Photography by: Tammi Paul Photography
Chris Watson values being himself over the limitations of the corporate music scene. A native of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, Watson grew up teaching himself the tricks of the trade in the blues and jazz music world. He has played countless instruments since he was just 5 years old; now, 26 years later, Watson is known for his namesake R&B group, the Chris Watson Band.
“It’s real fun, it’s upbeat and it keeps people having a good time,” Watson said. “I want to make people dance and just have fun.”
Watson also integrates himself in the music community by hosting his own podcast, “Slightly Chewed.” By interviewing musicians about things other than their music, Watson utilizes “Slightly Chewed” as an outlet that allows them to get more personal in a career field that he says is often dehumanizing.
“Being a musician who has a lot of fans…is a dehumanizing experience because you’re up on stage. You’re there for their entertainment only,” Watson said.
“I want to get [these artists] to talk about things that they like outside of music, things that they’re passionate about.”
Although Watson has taken a pause from recording podcasts, he plans to return to his side job soon. Meanwhile, he’s been putting his focus on his music—something that hasn’t always come easy for his genre in the state of Texas. He finds himself struggling to come to terms with the current structure of the music industry.
“It’s built upon telling the general public what they should like and not really giving them the freedom or the option to figure out themselves what they like,” Watson said.
However, Watson doesn’t let the limits of a “flawed” radio-fueled music industry hold him back from pursuing the specific kind of music he wants to create, how he wants to create it. After releasing their record “Black White and Gray,” Watson and his band chose to adapt by touring outside of their home state, knowing that their soulful vibes would be better fit outside of country-filled Texas.
“We toured [nationally] for a year and a half prior to the record coming out, and then for about two and a half years after that. We were doing really well,” Watson said.
“We had to tour outside of Texas because of the genre, and we just did better in places that were a little more open-minded.”
Watson’s main struggles as an up-and-coming artist seem to revolve around the ostracizing nature of his specific genre. This led to him taking the reins on his own booking, promo and managing—which eventually frustrated him to the point where he needed to take a brief hiatus.
“It got to the point where I threw my hands up and I said ‘I can’t do anything else if nobody can step up,’” Watson said. “So I took a step back for about eight months.”
But Watson is resilient and hopeful. In the meantime, he can be found pursuing his solo singer-songwriter endeavors all over Dallas.
“I understand that not everybody can make it,” Watson said. “If it was that easy, then everybody would do it. It was a very eye opening experience for me because I thought we were doing something good, and I think our product is good, and I’m really proud of what we do.”
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