Christopher Cross: Good evening, glad to be here on AOL.
Thanks for joining me!
AOLiveMC13: And with that we have our first question of the evening.
Question: I haven't heard new CD yet, how does it compare with older music like "Sailing" or Arthur's Theme"?
Christopher Cross: The album in a little more contemporary in the production. I think the lyrics are more thoughtful and a little more softer. My voice is the same as always!
Question: Chris, does your family get to tour with you?
Christopher Cross: Yes. When I go someplace that is interesting and I go somewhere that they may like they go along.
AOLiveMC13: Chris, here is another question about "Sailing."
Christopher Cross: If I go to Japan or somewhere it's so long a trip that THAT would be a long, hard trip. I recently traveled to NY to do the Letterman show. My wife went along and that was fun. I'm currently in Reno, playing in a casino, and there are activities for the children, so my wife brought them up for a while. But in general the day to day grind of the road is too hard to have your family along
AOLiveMC13: And now for that question about "Sailing."
Question: Chris, what do you think of Nsync's version of your song "Sailing"? Michelle, Virginia
Christopher Cross: I just heard it the other day. I like it. I think it is a nicely done urban rendition. I think it is respectful and nicely done. I'm excited that the song is exposed to a younger audience.
Question: How has your work evolved over the years -- are you adult contemporary now?
Christopher Cross: I think I've always been Adult Contemporary. Even before the genre evolved. I've worked very hard to improve my craft, as a songwriter. That has been my goal, to work from my heart and prove myself as a songwriter.
Question: Reno is one of my favorite cities. Where are you playing?
Christopher Cross: At the Nugget. I'm here until the 2nd of September.
Question: Have you made any fast songs lately (like Ride Like the Wind)?
Christopher Cross: I wouldn't say any songs that as uptempo as that. On the new album there are a few songs with some fast grooves. But not with a rock tempo, so to say.
Question: Chris was it your idea to start your own web site? I love how you participate in it with your fans.
Christopher Cross: It was my idea. I would have loved it if a fan had started it. But I hired someone to do it, and it has turned out very well. And I'm very pleased with the reaction to the site and the opportunity to connect and interact with all the wonderful people who have enjoyed my music over the years. www.christophercross.com That is where you can find it on the web folks.
Question: Are you planning a large tour for the new album?
Christopher Cross: Well, I tour constantly, about 80 shows a year. We play the shows when the promoters make the offers. I plan on doing a tour with Brian Wilson in Mid October. I'll be playing the guitar and singer with his band. I'll also be doing a few songs of my own in that show. We're hoping that Avalon will be successful enough to warrant having an opening act slot on a major tour to promote the new album.
Question: Chris, do you do any other kinds of music, like shows for example?
Christopher Cross: No. My musical focus has always been pop song writing and production. In that regard I'm a one trick pony.
Question: Will you have some of the song clips on your web site so that we can listen?
Christopher Cross: I usually try to get them on sooner than I have. We've been busy touring, but we hope to have some of the clips soon. We're waiting to install REAL AUDIO soon on the site, so the sound quality will be better.
Question: Some of your fans may be wondering why you waited so long between your outstanding first album and your following albums -- why was that?
Christopher Cross: Avalon is my 7th record. I've made an album about every 3 years since my debut album in 1980. Many people don't know about the existence of some of the albums. If you go to my website, you can see the entire disgrogophy and catch up on what you've missed. Some of the albums are out of print. It takes me 3 years to write, and produce an album's worth of material that I'm happy enough to release!
Question: Chris, what do you enjoy more, writing or performing?
Christopher Cross: Both have their own rewards, but I would say that nothing equals the joy of seeing a well-written song come to fruition.
Question: Are your CD's available with digital remastering?
Christopher Cross: Hmmmmm I hope to have the first two albums digitally remastered soon. However, due to the lack of success of albums 3, 4, 5 and 6 I doubt that will happen.
Question: Is "When She Smiles" getting more radio play yet?
Christopher Cross: It's starting to pick up. I'm doing everything in my power to promote the record. It's very difficult right now at Radio to convince them to play anything that is not mainstream like Celine Dion or Elton John. It is an uphill battle. But I believe in Avalon, and I'm not going to give up.
Question: What do u think is the best song u sang?
Christopher Cross: I would have to say "Sailing." Although for all artists, the newest songs that they've written and recorded are their favorites. As a composition and a production and the connection that it made to the audience, I would have to say "Sailing."
Question: Which of today's current artists do you feel take from your lead?
Christopher Cross: Boyz to Men, in their pop-up video on TV and listed me among their influences. So in terms of popular bands I would say Boyz to Men.
Question: Your songs bring back such WONDERFUL memories for me. I was dating my husband and we were madly in love. (We are still married and madly in love after 17 years!) Are you married, do you have a family? And what are your interests other than music?
Christopher Cross: Congratulations on your successful marriage. I just celebrated my 10th anniversary. I have a son, 8. I have a daughter, 6. And between work and trying to be a good parent I have very little time for recreation. However, for vacations, we like to scuba dive and snow ski. On a day to day basis we try to have a date night once a week for a dinner and movie. Not toooooo exciting, but good for marital maintenance.
Question: Chris! A handful of Grammy's and an Oscar too! How does it feel?
