It’s time for some local flare for this week’s New Music Monday.
Christian Brinkley is a Wilmington, N.C. based singer-songwriter who brings a unique style to his music. After a lot of determination, he released a debut album July 22 and is currently participating in a contest to open for Coldplay at the Hollywood Bowl later this year. More on that in a few.
Brinkley is the first musician in his family, having started learning an instrument at eight years old thanks in large part to his parents encouraging him to. That turned into taking guitar lessons for about five years and being enamored by Ed Sheeran’s music. “You could even say he became one of my guitar teachers,” Brinkley told me, “because I would watch hours of his performances to pick up on new techniques and ways of playing my instrument.” Brinkley went on to say that he used his guitar playing skill for volunteering at church or entertaining friends but, all the while, felt a desire to venture into music artistry.
“Life is rarely one thing. 99 percent of it is spent somewhere in between and I believe that learning to thrive in the in between is one of the greatest challenges in living life to its fullest.”
Brinkley began to write songs and completed his first at age 17, performing it at a local talent show as the youngest entrant in the show. He took first place and has not looked back, continuing to write and produce his own music while also honing his skill. Brinkley has incorporated new elements as well, such as a loop pedal, to add versatility to his repertoire.
After two years of work, he released a debut album, Something In Between, in collaboration with Plaid Dog Recording Studio in Boston, Mass. The album is a collection of tunes that reflect several aspects of Brinkley’s life and musical influences. Talking about the album’s meaning, Brinkley stated, “Life is rarely one thing. Amazing or awful, simple or complex, exciting or boring. 99 percent of it is spent somewhere in between and I believe that learning to thrive in the in between is one of the greatest challenges in living life to its fullest.”
The album features a collection of songs that begin with a Ben Rector-esque foot tapper in “Same Stone” to more introspective selections in “Missing You” and “Messed Up.” Perhaps my favorite of the bunch is, “Tattoo” which is a simple, stripped back tune that showcases Brinkley’s raw musicianship. There is a slick guitar part in the song as well, complete with an unexpected chord bend which adds a slight contrast to the melody. It makes for a beautiful four-and-half minutes of listening.
Lend an ear to “Tattoo” below and be sure to vote for Brinkley in a contest sponsored by Opening Act to open for Coldplay later this year. Better still, the contest is raising awareness about suicide prevention. Brinkley is running strong in the contest, having made the Top 10 and continuing to hold the top spot.
You can discover more about Brinkley and his music here. Happy listening!