“VULNERABILITY IS OUR MOST ACCURATE MEASURE OF COURAGE”
Indie singer/songwriter Chris Donohoe is inspired by a simple but empowering quote from bestselling author Brené Brown that perfectly captures his humble approach to expressing his musical truth: “Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.”
Committed to expressing himself honestly, openly, sincerely, without fear and stylistically wherever his heart and muse choose to collaborate at any given time, the multi-talented San Francisco based artist has - since the release of his 2009 debut album What Drives You - written and recorded songs about all the wonderful and challenging things that make us human: life, love, loss, pain, joy and gratitude.
Chris’ musical journey began in the early 2000s at the West Coast Songwriters Conference, where he met Liz Rose, then a top music publisher who later became a hit Grammy winning songwriter for superstars Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. Impressed with his heartfelt musical storytelling, Rose encouraged him to head to Nashville and try his luck as a country songwriter. Since Chris’ family (including four children) was based in the Bay Area, he made monthly visits to Music City for a number of years, “getting my true songwriting education” about the nuts and bolts and hard work of the craft while working with other songwriters and plugging his songs.
Despite great encouragement, numerous close calls and having several songs “put on hold” by major artists, by 2007, Chris realized that writing music and lyrics that fit into the Nashville mold wasn’t serving his creative instincts. Deciding to start writing, recording and producing his own songs, he has become an artist defined by his dedication to living and sharing his truth drawing from a variety of genres, including pop, rock country and even flamenco music on Hermosilla, the Spanish/English EP he recorded in 2010 with top musicians in that genre (including flamenco fusion pianist Pedro Ojesto) when he and his family lived for a year in Madrid. Chris followed that recording with March, an extraordinary EP sharing his reflections on courage, grace and gratitude in the wake of the untimely passing of his younger brother from progressive MS in 2011.
March marked a dynamic new phase of his career as he began working with Nashville based producer Tim Lauer, a former Executive Music Producer for the hit TV show “Nashville” who as a “first-call” keyboard player has worked with everyone from Robert Plant and Dolly Parton to Taylor Swift, Chris Cornell, Keith Urban and Blake Shelton. Chris hired Tim to lead his band for the recording and the two clicked. “Tim immediately understood how personal March was and how much the songs meant to me.” Chris says, “I learned to trust him because in addition to helping me push my singing in new directions, he has great musical taste, always serves the song, and understands my desire to take risks and evolve as an artist. He is an incredible friends and as a producer sets an amazing tone in the studio.” Recording at such famed Music City facilities as Blackbird Studios, House of Blues, Ocean Way Nashville and RCA, Chris has recorded multiple EPs with Lauer and some of the city’s top studio musicians – including Endings & Beginnings (2012), Build a Bridge (2013), Time and Truth (2014) and In the Way of the Water (2016).
Starting in 2018, Chris began releasing individual single tracks on a consistent basis. These include “Love is the Only Road,” an ambient-acoustic re-imagining of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Before I Found My Way,” “All I Need is You” (a beautiful, soulful love song dedicated to his wife) and “My Boy,” an affectionate conversation in song inspired by his relationship with his teenage son. His latest single is “Better Angels,” a socially conscious pop/rocker that reflects on the harsh reality that “Better angels have flown/They’re looking for a home. . .Where love and kindness rule . . .Our better angels need a hand.”
Since 2015, Chris has served on the Board of Directors for Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of children by restoring, expanding and innovating music education in our schools. Providing teacher training and free instruments to public school districts across the country, its network of thousands of K-12 teachers in 400 school districts in 45 states leads a national movement called Modern Band that brings innovative and inclusive music education to students. Later this year, Little Kids Rock will reach its one millionth student. .
Prior to pursuing his musical passions, Chris – a native of Sunnyvale, CA and graduate of UC Davis – worked as a weatherman and on-air reporter at local network affiliates in Florence, AL, Bakersfield, CA, San Jose, CA, and Oakland, CA. After retiring from full-time work in this field, Chris began writing music while working part time on air in Oakland and hosting the show “Computer Shopper” on the digital TV station ZDTV (later renamed TechTV), an affiliate of the Ziff-Davis publishing and internet company.
“Nothing has been more gratifying to me than leaving a successful career, living out my dreams as a singer, songwriter and recording artist, and digging deep within myself and saying what I truly want to say,” says Chris. “It’s all a matter of finding the courage to do it and, in line with Brené Brown’s quote, allowing myself to be vulnerable. Historically, vulnerability has been thought of as a weakness but I believe it’s our greatest strength as it allows us to connect profoundly with other human beings. My goal as a creator is to express, through my music, who I truly am so that I may connect meaningfully with my audience. That translates perfectly to the studio where it’s my goal to create an environment that is collegial, collaborative, creative, and loving for me, Tim and all of the wonderful musicians with whom I am blessed to work.”