Christopher Cross: Great! I'm especially proud of the Oscar, when I won, pop songs connected with movies were a rare thing. So I never imagined being in a position to win an Oscar. Now, of course, every movie has a song track and a theme song. The nicest thing about the awards are that the people who vote are your peers
Question: "Hunger" is my favorite song on Walking In Avalon. The first time I heard it I didn't even know it was you! Just wanted to say it sounds great! And I love the whole CD! Thanks.
Christopher Cross: Thank YOU. "Hunger" is MY favorite as well. I think the string arrangement by Jeromy Lubbick is beautiful. I love simplicity of the production. I've had some fans mistakenly think that the song is about drug use! It is ABSOLUTELY NOT! We use certain street-drug metaphors to describe the desperation of romance.
Question: Hi, Christopher, I was wondering how you got interested in becoming a musician to start with.
Christopher Cross: My father was a doctor that played bass in college. He exposed me at an early age to jazz. Particularly, Dave Brubeck quartet. I got excited by the music and at the age of 10 got a set of drums for Christmas. I played drums and sang in bands until I was 16 when I switched to guitar to write songs. My life has been one of singular passion. I was not a good student. Nor, did I have much interest in sports. I just cared about music. It's been a labor of love.
Question: Chris, where are you from originally?
Christopher Cross: San Antonio, Texas. My father was an Army doctor., so I lived in Tokyo and Washington, DC, and eventually ended up back in Austin, Texas. This is where I spent my formative years with musical friends like Eric Johnson, and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Question: Is Christopher Cross your stage name or your original name? Was it a metaphor for music that cris-crosses over musical types?
Christopher Cross: Christopher is my real name -- Cross is not. I changed it for privacy. There was no serious thought behind Cross...someone just suggested that it would be catchy at radio, as the disc jockeys would shorten it to Chris Cross, but I like your creative interpretation.
Question: Chris, when an album isn't successful the first release, how feasible is it to re-release it? It seems that timing is everything! Tina, South Carolina.
Christopher Cross: If Walking In Avalon is a great success then I'm sure my record company will want to re release that catalog. And possibly as a box set. LET's KEEP OUR FINGERS CROSSED! The reason albums go out of print are that the sales fall beneath the record company's' required minimum or worthwhile production.
Question: DID YOU MIND WHEN THE RAPPER KRIS KROS BECAME FAMOUS IN THE INDUSTRY AND DO YOU KNOW HIS MUSIC?
Christopher Cross: I didn't mind. If they had been adults I may have pursued them for name infringement, but being as they were children, I wished them well. I only hope they saved their money for college!
Question: Chris, are you ever going to make a dance mix of "Sailing?"
Christopher Cross: Wow! There have been several dance mixes of "Ride Like the Wind", but it would take someone more creative than me to do that with "Sailing." Let me know if you hear one!
Question: Where do you feel you will be in five years with your music?
Christopher Cross: Boy, that's tough! I always hope to just improve as a song writer. I'm not certain where my inspiration comes from, so that's a tough question to answer. But I can't imagine there being any radical departure from what I've done for 18 years.
Question: What you music do you like listening to then yours?
Christopher Cross: I never listen to my own. LOL I enjoy traditional jazz like Miles Davis. Classical music -- my favorite composer is Bach. A few of my favorite contemporary artists are Sean Colvin, Cheryl Crow, and Alanis Morrisett
Question: What inspires you to write such a beautiful song such as SAILING?
Christopher Cross: The song on the surface, is about sailing. I did sail some when I was young. But the main meaning of the song is escapism through art. The canvas in the song can be just as easily as a painters canvas, as a sailor's canvas. I had an older male friend who took me sailing when I was young. As I've gotten older I've come to realize that on a deeper level the big brother like companionship we shared, which was missing in my life as a child, was a paradise I speak of in the song.
Question: Do you think your children will go into music?
Christopher Cross: My youngest daughter, who is 6, is taking piano lessons and just made her 2nd recital. She seems to be very musically gifted. And she has ambition to become one of the Spice Girls. So, I suppose she's on her way!
Question: Chris, do have any videos out?
Christopher Cross: There is "An Evening with Christopher Cross" which is a video filmed the same night as the recording of Walking In Avalon. It's an "in concert" video. It's longer than the live CD, and I think it turned out very well. It has a good representation of my live performance.
Christopher Cross: I want to take this opportunity to remind folks that Avalon is a double CD. One live and one studio, and sells in the stores for slightly more than the price of ONE CD. I gave my record company the live CD, free of any royalties, in order to keep the cost down. So it's like getting the live in concert CD for free. I did this to try to help ensure the new music being heard
AOLiveMC13: We have time for one final question.
Question: Chris, it is very obvious that you LOVE every aspect of music - the writing, performing, production, etc.. You seem very "down to earth". Has success changed any of your views, morals, and opinions of people?
Christopher Cross: My early success was a great character test. Sometimes I failed those tests, but I always learned from them. I believe if you make the music that's in your heart and don't listen to record companies or managers....that that sincerity, which I believe was the key to the success of my first album, it will find it's way into other hearts. I've learned, as well, that to have a complete life, you need love and work. If you have those two things in balance you have happiness. I do at this point in my life, and while I hope Avalon in a great success, I really can't ask for any more than what I have at this time!
AOLiveMC13: Thanks, Chris for being here tonight. Any closing remarks?
Christopher Cross: Thank you all for joining me this evening. I'd like to thank AOL for giving us this opportunity to get together. Most of all I would like to thank you ALL for making MY dreams come true. God Bless you all tonight!
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