Today’s artist spotlight is on the philosophy indulging, acoustic-driven, Los Angeles and New York City based singer/songwriter, Chris Ayer.
Ayer’s music is humble in sound, intricate in design and profound in lyric. He’s the kind of artist that might sneak up on you over time, until you finally have to sit down and listen through his catalogue of records. He is so persistent in the constant grind of touring, writing songs and making records, that his music is bound to spread. According to his Facebook page, he has played over 1,000 shows in the US, UK and Europe to date.
Ayer’s music is art in the purest sense—neither tainted nor affected by the time in which he creates it. His music has clear roots and influences from artists like Paul Simon and James Taylor, but is extremely relatable to the modern ear, reminiscent of John Mayer. The themes he explores, which are very much inspired by his philosophical roots, toil with the idea of the significance and meaning both in his own life and of relationships he’s been in. Chris Ayer asks the big questions, and finds many of the answers in his music. “To follow the light is a choice,” he sings in his song “Where Do You Want to Go?”
But for someone so devoted to the craft, he picked up the guitar at a late age, 18 years old, according to Buncearoo. In the same interview Ayer said, “Music was always a big part of my life growing up, and I definitely remember fantasizing about the possibility that I could perform and write songs that people would ever listen to…I would go to open mics throughout college whenever I could, eventually leading into playing shows around campus and the bay area in California.” Ayer attended Stanford University studying philosophy and released his first EP, “Static,” in 2003, which sold over a thousand copies, marking the beginning of his professional career.
Ayer has released three full-length albums of heart-felt, genuine music—“This Is The Place,” “Don’t Go Back To Sleep” and most recently “The Noise.” “The Noise,” which was released in 2013, was Ayer’s debut as his own producer, according to his Facebook bio. It’s bolder than his previous work in scope; the instrumentation is more ambitious and full. The extension of sound is heard perfectly on the last song on the record titled, “The Infinite Abyss of Space.” The song’s chorus has a multitude of overdubbed background vocals by Ayer, creating a stadium sized choir sound hanging over excitable trumpets, snare rolls and low piano hits.
In an interview with Buncearoo, Ayer said that before making “The Noise” while promoting his second album it “was a weird process, where I worked and worked, and drove a few 100 thousands miles and kind of wondered where I had ended up by the end of it all. During the two years of making, releasing and touring behind that album, I had a full team of people come together to work with me, and then all disappear over the course of about 5 months.” This career road bump, along with “a difficult end to a relationship,” sparked inspiration for an album that redefined his path.
Ayer seems to be determined as ever to leave a lasting imprint with his musical endeavors, or at least find contentment within it all. In “The Infinite Abyss of Space,” Ayer sings, “Now I see, that nothing’s gonna break me / No amount of light can shake me down or erase the new frontier / I can’t believe that nothing’s gonna phase me / If you’re tired giving in to the chasing and the places that you’ve been, I’ll be here.”
According to Ayer’s Facebook page, he is currently in the midst of writing his fourth album. His music can be found on iTunes and Spotify. Fans of James Taylor, Paul Simon and John Mayer will especially enjoy Ayer’s tunes.