TOMORROW PROMISES to be a red letter day for Galway singer-songwriter Chris Haze as his debut album, The World Outside, is officially launched at the Village Venue in Dublin.
Chris has already been named as a Hot For 2014 artist by Hotpress and been nominated in the same magazine’s Readers Awards for Most Promising Artists For 2014. Over the past few years Chris has played in venues throughout Ireland and Britain, as well as supporting international acts such as The Original Rudeboys and Coolio.
Clearly, Chris is a young musician very much on the up, yet it was only four years ago that he picked up a guitar for the first time and began teaching himself to play.
“I always used to sing but it was only after learning guitar I started putting my own chords together and singing my own songs,” he tells me over an afternoon chat.
He has previously collaborated a good deal with performers on the hip-hop scene, appearing on three albums by Bitter Rocc, yet his own debut, The World Outside, is very much in the singer-songwriter genre.
“I’ve done a lot of work with hip-hop artists,” Haze admits. “As well as working with Dublin hip-hop artist Bitter Rocc my first demo ‘World Outside’ had the English hip-hop artist Lexeee on it, so at the start I was very associated with that scene. I like to combine the styles a bit but it was always my intention to spread out into singer-songwriter. I see that as my main genre and acoustic guitar as my primary instrument.”
The World Outside is a promising debut. The songs are warm and melodic, the vocals soulful. To quote Hotpress: “There’s nothing cynical here, with plenty of hidden depths and strange twists and turns to be found in his tunes.”
“The album’s been getting a great reaction so far,” Chris tells me. “It’s getting airplay on radio stations all around the country.”
Chris also acknowledges the fine work done on the production side of the album.
“My producer is my best mate who started producing around the same time I started playing guitar,” he says. “He’s Greg Conlon of Basic Productions. It’s nice to have a close friend working with you on your stuff! We already have three or four tracks done for the second album. I’d like to release it around this time next year.”
Originally from Knocknacarra, Chris now live in Ballybane. Given the largely acoustic emphasis of his music I ask does he ever envisage himself ‘going electric’?
“In my live show I’ll mix it up a bit,” he replies. “I use a loop pedal which enables me to build up the songs. I do play electric when I’m jamming and stuff, and I’d like to incorporate it into my stuff but I don’t think it will ever be my main instrument, acoustic is the way for me.”
Chris Haze’s gig at The Village Venue, Wexford Street, Dublin, takes place tomorrow night at 7.30pm. Tickets are €13. The World Outside can be downloaded from iTunes and Amazon. Physical copies are available from www.chrishazemusic.com