Martini: Chris Shutters makes his markWritten by Martini Rox | | email@example.com
Chris Shutters took the stage at an urban radio event without fear and silenced hecklers as he strummed his guitar and sang Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”
He was a welcome surprise to the Juice FM 107.3’s Put Me On Live singing/rap competition, but he would have to quit after effortlessly making the second round. In essence, the Put Me On Live competition lost to greater competition, a paying gig in St. Louis.
I wanted to approach Shutters that night after his performance, but he immediately left to perform at another venue in the city. This is what being a true artist is about; whether he is playing solo or with his musical collaborators Mike Huffman, Mark Mickel or Joe Woods, Shutters is always performing. Humble by nature, he is oblivious of the magnetic nature he has with his easy smile and readiness to perform whatever you want to hear.
A blues and rock infusion with a soulful voice, Shutters has the makings of a legend and the ability to go as far as he wants. The winner of the 2007 National Blues Competition, 2008 Regional Pop/Rock competition, 2009 Chicago’s Best competition and 2010 radio vocalist competition for 92.5 Kiss FM, Shutters has met President Barack Obama, blues great B.B. King and opened for Ted Nugent, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bad Company and Eddie Money. The 25-year-old Toledo native and Sylvania Northview graduate is an accomplished musician, singer and performer. I was able to catch up with him via phone while he was in St. Louis to find out more about what he’s done and how he does it.
Martini Rox: How old were you when you started your music career?
Chris Shutters: The first instrument I played was the piano. I started playing when I was 2; I was singing as well. I’ve been playing at bars since I was 13. As soon as I could accompany myself on guitar and vocal I started getting out, getting gigs and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Rox: What was it like starting out on the road at such a young age?
Shutters: It was very intimidating, because I was playing underage at 21-and-over bars. I had to have my parents with me everywhere I went. It was intimidating but at the same time, I wasn’t focused on what’s going on out there (in the crowd) just going in a zone and doing my thing.
Rox: When did things really start to pick up professionally?
Shutters: When I turned 19 was when I could play and do nothing else but perform. I made sure I could make a living and it’s been better every year.
Rox: You just had a fundraiser; do you plan on having another?
Shutters: I am doing another fundraiser, but I’m not exactly sure when. It’s supposed to help me get on my feet with the video I’m doing. I’ve got a bunch of new material I’m getting together, making sure I’ve got the right musicians on it and to do that you’ve got to have money. A lot of them are my friends but I want to pay them. I feel like they deserve to be paid like I would want to be.
Rox: What can we expect on your upcoming CD?
Shutters: I definitely have a blues influence and I
have a rock influence, but I also have folk, country, I’ve got all sorts of different things I try to blend together. Every song is so versatile I don’t have, like, a “style” I can think of. I’m trying to make something new.
As we continue on …