"I'm a combination of Prince and Janet Jackson,"Kris Collins Vaunts, Discussing his new EP, Amygdala
“I go against the grain. I don’t like to do what everyone else is doing…” Kris Collins explains, with ease, sitting relaxed in an unbuttoned plaid shirt and black V-neck sporting his signature—or soon to be—lip ring and immeasurable ‘fro.
Indubitably, one would get the sense that he has done, and is doing, the necessary work to allow him to authentically rest in the comfort of himself; even at the dawn of his career.
Kris Collins first became abuzz while posting YouTube videos in 2010.
“I started posting [on YouTube] because it was a way for me to share my music without direct feedback…I didn’t know I could sing at first.”
Unknowingly, a zeitgeist ensued connecting Kris to other YouTubers—some of whom are now signed to record labels—millions of views, a manager who got him a publishing deal with London-based Global Publishing.
Unlike the billions of videos on the Internet, Kris has had a sort of charmed trajectory thus far. Not only has he already released an EP, Amygdala, but also his YouTube videos, and early collaborators, included a host of heavy hitters like Joelle James (of Chris Brown Entertainment) and Lauren Allred (from The Voice)
“I never expected that people would think that I am talented so when it happened it actually blew my mind,” reflected Kris.
The road to having an “artist friendly” publishing deal—as opposed to purely business oriented—has been filled with doubt and a fair share of skeptics. “Some people said [music] wasn’t the most masculine thing to do and some people said it’s not the most stable career, which is true but it’s something I’ve always loved to do,” Kris stated in his lament of naysayers throughout his life, including some family members.
His debut EP Amygdala covers a range of emotions—and experiences—that, as Kris puts it, “cannot be put into words.” The 7-track nu-soul, and R&B with allusions to some otherworldly space--terrestrial even--has everything a breakout artist should have: a showcasing of range in songs like White as Snow, musicianship (the real deal), but most of all Kris Collins has hubris; the audacity to allow his art to live beyond tubes and confines of Berklee College of Music, his alma mater.
“…I’m finally doing what I want to do rather than doing what other people say I should do.” It’s a rare space for new artist to be in, a strong voice and with confidence, a repellent against a sophomore slump and the mostly capitalistic nature of music today.
Every song was written and produced by Kris Collins himself—three songs were co-produced by a close friend and collaborator, Aalias. Each song has a sense of identity that bravely nods to the yesteryears of music but, on the other hand, propels us forward.
The song Mars is a standalone track. It’s raw with optimistic melancholy. It begs to ask, is it about submission to the resistance of his sexuality? Is it a sorrowful admonishment of familial bigotry? Or, on the other hand, is it a complicated mixture of fight and love?
Although it’s a bright and shiny start for this new artist, hopefully Amygdala provides a framework for an even more robust expression for Kris Collins, allowing him to sonically articulate all that is possible (and impossible) while remaining true to whatever it is he’ll have to say.
“Just listen to it with an open mind and just try and feel. Listen to the words and try to relate,” still comfortable and unmoved by journalistic prods, to describe his music, his ‘just listen to my shit’ demeanor is disarming and proves to be worthwhile.