiser.” Finally, he left with a note to the fellow progresives, urging them to “do your research, stay open minded, stay factual, and always be respectful.” Chris plans to touch on some of these topics later on in his upcoming album and throughout his career.
As an artist, singer, and songwriter, Chris Urquiaga is not afraid to push boundaries. From a vocal style that is sweet and smooth as honey, to his distinct ability to be able to speak his mind, yet still have near universal appeal, to an instrumental style that takes influence from Latin America, Brazilian bossa nova, and 70s pop icons like Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder, but still sounds wholly original, Chris is a visionary that will be difficult to disappoint. Be sure to see him next Sunday, June 30th, at the DC 9. He will surely put on a show that is hard to forget.
Logan Deiner is a writer and journalist who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.