Hailing from Plano, Texas, Chavis Chance is a modern-day hippie with some soulful beats. Son of the singer-songwriter Dirk Hamilton, Chavis brings the spirit of yesteryear to a contemporary music scene with his chilled-out and passionate sound. Currently based in Spain, this singer-songwriter fuses rock, folk and soul with a focus on meaningful lyrical content. We chat with Chavis about his new single ‘Call Me’, discovering new music and much more!
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
My dad’s been a full-time singer-songwriter my whole life so I guess I’ve always been around music in some capacity. He got me started on guitar pretty young and I picked it up and put it down for years. I was a pretty ravenous consumer of music throughout my teens, especially stuff from the ’60s, and I spent a lot of time alone in my room trying to write songs that might be worth hearing to someone somewhere someday. Back then it was always more something I was exploring just ’cause it got me excited – I didn’t really have any intentions or plans for it. At some point, I just kind of realised “oh, I guess this is who I am; this is what I do.”
Can you tell us about your new single ‘Call Me’?
‘Call Me’ is one of the first songs I co-wrote with my dad, Dirk Hamilton. I started it myself and brought it to him half-formed, and he immediately just got it and took it to the next level to make it what it is today. I’m very proud of it. I recorded it almost totally live in a Berklee studio in Boston with a seriously stellar group of musicians.
What was the recording and writing process like?
We wrote it in Texas…I’m not sure exactly when. I think it was summer after my first year at Berklee. The way my dad works, and I guess the way I’ve learned to work from him, is not so much sitting in a room writing together as it is meeting up after we’ve dreamed over it individually. He’s such a poetic dude that once he gets deep into it I just let him roll and watch as the song evolves into something better.
The main session for recording the song in Boston was, as I remember it, a disaster. We had the studio for something like three or four hours and the band was itching to go, but some kind of tech-y issue held us up until we only had some tiny window to get the take and we were all frustrated and nervous. I remember getting rough bounces of the takes while playing a wedding and going out to my car in between sets to listen real quick. I couldn’t believe how good it sounded.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
In my life, I’ve been close to a few people who somehow feel like they’re drowning in slow motion and are in desperate need of some lifeline to grab onto to help them out, but for whatever reason aren’t ready or willing to take the help. You can’t make someone let you be there for them. The song’s kinda saying, “if and whenever you’re ready, I’ll be here.”
What do you hope people take from your music?
It depends! Every song’s like its own little world and what I’m hoping it does tends to be pretty unique. I guess in a general sense I hope my music can make someone feel like I felt growing up and discovering music. It put the world to colour and gave me something that made sense when a lot of other things didn’t.
What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
I’d have to say lyrics. Don’t know if it’s growing up with a poet for a father or what, but I get stuck with words more than anything else. Probably cause I care about them so much. Melody is fun to experiment with and I can more often come up with spontaneously. Words…I can agonise over words.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
Phew, that is an ongoing question. I don’t know really. I can fall into deep pits of stagnation, depression. When I’m not feeling motivated I know that there’s things I can do that, on an intellectual level, I know will at some point make me feel motivated if I make myself do them. Like, I know that working out, reading, writing, yoga and meditation all really help here, but when I’m depressed they’re the last things I want to do.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s like pop music from a different timeline.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
I think the most important tool for discovering music at this point is a genuine desire to listen. I try to cultivate and maintain this myself, but there’s so much music out there that it’s pretty easy to not give songs the time they deserve. I think it’s almost a survival tactic. If I gave a serious listen to everything I crossed paths with I wouldn’t have time to do anything else – I don’t know how you music writers do it!
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully some extensive travel, artistic accolades, good books and well-earned hangovers. That would check a lot of boxes for me.
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