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Meet Chris Baylon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Baylon.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Music has been in my family for as long as I can remember; from growing up around my dad’s band practices, to listening to oldies in the car, there was something about simply being around music, the instruments, etcetera, that stuck with me without even knowing it.

The first time I noticed I had an ear for music was in eighth grade. It was then that I realized I had the ability to learn songs by ear. Once my dad took notice to the raw talent I had, all he did was show me the basics of guitar, and the rest was history. From that point out, music would go on to follow me from my high school in Rialto City, all the way through my days at UC Santa Barbara, where I would go on to sing in the UCSB Gospel Choir for four years and eventually sing the National Anthem at my commencement ceremony.

Like many students after college, I was lost. I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with my life, let alone had any idea that I would become a full-time musician. With the help of some networking, I was eventually given the opportunity to perform at a local farmer’s market in Rancho Cucamonga. Here, I was able to truly showcase my musical capabilities, get my business cards out there and start booking private gigs; all while using my dad’s old band equipment! Since then, I have been able to perform for many types of occasions including weddings, fundraisers, political galas, birthday parties and many more. I was even able to establish a permanent residency with Fleming’ Prime Steakhouse in Rancho Cucamonga. Naturally, more and more bookings came from either the various farmer’s markets, private event attendees, music venues, or simply off of recommendation/word-of-mouth. I still continue performing at these various occasions to this day. The key is to simply sing and play your heart out no matter where you are or how many people may be listening; you never know which songs will speak to someone and encourage them to book you someday down the line.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think anyone in this profession would say that this career-path is a constant struggle simply because of the ambiguity of never knowing where you’ll end up. Unlike a lot of careers, there is no one way on how to become a full-time musician; everyone has different circumstances, opportunities, and approaches. It’s not like you can take an exam or licensing test and then you’re in. You literally have to pave your own path towards whatever goals you have as a performer, with no guidebook or official “how-to” for getting there.

For my type of music career as a gigging performer specifically, it is also the ambiguity that makes the road rough. One month I could be booked every weekend, and the next month none at all; however, in some cases, I might not have anything booked for a month and then all of a sudden I’m busy every weekend at the last second.

Another thing I’ve struggled with is finding time to work on original music. Sometimes I get swamped with so many gigs and learning song requests, that I find it hard to just sit down, write a song to my satisfaction, let alone go into the studio, produce and record it. In the past two years, I’ve only released one original single; getting your original music out there and exposed is a whole other monster in itself.

There’s a whole lot of other struggles that come with the territory that I won’t get into detail with, but other than that, it’s been a great learning experience getting to where I’m at.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
As a musician, I do several jobs including performing at solo gigs, band gigs, writing/recording originals, recording as a studio musician, etc.; however, my main focus/specialty has been my solo performances at public and private events. My ability to learn songs almost verbatim, do them justice vocally/musically, and be able to give them my own twist that doesn’t deviate too far from the original song, is what sets me apart from the others. My “play by ear” skills allow me to learn and perform songs that a lot of people struggle with, which in turn has helped me accumulate an extremely diverse, wide-ranging songbook of over 350+ songs. I truly pride myself on being able to cater to all kinds of backgrounds, tastes, styles, etc. For example, I could go from singing The Temptations, to Sublime, and then end it with Selena. If I were to categorize my sound into one description, however, I guess I would call it “easy-listening”; smooth on the ears. I also pride myself on my guitar skills; I like to utilize a more jazzy style when it comes to my chord selection, and I usually play guitar with a more rhythmic approach where I hit a lot of lower tones, walking basslines, and fill-in chords, giving the effect of sounding like more than just one guitar. This style, coupled with my vocals, both contribute to my overall distinct sound.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up I’ve always been a very friendly person. A lot of times, I’ve found myself putting others before me. It’s just in my nature to be kind and considerate towards people; I could never stand knowing if someone was mad or upset with me, and I’m still the same way to this day. With that, I’ve always valued loyalty; I always make sure to treat everyone with respect, so if it’s not returned, you’re cut off.

Another characteristic of mine that I both love and hate about myself is how nostalgic I can be. On any given day, I tend to drift through memory lane and am always aware of how much time has gone by. I always find myself reminiscing about the past; the good and the bad. Because of this nostalgic personality of mine, I grew up very close with my family and continue to be very close to them to this day. Not one day goes by where I don’t miss my parents/sister or think about what they’re doing without me. This is one of the reasons why I love how nostalgic I can be: I’m always reminded of my loved ones, memories with them, and it makes me feel even closer to them. At the same time, I hate how my nostalgia can make me feel sad, somber, or just make me miss everyone all the time. On another note, I’m a pretty silly dude. If I don’t really know you at first, I can be pretty shy, but once I start feeling comfortable around you, you’re in for a ride!

As far as my interests go, I actually have a lot! I grew up watching the Lakers, Kobe and playing basketball, so my love for the game runs pretty deep. Honestly, one of the only reasons why I even go to the gym is so I can stay big in the paint for basketball. Some of my other interests include tennis, ping pong, watching anime, Game of Thrones, of course, anything Marvel, playing on my Xbox, learning new songs, eating my bang for my buck, and too much more to mention. Another interest worth mentioning is my love for animals; I have a super soft spot when it comes to furry little friends. People that really know me know that I might look scary on the outside but, I’m really a soft marshmallow on the inside. With all of my interests, however, I usually end up spending most of my time with my family, girlfriend, or friends anyways. You can blame that on my nostalgia.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
YAN, Christer Baluyot, Eleanor Baylon

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