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Rising Star Music Chris Mardini: “How I learned the hard way learned not to forget to switch my guitars when I’m supposed to!”

At my last show at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was supposed to switch between two guitars, each tuned differently, in between songs. However, I forgot to change guitars before we started the next song. I didn’t play guitar until the end, closing the song with a riff, because […]

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At my last show at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was supposed to switch between two guitars, each tuned differently, in between songs. However, I forgot to change guitars before we started the next song. I didn’t play guitar until the end, closing the song with a riff, because I was singing the whole time. So, knowing this, my producer, Marc Swersky, rushes behind the stage, grabs my other guitar, and unplugs the one on me, plugging it into the other guitar. While this happens, I’m in the middle of a rap where I barely have time to catch my breath, much less change guitars. So Marc is just crouched behind me, holding my plugged-in guitar, waiting for me to take it from him. I eventually did right before I needed it, but the video from the show is really awkward and funny. I guess I learned not to forget to switch my guitars when I’m supposed to!


As a part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Seventeen year old, Chris Mardini.

Chris describes himself as a “schemer, short of a dreamer, more of a sleeper” in the angsty hypnotic, “Something’s Going On,” his introspective ode to the lack of motivation in today’s youth culture. In-person, Chris might tell you he’s just trying to make sense of what it means to be a teenager. “There are so many people my age who feel like I do but don’t know how to talk about it,” says the genre-busting artist. I feel like I’ve been able to paint this thing that’s descriptive of all those emotions.”

Born and raised in NYC’s west village, Chris’s forthcoming EP reflects the urban teenage world he lives in. The sound is a byproduct of 90’s grunge, edgy indie-rock, and hip-hop. Heavily influenced by the weight and depth that Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain exposed within his writing, Chris was inspired to delve deep into the psyche of a teenager. His lyrics explore feelings of inadequacy, isolation, expectations of success, and confusing interpersonal relationships. “You start to notice the older, seemingly ”superior” people that have set their lives up for themselves. It’s intimidating”, he confesses. “It’s like they’ve somehow managed to solve all of the same problems that a lot of younger people have with ease, and you don’t even know where to begin.” Among much critical acclaim, Please Pass The Indie says, “A musical voice for his generation, Chris perfectly captures what it feels like to search for personal motivation and inspiration.”

Two time Grammy winner, Marc Swersky (Hilary Duff, Joe Cocker) produced the EP. The sound was infused by musicians including keyboardist/programmer Alan Markley (Maggie Rogers, Deva Mahal), guitarist Vin Landolfi (Demi Lovato, H.E.R., Jonas Brothers), drummer/programmer Ateller (Janelle Kroll, Roy Ayers) and drummer/programmer Alex Agresti (Bay Faction). The EP is mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons) with the exception of “Throw” and “I’ll Try”, mixed by Tony Black (Alicia Keys, Jay- Z.)

Chris concludes, “As an artist, the most important thing for me is to connect. A lot of times you see people trying to change themselves in order to fit in with people that they consider “cool,” and it’s a facade that’s often detectable. I hope people can walk away from my shows feeling like we’re connected and like someone is with them. I want them to know that they’re not alone.”


Thank you so much for doing this with us Chris! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Iwas born and raised in the Greenwich Village of New York City. I was always encouraged to pursue music and have been singing in and out of bands since I was about 8 years old. I picked up the guitar and started learning when I was 11 and I’m really glad that I did. Promoting my shows and sharing my music has always been sort of a normal part of my life. I’ve always been really interested in writing songs, and thankfully I started delving into that a few years ago. Music, in general, has been a huge influence on me growing up and the person I’m becoming.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve had lots of experience working with bands, and while I really do love the ability to create and collaborate with people invested in the same project as me, I think I just wanted the chance to create on my own terms, by my ideas only. I had been taking my former band’s music really seriously, and we’d played lots of live shows, but we had never recorded professionally. Unfortunately, the band broke up, so I decided to just keep writing. I’ve found it extremely fulfilling, mainly because I have creative control over lyrics, which I try to put a lot of thought into. I had written a bunch of songs just about over a year ago, and I’d been recording and producing them at home, on Logic Pro X. Due to support and encouragement to take my music to the next step, I hopped into a professional recording studio and was fortunate enough for the chance to. I’ve enjoyed every second of it, and I’ve been learning about the process of recording quality music.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

At my last show at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I was supposed to switch between two guitars, each tuned differently, in between songs. However, I forgot to change guitars before we started the next song. I didn’t play guitar until the end, closing the song with a riff, because I was singing the whole time. So, knowing this, my producer, Marc Swersky, rushes behind the stage, grabs my other guitar, and unplugs the one on me, plugging it into the other guitar. While this happens, I’m in the middle of a rap where I barely have time to catch my breath, much less change guitars. So Marc is just crouched behind me, holding my plugged-in guitar, waiting for me to take it from him. I eventually did right before I needed it, but the video from the show is really awkward and funny. I guess I learned not to forget to switch my guitars when I’m supposed to!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I’m beyond excited about my most recent single, “Sleepless,” which I released on January 24th. When I first created the melody for this song, along with the basic chords, I couldn’t stop playing it. I guess mainly because it made me feel sad, which I really liked. I was just kind of amazed about how something that I wrote could make me feel any type of way so strongly, it was an empowering feeling. Playing it makes me think of the way I felt when I wrote it, feeling really isolated and unsure what to do to overcome that feeling. Thinking about what self-sabotaging things I would have to do to get over the feeling, whether they damage my mental state, my social life, my health. It would all keep me up at night, either because of my self-destructive actions or because my mind would bounce back and forth between negative thoughts. It’s full of a whole lotta meaning and emotion, and I really love playing it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Dad has always supported my pursuit of music from day one. He’s always given me such important advice and insight on how to present myself as a performer, and how to improve my songwriting and singing. He’s a really good singer himself! He’s also my number one fan, so there’s no way that I can’t appreciate that!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The man who made it to the top of the mountain didn’t fall there. “ — Vince Lombardi

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Kanye West. His chaotic but one-of-a-kind mind continues to fascinate me, and I would absolutely love for the chance to explore it. He’s also arguably a musical genius, especially when it comes to producing and sound engineering. That’s a field that I’m really interested in, so I’d really love to learn some tips or advice from him. It’d be crazy.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Follow me online at:

Instagram: @thechrismardini

Spotify: Chris Mardini

YouTube: Chris Mardini

Facebook: The Chris Mardini

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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