Chris Lee: California Country
Call it what you will—destiny, fate, kismet, providence—but a higher power has been involved in the life and music career of up-and-coming country musician Chris Lee from the start.
“I was 12 years old and this evangelist came to my church and gave his message,” Lee tells me over the phone in late October, “and after the sermon he called up out of my seat. He said that the Lord told him that not only would I be plucking the strings of my guitar, but I’d be plucking the strings of people’s hearts through music. That was before I played guitar or even had a guitar.”
This religious experience cut the path for Lee’s music career, a path that he’s still on today. But even before that, Lee knew he wanted to be a musician.
“I’ve told my mom ever since I was a little boy that I was going to be a singer,” he says. “Nobody in my family has been in music or anything, and she just said, ‘OK, honey. We’ll just see what happens when you get older.’ ”
As he got older, Lee proved he really did have the chops to make it as a singer. At the insistence of his friends, he participated in an American Idol-style singing contest at a church camp and won it.
After that fateful day with the evangelist, Lee had another divine encounter. A man brought Lee an acoustic guitar, saying God told him to bring the instrument to Lee. Three weeks later, Lee was leading worship for his youth group, singing and playing guitar.
“The funny thing is, my friends always knew that I was up for anything,” Lee remembers. “I was always the one that when they said to go do something, I’d go do it. Nothing bad, but I wasn’t scared of anything. I’m not really a nervous kind of person. I’m pretty comfortable being in front of people. I wasn’t that great at guitar, but I didn’t really care.”
He began to write his own songs and began to garner the attention of everyone who saw him perform. Lee caught the attention of Nashville musician Billy Ryan with a YouTube video, and he came to Music City last May to make some industry connections before heading back to his home in central California. Lee’s music also attracted the attention of investor Brent Kelley who helped launch Lee’s website and is working to introduce Lee’s music to the masses.
Currently, Lee is working on an EP at Tanglewood Studios in Sacramento, and plans to make the move to Music City in January where he hopes to strike it big with his unique style of country music from a Christian perspective.
“I write country music. That’s what I write,” says Lee. “But all my music has a message with God’s word in it. Everything that I try to write about, it always has something about God.”
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By Andrew Miller