Premiere: Meet Chris Watts, who makes some of 2020's best pop with Over U
In what's his first piece of new music in two years, Chris Watts proves why he's a force worth paying attention to.
As Australia's pop world continues to thrive at the hands of its next generation, something remarkably special is needed to stand out from the crowd. It's something that's always been true in a sense but now more-so than ever, and musicians are starting to grapple with that. In 2020, despite everything that's happened, Australia has welcomed faces that seem sure to influence the next decade of homegrown pop music - ASHWARYA, merci mercy, Hauskey, Sycco and others emerging to become 2020 break-outs, while others - like CXLOE - step up to the plate with fully fleshed-out releases that encapsulate years of hard work.
At one stage, Chris Watts was someone seemingly primed to define that next generation. He shared a handful of singles in the mid-2010s; snapshots of a bright future paved for the musician that was reflected by a sense of high demand surrounding him, whether it be from MTV applauding him as a star-to-watch, right through to support slots for Sir Elton John and Robbie Williams - two musicians that have defined their own pockets of pop music (if not pop music as a whole) monumentally over the last few decades.
In 2018 (shortly after his performance with Robbie Williams), one of his close friends sadly passed, and the project was temporarily placed on hold. When Chris did feel like writing music again, it was in the form of hunkered-down songwriting sessions to process his emotions while further refining and exploring his musicianship; his craft as a keen multi-instrumentalist growing to encapsulate his wealth of knowledge in songwriting and musical trends that eventually, two years later, are starting to see themselves revealed in the form of his first single in years, Over U.
Premiering on Pilerats today ahead of its greater release this Wednesday October 7th, Over U is a pop single that shows that Chris Watts has the brilliance needed to become a success story of whatever's left of 2020. It's a moment that demands attention; something that draws you in from the get-go and doesn't let you leave until that final bass kick fades out - and in between, is a song that's a latecomer for 2020's most exciting, from a musician that's seemingly bound to hold this title for many of the next few years too.
It's thick-footed and adventurous, with a dominative bass section leading the charge as it moves with a changing pace that switches up between left-field dance-pop and moments that feel a little more inspired by hip-hop production for example; a charging, swelling leap into this alarming pop sound that almost feels plucked from an experimental Yeezus or ASTROWORLD session, but twisted into a pop lens with the aid of Chris Watts' sheen and talent. Watts makes the production his own too, elevating himself over the driving beat so he doesn't get drowned out - an incredibly difficult thing to do, considering its strength.
"You’re four months out after having your heart completely broken. You’re in that limbo stage where you know you have to move on but it’s way easier to just romanticise the past and to not get 'over them'," he explains on the single's lyrical theme. "You might even find yourself 'accidentally' waking up in their bed once again, having just undone all the progress you’ve made to move on. This song is your four-month break-up wake-up call! Got to move on."
It's pained with this heartbreak but not in a way that stops the single from being an exciting and upbeat rush; one that you can dive into below as it premieres on Pilerats, as well as an opportunity to introduce yourself to the force-to-watch. The single is officially out on October 7th, and you can pre-order it here.
Tell us about yourself?
Where should I begin? Age, name and genre would probably be a good start you would think. But maybe my last night’s Uber Eats order would give a better picture. So, I had edamame with chilli sauce, tempura vegetables and sushi, let’s face it vegetables are much tastier covered in batter and deep-fried. This was accompanied by a couple of episodes of Seinfeld, a few emails with my music manager and then off to sleep whilst watching the latest Travis Scott music video on my phone in bed.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
Growing up watching Rage & Video Hits and listening to whatever CD’s were in the house, I was inspired by artist such as The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, The Police, KISS, The Knack and U2. In my teens, during the era of Lime Wire and Myspace I also drew inspiration from Maroon 5, Phantom Planet, Phoenix, John Mayer and The Killers. More recently I’m very much vibing Post Malone, Halsey, The Weekend and 5SOS just to name a few.
But no matter how I chop it up, dark pop, indie pop, rock pop, I’m a Pop Artist. Sometimes people unfairly and negatively judge pop music, but listen to it, love it and not admit to it. What we all need to keep in mind is put simply ‘POP’ just stands for ‘Popular’. I’ve never really understood why some people hide their love for various POP artists. When it’s all said and done, I know why most people love those bangers. They are catchy and methodically constructed. I’ve always stuck to the same mantra: ‘Write catchy & hooky music that the world will love’ just like the Beatles, Elton, MJ and so on. This is “Pop” to me.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
For me melody is key, the melody is where it all starts. My two main instruments are drums and guitar, this is where I feel the most comfortable. I’ll start humming or singing lines over a guitar riff or a drum beat. Once started the lyrics come pouring out, usually inspired by real-life events. I also have a large bank of lyrics that I keep adding to from week to week in my phone notes which I also refer to and use.
Regarding production, I’ve worked with so many amazing producers here in Oz and LA. Over the past 2 years I have worked quite frequently with the extremely talented Jean-Paul Fung, who has also produced this upcoming single Over U.
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Over U?
This song originated from the aftermath of a train wreck of a relationship and break up. I’ll paint the picture, you’re three months out after a breakup, you’re in that limbo stage where you know you have to move on but it’s way easier to just romanticise the past. You might even find yourself “accidentally” waking up in their bed once again, having just undone all the progress you’ve made to move on. This song is essentially your three-month breakup, wakeup call………. Got to move on!
What do you want people to take away from the project?
For me it’s the small things, I want to make someone’s morning car ride just that little bit brighter. I want my song to be relatable, I want to help the listeners through that breakup. Let them know that someone else is also going through the same emotions. If I can impact your life for the better with a 2 ½ minute song, my work is done!
Where can we find more of your music?
2021 will see plenty more Chris Watts music. I’m busting to release a plethora of tracks waiting in the wings. For now, check out my new single, Over U on all music platforms, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube. Hopefully in the not so distant future after Covid restrictions you’ll be able to can also catch me live.