Kris Angelis – Heartbreak is Contagious
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) How would you describe your sound?
A) I describe my sound as folk-pop singer/songwriter. I’m influenced by Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson, Taylor Swift, Gregory Alan Isakov, Ray Lamontagne, Katie Herzig and The Lumineers. So, it has a bit of a range within the singer-songwriter category from stripped down acoustic story songs to the more commercial pop.
Q) Who are some of your musical influences?
A) I partly answered this in the previous question when I said who I am influenced by that I think my sound could be compared to, but I have many influences including perhaps most importantly, Hanson. That’s right, like “Mmmbop!” They were the first band that made me realize that I could make music; that it wasn’t this other world that I couldn’t enter. I started learning how to harmonize with my sister with their songs and that’s a big part of my music now. And I discovered Brandi Carlile when she was opening for Hanson and she and her band are the other biggest influence on me as a singer-songwriter. I had the great pleasure and privilege of getting to see their process and performance up close and that has been an invaluable experience and very much shaped my thoughts and goals for my career. Also CCR, Queen, the musicals I watched with my grandparents, Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel…so many!
Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Heartbreak is Contagious.”
A) “Heartbreak Is Contagious” is about something I noticed and experienced that sometimes happens when someone gets their heartbroken. It can be hard to love yourself or open your heart to anyone new and that can lead to other hearts getting broken. It’s about realizing that someone isn’t as into a relationship as you and trying to let go of that person and the idea that it had anything to with you. It’s just something that happens, you deserve more and you can be whole again.
Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?
A) I think most people have had their heart broken or been in the situation of an uneven relationship and it can be encouraging to know that you’re not alone and it’s not because there’s something wrong with you. It’s also pretty catchy and has a fun, driving, organic production. I wrote it with Morgan Taylor Reid and Alexander Cardinale and Morgan produced it.
Q) How will the video play into the message of the song?
A) The video has an organic feel as well. We filmed it in Topanga Canyon with Chris Hoffman shooting and directing. It shows different stages of love and relationships and parts of the video were shot as photos which are strung together to make a broken effect where I’m moving through space and time in a disconnected way. There’s some metaphor in there with flower petals (he loves me, he loves me not) and dead leaves creating a cycle and blowing away as some relationships do, but that’s just part of life and you learn and grow from it all.
Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?
A) I actually tend to write lyrics first. That’s the part that comes to me easiest anyway. It’s a back and forth process. I have an idea/concept for a song and maybe a key lyric that I write melody to and then more melody comes from that and I write more lyrics over it. Writing melody first can be great because then you know you have something catchy or moving and that is what I feel like most people notice first about a song, but it does somewhat limit the lyrics (which I get attached to!) but that’s the fun of it!
Q) How much of hand do you have in the production of your music?
A) It depends on which producer I’m working with. On my first album The Left Atrium I was very involved in playing all the instruments, writing parts and experimenting with my producer Jeff Zacharski. With others, we might just discuss the feeling and components I want and give example tracks and they’ll come up with something and I give notes. That’s fun too because it can go outside of my comfort zone into new territory, but I always like to be in the room as its coming together so I can give ideas and opinions.
Q) What can fans expect from a live Kris Angelis performance?
A) I’ll probably do or say something awkward. I tell stories about the songs or my experience writing or performing them. I’ve been told I’m funny. It’s usually me and my guitar and now ukulele! Sometimes my twin sister sings harmonies, which I love! Sometimes I have a band that includes bass, drums, and (if I’m lucky) keys and cello or violin. It will feel like we’re hanging out talking and I sing about my feelings sometimes. [wink] When I have more funds for putting on bigger shows, I hope they’d be similar to an Ingrid Michealson show. Heartfelt singing with some goofiness between.
Q) Will there be an EP or full album coming in the near future?
A) Yes! My Heartbreak Is Contagious EP is set to come out on June 2nd!
Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?
A) Well, just look at my influences and any of those would be amazing to collaborate with! I think working with Hanson would be really fun and my 11-year-old self wouldn’t believe it! I would love to write with Gregory Alan Isakov because his lyrics are so poignant and since I’m such a lyrics girl, it would be fascinating to see what we come up with together. Ingrid seems really fun and I love her style. Writing with Taylor Swift would probably skyrocket my career…I clearly can’t pick just one!
Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) Social media is the best and easiest way to reach an audience that doesn’t already know me. My friends, family and dedicated fans are amazing and important, but if I just asked them to come to my shows and buy my albums over and over they’d get overwhelmed and I wouldn’t get very far. Having easy access to people who are searching for new music is a wonderful aspect of this time in technology and society. The important part, though, is to somehow still connect on a personal level.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I want to say thank you so much for listening to my music and sharing it and helping me continue to make it. This is a crazy career path I’ve chosen, it’s not always easy and you make it possible both practically and emotionally to keep going. You are the people who believe what I believe, that the arts are important to the human experience and development and I am honored that you trust and support me in adding to that. I am so grateful! I hope that I give you as much as and more than you give me!