Chris Ayer is known for his ability to combine raw performance with poetic lyricism -- creating something both urgent and timeless. With sharp pop sensibility, and a strong nod to the singer-songwriter tradition, the Los Angeles-based artist defies genres by amalgamating elements of pop, folk, soul and Americana into his music.
Chris is currently showcasing various sides of his musical personality, simultaneously releasing songs that will culminate into two separate records that developed in tandem: an indie-pop EP and a singer-songwriter LP, Endless Wonder.
“They are two branches of the same root for sure,” Chris says. “Coming out of a few years of personal difficulty and loss, I needed and wanted to make music that was vulnerable and honest enough that it kind of scared the crap out of me to share it. Saying things that are hard simply because they are very true, and feel bare and vulnerable to admit -- usually the sort of stuff we try to cover up, airbrush, explain away. So, it was a process of sitting with the hard feelings and then finding ways to reflect them.”
Chris worked with songwriter Jessica Vaughn (who performs under the name LACES) on the pop EP, showcasing some of what had filled Chris’s past few years: the specific themes of alienation, depression, and striving to find motivation when hope feels far away. Collaborating with producer Keith Varon, they made a batch of new material in very little time. Final single “Running in Reverse” encompasses many of the EP’s themes; Chris says performing it with LACES -- material they both related to, and found truth inside -- made perfect sense.
“It’s about feeling like you’ve lost the way and you don’t fit with the world around you when you look around, Chris says. “It’s about noticing how the things you do can contradict your intention to rise above the struggle, and the ways in which your habits can make you feel stuck and powerless, and how hard it it is to imagine mustering up the energy to change everything.”
LACES echoes similar thoughts: “It was just an honest conversation between friends,” she says. “I think Chris and I are well versed in feeling stuck or taking one step forward two steps backward. The song is simply about being vulnerable and in the rut of adulthood. It's hard to see how you're moving forward in your everyday life.”
At the same time, Chris continued to writer folk-influenced, singer-songwriter material on the side -- continuously finding himself influenced by his collaborative sessions. As a result, the self-produced LP has much of the same ambient, ghostly quality that’s characteristic of the EP.
“I like how they play off each other, which has been part of why I've alternated releasing songs from each of them the last few months,” Chris says. “For me it's felt like alternating scenes that contrast but are in the same movie.”
Over the past few years, Chris has played 1000+ shows across North America and Europe. He was a featured performer at the 2017 PinkPop Festival (The Netherlands). He has headlined numerous tours, and he has played countless shows supporting his contemporaries (Matt Simons, Justin Nozuka, Gavin James).
Chris has released multiple singles with European record labels such as Sony Music and [PIAS] Holland (“Stay Another Night”, “On the Blvd”, and ‘“Heavy”), with nearly 4 million combined streams on Spotify. He has also received various accolades for his songwriting. His song “Heavy” received the 2018 Independent Music Award for Best Adult Contemporary Song, as well as a nomination for Best Pop Song in the 2018 USA Songwriting Competition. Additionally, his song “Ringing in My Ears” was a semi-finalist in the 2019 International Songwriting Competition.
Chris is currently plotting a series of new releases for 2019, as well as touring extensively in support of his releases.