Chris Willis

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This article is about the American singer. For the film composer, see Christopher Willis.
Chris Willis
Chris Willis.jpg
Background information
Birth name Christopher Willis
Born 1969 (age 44-45)
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Genres House, EDM, gospel, R&B, pop electronica, Eurodance
Occupations Singer-songwriter, record producer, vocal producer
Instruments Vocals, piano
Years active 1986–present
Associated acts David Guetta,Hook N Sling , NERVO, Joachim Garraud, Trevor Simpson,Rave Radio
Website chriswillismusic.com

Christopher "Chris" Willis (born 1969) is an American singer-songwriter and producer.[1] Although initially a gospel singer, he later received international attention for his collaborations with house music artist David Guetta, including the songs "Just a Little More Love", "Love Don't Let Me Go, "Love Is Gone", "Tomorrow Can Wait", "Everytime We Touch" (with Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso) and "Gettin' Over You."[2][3]

Biography[edit]

Originally a gospel singer, he was featured on the pop-classical album Handel's Messiah – A Soulful Celebration in 1993, singing a contemporary version of "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted".[4] His first job after college in Alabama was touring with a group that sang hundreds of shows in churches over a two-year period.[5] In the mid-1990s, he toured as backup vocalist for Twila Paris.[6] In 1996, he released his debut self-titled album, for which he wrote or co-wrote eight of the eleven songs,[7] and earned a nomination for Best R&B Album at the 1996 Nashville Music Awards.[8] That year, he opened on tour for Mark Lowry,[9] and was one of several featured singers in the musical showcase Emmanuel, a national tour put together by Nashville producer Norman Miller.[10] The tour spawned an album, which won a GMA Dove Award in 1998 for Special Event Album of the Year.[11] He did mostly gospel until 1998 when he signed with a small music label.[5] The label was bought out by a large corporation and Willis took that as a cue to move on.[5] During this time he also worked to resolve the "angst" from being closeted about his sexuality, "I always felt like God really understood—but that wasn't the message I was receiving in the church.[12] So, when I moved out on my own I really internalized that message that God makes us who we are and that it's up to us to embrace that or not. I chose to embrace all those things as freedom, and that freedom begat the freedom I experience now."[5] He cites his being gay as important to his transitioning out of gospel music,"I think there's this unspoken denial that you go through in gospel—maybe so in other musical art forms too—but I just felt for me it just wasn't easy to keep perpetuating that."[5] Willis is now openly gay and resides in Atlanta, GA.[1][5] He now sees both his color and sexuality as assets rather than liabilities.[13]

In 2000 he was working with the French boys band 2Be3 and when doing some publicity for their album in Paris one of the bandmates introduced him to house musician and producer David Guetta.[1] Guetta invited Willis to the studio and the next day they wrote 'Just a Little More Love.'[1] Willis co-wrote and provided most of the vocals on Guetta's debut album Just a Little More Love, including the hit title track.[14]

His music genres have included gospel music, disco, pop rock, and R&B. Willis is active on social networks including MySpace, Facebook and recently Twitter. He often adds live photos and videos from his tours and answers questions from fans.[15] Throughout 2009 he toured with David Guetta through Europe in support of One Love. He has also been doing solo European dates.[16] In November 2009 he performed at Danceclub C4 in Steyer, Austria for their 2nd Anniversary Party.[17] A documentary about him, Inside Out, directed by Robert Jason and Eric Miclette for Complete World Domination is to be released early 2010 alongside the "Gettin' Over" single.[18]

His solo single "Louder (Put Your Hands Up)" was released on October 12, 2010.[19] Willis co-wrote the song with Cutfather and Jonas Jeberg.[20][21] The video premiered on DailyMotion October 26, 2010.[22] Shot in Los Angeles, the video was directed by Billie Woodruff. The video now has nearly 2 million views on his YouTube page.[23] The song reached number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs on the issue dated January 8, 2011.[24]

His second single "Too Much In Love" was released digitally August 16, 2011.[25] The song features a guitar sample of Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way". A video was shot in Los Angeles and released on January 10, 2012.[26] Many remixes have been created and released on iTunes.[27]

An eight-song EP entitled "Premium - Songs From The Love Ship, Vol. 1" was released on November 29, 2011 and features several of his solo singles [28]

Willis performing in 2009.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Chris Willis[29] (1996)
  • Premium - Songs from the Love Ship, Vol. 1 (2011)
  • Inside Voice (TBA)

