INTERVIEW: Singer/Songwriter Chris Turner

Hi Chris, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? 

– I’m doing well. Been a busy year..

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “If You Drink”?

– Absolutely! “If You Drink” is a song that was written by John Cirillo, Sarah Spencer, and Dan Reifsnyder. John sent me an email in April and asked if I would listen to the song and consider it for the “American Made” project. Honestly, I thought I had everything I needed for the project but the title “If You Drink” is what got me to listen. As a writer myself, that storyline could be told a million different ways and it truly intrigued me. As I listened to the song, I couldn’t get the chorus out of my head. “If you cheat hope it’s death that your cheating, If you lie, lie with someone you love, If you fight, do it for the right reasons, if you drink, then come drink one with us”. Being a former Marine that chorus and the vision that unfolded in my mind as I listened made it a no-brainer for me to cut.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

– The filming process and experience behind the video was nothing short of amazing. I had the opportunity to work with Marcel Chagnon of Chaggybus Entertinment as well Actor/UFC Legend – Randy Couture. The great thing was that we all three wanted the message to come across on camera of how a veteran would see the storyline from his eyes. Marcel and Randy did a phenomenal job of catching that on camera. Filming at VFW Post 1970 and the traveling Vietnam War Memorial Wall was absolutely breathtaking. The stories from some of those guys, the chills I experienced from the ceremonies at the wall, and how so many veterans have approached til this day with a simple thank you for getting the word out about PTSD, it was an experience I will cherish the rest of my life. Randy, being an Army Veteran himself, really took this project personally. He has a non-profit (The Xtreme Couture GI Foundation – that helps warriors transitioning from the battlefield back into civilian life. He really wanted to make this message special and therapeutic for any one watching. He did just that and I cant think him and Marcel enough for the time and energy they brought to this project.

The single comes off your new album American Made – what’s the story behind the title?

– I was having what I like to call a therapy session (songwriting) at a hotel one night in Birmingham, AL while I was on the road. Just me and my guitar. I wrote six pages of nothing but one-liners. I had recently lost my best friend and my brother both to cancer and I need a way to vent and get out all my frustration. I wanted to find out what makes me tick and my wheels spin. So I started off with the very first two lines of my “Therapy Session” if you will with…. “I’m a worn out needle in a vinyl groove” “I’m more than just faded ink I’m your first tattoo” The next thought that came to mind was “Life ain’t bad cause damn it I’m American Made” those three lines are where I got the idea for the project.

How was the recording and writing process?

– The recording/writing process was amazing. I recorded the project at Song City Studios in East Nashville with my buddies Dave Demay and Marc “Butter” Fortney. We all shared the same vision for the project. I think it is a sound that is completely different than anything out there right now. It has a Texas meets Nashville vibe to it. I was fortunate to be able to write with some very successful writers on this project as well, such as Jordan Rainer, Kevin Brandt, Marc “Butter” Fortney, and Dan Demay. I was going for 100% authenticity with the “American Made” project and I think we nailed it.

What role does Nashville play in your music? 

– Nashville plays a huge roll in my music. To be in this town and be surrounded by so much talent. It drives me to better myself everyday, whether as an artist, a writer, or a performer. Its very competitive and I love it. It makes me stronger and also keeps me humble and grounded at the same time.

What aspect of PTSD and vet life did you get to explore on this record?

– I have my own Demons that I deal with regarding PTSD and when doing this record I wanted songs that would allow the listener to realize they are not alone. Songs like, “You’re One of Us”, “It Ain’t Easy Being Me”, and “If you Drink” I think nailed the concept the were going for.

Was it easy for you to touch on these themes?

– Some of the themes were harder to touch on than others. The one that really got me was the track “The Love You Give Away”. I wrote that with Kevin Brandt and Jordan Rainer. That is such an autobiography of my life growing up. That was a tough one to get through.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

– My inspiration comes from every aspect of my life. I’ve had my share of heartbreak and disappointment, but I also grew up in a small town where a Friday night was nothing more than buddies burning a bonfire on a backroad singing “Seven Bridges Road” til the sun came up. So I grab a little from everywhere.

Any plans to hit the road?

– We are going back out on the road at the end of August. We have a few festivals and other shows lined up out west.

What else is happening next in Chris Turner’s world?

– My team and I are looking at releasing another single in the fall and we are going to continue to spread our message and tour anywhere that will have us. I can not express enough how fortunate I am to be surrounded by such a great team. I’ve always been told, your only as strong as the company you keep.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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