The Voice season 12 winner Chris Blue released a new EP, Fresh Start on Friday (Sept 20). Unsurprisingly, he released the set independently as he has parted ways with Universal Republic, the label that signs The Voice winners.
In a recent interview with Knox News, the Knoxville, Tenn. native described how his relationship with Republic ended. It happened after a conversation with his Voice coach Alicia Keys. After Chris’s win in May 2017, the singer eventually released two singles on Republic Records with Alicia serving as his producer on the projects.
In January, Blue and [manager Hallerin Hilton Hill] traveled to New York City to speak with Alicia Keys, Blue’s coach on The Voice, and partners at his label, Republic Records.
At the meeting, Blue said Keys and Republic Records gave him their blessing and allowed him to go in his own direction creatively.
” … She (Keys) had to focus a bit more on her career, and so … I had to also give her the space and time to do that, and she also gave me the space and the time to figure out what it is I wanted to say and the music that I wanted to create.
“And so we were able to talk that through, and they’ve just been extremely beautiful about everything and just really, really graceful about my process and my journey, and so I got the blessing from them, and we’ve been going ever since.”
Parting ways with Republic hasn’t slowed Chris down. He and his manager have written more than 100 songs. But the productivity over the past year did not come easy. Chris credits his experience on The Voice with teaching him how to follow through on a project.
“I used to struggle with finishing. I never finished anything. I would start something and then I would just allow it to kind of fade to black or just kind of fade off, and songwriting was one of those things,” Chris said.
“I would start songs, and I would start ideas, but I’d never finish them, and they’d be great ideas, but that’s all they would ever be.”
Fresh Start and another upcoming EP, slated for early 2020, will be released through Chris Blue Live LLC, a brand that Blue, Hill and their team have been developing.
The first EP Fresh Start features songs Chris wrote with Hill and tracks from a collaboration with the EP’s producer Kelvin Wooten, who has worked with artists including Earth Wind & Fire, Mary J. Blige, Al Green and the Bee Gees.
“The title of the EP kind of speaks for itself,” Chris told Knox News about what inspired the new record. “No matter where we go and transition in life, it’s never too late for a fresh start. That’s the main thing I want people to know and see and feel … .”
On the EP, Blue writes about his relationship with his wife, Stephanie, in “Right Way” and sends a message to haters in “Ooh La” (releasing Sept. 10).
Chris’ goal on the record was to mix genres. He describes it as a mix of pop, soul and gospel quartet sounds, because they each have become a part of his life. Blue pitched the idea to merge those styles to Wooten, who initially was hesitant.
“Once we figured it out and pulled it off, he (Wooten) said, ‘Man, I didn’t think we’d be able to do it, but we did, and it’s great, and it’s awesome,’ ” Chris said.
Chris is performing at Music Fest in Marysville, Tenn. on September 20.
1. Right Way
2. Fresh Start
3. Inside Ya (Radio)
5. Ooh La
6. You Are My Heaven
7. Inside Ya (Extended Version)