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Year Single Peak position Certifications Album
US AUS BEL FR ITA NL SWE SWI UK
Hot 100 U.S. Dance
2006 "My Freedom"[30]
Non-album single
"Out of My Hands"
Chris Willis
2008 "Tomorrow Can Wait"
(with David Guetta and Tocadisco)
19 7 21 43 84
Pop Life
2009 "Everytime We Touch"
(with David Guetta, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso)
43 19 97 68
2010 "Gettin' Over You"
(with David Guetta, featuring Fergie and LMFAO)
31 1 5 12 1 3 21 28 11 1
One More Love
"Louder (Put Your Hands Up)" 1 27
Premium - Songs from the Love Ship, Vol. 1
2011 "Too Much in Love" 4

As featured artist[edit]

Year Single Peak position Certifications Album
US AUS BEL FR ITA NL SWE SWI UK
Hot 100 U.S. Dance
2001 "Supersonic"
(Billyweb featuring Chris Willis)
Non-album single
"Just a Little More Love"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis)
42 29 38 59 19
Just a Little More Love
2002 "Love Don't Let Me Go"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis)
7 4 19 13 46
"People Come People Go"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis)
47 42 54
2004 "Money"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis and Moné)
52 63 52
Guetta Blaster
"Stay"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis)
19 18 82 78
2007 "Love Is Gone"
(David Guetta featuring Chris Willis)
98 9 3 14 9 11 9
Pop Life
"Give It All You Got"
(Ultra Naté featuring Chris Willis)
1
Grime, Silk, & Thunder
2008
Redemption
2012 "My DJ Rock Superstar"
(Nicola Fasano featuring Chris Willis)
Non-album singles
2013 "Party 2 Daylight"
(Global Deejays featuring Chris Willis)
"Magnet"
(Hook N Sling featuring Chris Willis)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Celebrity City Guide: Chris Willis PlanetOut, September 11, 2009.
  2. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/judgejules/tracklistingarchive.shtml?20090116
  3. ^ http://www.dmcupdate.com/sow/index.asp?IssueID=303
  4. ^ Stark, Judy (1993-11-26). "Our Annual Holiday CD Roundup Series". St. Petersburg Times. p. 18. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Chris Willis: He has the music in him Mikey Rox, Windy City Times, 2008-08-06.
  6. ^ Bialczak, Mark (1995-04-04). "For the love of God: Twila Paris' Christian music electrifies crowd". The Post-Standard. p. C4. 
  7. ^ Hytche, C. J. (1996-09-21). "Chris Willis". Houston Chronicle. p. 3. 
  8. ^ Gray, Michael (1996-11-12). "Nashville Music Awards taps eclectic collection". Nashville Banner. p. A1. 
  9. ^ Price, Deborah Evans (1996-09-14). "Higher ground". Billboard 108 (37): 46. 
  10. ^ Hogan, Susan (1996-12-01). "Emmanuel: A seasonal showcase for Christian singers". Star Tribune. p. F1. 
  11. ^ "Dove list". The Times-Picayune. 1998-04-25. p. B4. 
  12. ^ Mikey Rox, "Chris Willis Interview: Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?", Gay & Lesbian Times [1], August 7, 2008, issue 1076.
  13. ^ "Gay Singer Chris Willis Has Soul", interview with Andrew Belonsky [2], July 29, 2008.
  14. ^ Paoletta, Michael (2004-02-07). "Beat Box". Billboard 116 (6): 33. 
  15. ^ http://www.facebook.com/chriswillismusic
  16. ^ http://www.myspace.com/chriswillismusic
  17. ^ http://www.party.at/Photos/Archiv.2009/Streifen.2009.11.07.001/
  18. ^ A teaser is available on YouTube [3] peacebisquit.com.
  19. ^ http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/louder-put-your-hands-up-ep/id390644008
  20. ^ "GEMA - Members - Online Database - Musical Works" (in German). GEMA. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  21. ^ Cooke, Buck (2011-01-05). "We like it when Chris Willis gets 'Louder'". Project Q Atlanta. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  22. ^ http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xfdjl5_chris-willis-louder-put-your-hands-up_music
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t01hZNTV-m0
  24. ^ Dance/Club Play Songs Chart at Billboard.com for the Week of January 8, 2011 [4]
  25. ^ http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/too-much-in-love-single/id457816163
  26. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTBQJsd-2sI
  27. ^ http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/too-much-in-love-remixes/id467455403
  28. ^ http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/premium-songs-from-love-ship/id478572849
  29. ^ Chris Willis album in Allmusic http://www.allmusic.com/album/chris-willis-r242648
  30. ^ iTunes Music http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/my-freedom-ep/id179552261
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2010 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 15, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Gold—/Platin-Datenbank (David Guetta)". Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Certifications Singles Or – année 2002" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2002". Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Certifications Singles Argent – année 2007" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  37. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (David Guetta)". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved January 18, 2013.