Chris Borelli Pt B

http://chrisborelliofficial.com/

Chris grew up below the poverty line in Framingham, MA. At the age of 11, he was placed into the custody of social services along with his sister and two brothers. Later adopted at 14 by his long time foster family – the Borelli’s, Chris began to interpret his life from an entirely different perspective. With the Borelli’s, he discovered his love for music by practicing piano and singing on a regular basis. Supported by a loving adoptive family, Chris decided that music was his calling. 

For all of his adolescent and teen years, Chris was solely a singer-songwriter. His piano and singing skills were sharp at a young age. He performed original songs, sang in choirs, and participated in local singing competitions.

It wasn’t until he was 18 when Chris discovered his abilities in hip hop. He began writing verses and simultaneously building his production skills as an undergrad at Stonehill College. It was in college where Chris discovered his voice in rap music and crafted his energetic stage presence. His abilities strengthened quickly as he was able to apply his classical knowledge of music into his style of rap. 

His lyrics are raw and direct. His messages are confidently delivered. His content is pure, honest and relatable.

Chris has performed on various stages among several different platforms. He’s been invited to the Vans Warped Tour in the summer of 2012 – invited back the following year. Performed for college audiences such as UMass, Boston College, Northeastern University and many others. He’s opened for T-Pain, Joyner Lucas, Waka Flocka, Andy Grammer, Cobra Starship, George Watsky, Hermitude, TroyBoi and several others. 

At 27, Chris has acquired a moderate fan base and continues to perform and release various projects. His latest EP, “Lucid,” is now available on all major streaming platforms. 

Click to Read Transcript

Pamela Bardhi 

Welcome back to Underdog. Today, we have part B of my incredible interview with Chris. I can’t wait for you to hear the rest of his story. And now without further ado, here’s Chris.

 

 Chris Borelli 

So they had me back to open for TPain and Waka Flocka, which was crazy. That was crazy.

 

 Pamela Bardhi 

I remember I was actually trying to get into that show.

 

 Chris Borelli 

Oh, really?

 

 Pamela Bardhi 

But I didn’t know anybody on campus anymore. I don’t know how to get in.

 

 Chris Borelli 

Oh, damn.

 

 Pamela Bardhi 

I don’t know how to get it. Because I wanted to see that so bad as I remember.

 

Chris Borelli 

I was so just like beside myself the entire time. Like I couldn’t think straight.  I never in my life would have thought that I would have ever done anything like that at that point. Obviously, it was part of the dream, you know, part of the goal was to do stuff like that or be them eventually. But you know, when it’s in front of you, it’s like, oh, my goodness, this is real. This is really happening right now. Cool. Got it? Yeah, no, I would say that that’s probably one of the earliest, you know, big highlights, for sure. And just being on a stage like that, and actually meeting them and like, you know, just feeling a chest rattle on a stage that big, like, I’ve never experienced anything like that since. In terms of performing. That’s definitely you know, one of the biggest if not the biggest one I’ve really had. But since then. Now, like when I was living in Boston for a couple of years, I had a couple of good moments, a couple of good show moments, and stuff. I did a really big show at the Sinclair. I think technically speaking, that is my biggest show to date, for sure. It was a sold-out show, I was opening for I believe it was Troy boy. They’re like a DJ out of like, somewhere in Europe or something like that. But an incredible opportunity. And something that I definitely remember to this day, I’ll never forget. Beyond that, I mean, I would say the things that are a little bit more recent. So, like last year, I did a little performance with Wyclef John at this event called Adweek in New York. And, basically, yeah, they were sourcing some instrumentalists and artists to come through and we weren’t told who the artist was going to be. And it was just like on LinkedIn. And, you know, a friend of a friend sort of got me onto it and was just like, you should submit something and see if like, you can get in there. And then I did. And then they were like, cool. So, I basically submitted for a piano. So, it was a little bit back to the roots for sure. And they had me on as the keyboardist for the show. So, Wyclef was basically hosting like a session essentially on just like creativity and stuff like that. And as part of the session, he wanted to perform two of his songs he did, Maria Maria, and I can’t forget, I can’t remember what the other one was. But it’s another super popular one, one of his most popular ones. I’m blanking. But so we had like two weeks or something like that to learn our music parts. They sourced a pianist, which was me, a guitarist, a drummer, and a singer. And we all never actually practiced together until we were on stage with him performing.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

They didn’t even, they were just like ‘surprise!’

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, we had like, five minutes of practice time, and that was a soundcheck. That was it. That’s all we had. And that’s how we wanted to do it. Which is crazy.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

But that’s, like, that’s one of the most beautiful things happen, though.

 

Chris Borelli 

Oh, for sure.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Oh, my God, I remember hearing that too. This is amazing.

 

Chris Borelli 

I was, that was another just beside myself moment. Yeah, that was crazy. And then even more recently jumped into this art, this beautiful art behind me. I just put out an EP a couple of weeks ago. It’s called lucid, and it’s something that I’m very proud of, and it’s definitely my most successful project to date. I would say, kind of by a longshot, really. And the process for creating this thing was kind of long and arduous. But we got through it. I have to shout out my homie, Kevin Theodore. He’s ex-main on Instagram, an extremely talented composer and producer, and really kind of creatively mentored me through this whole thing, as he also co-produced three of the five songs on that project. Incredible pianist keyboardist. He also produced some records for Mac Miller on his last album before he passed away, rest in peace. So, it was just an honor to be working with him and in the studio and just like putting our brains together, making stuff, creating stuff, and just making it happen. And then another homie by the name of Quasi. He’s out in South Africa. He produced the beat for the song sunshine on my EP, which is the most popular song actually on the project right now, which is amazing. And it’s you know, I consider that song, the heart of the EP, it embodies everything I wanted it to be. And, you know, sonically, specifically, everything about the EP was very vintage and, you know, vintage-sounding and vintage vibes back to what we were talking about my parents and all that stuff. It was the perfect combination of everything that I’ve sort of experienced musically, is in this project. So I would say right now, this is definitely you know, my biggest thing, my biggest moment at the moment for sure, for sure. So, check that out. Lucid. Out now. All platforms.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Give us a little sneak, snippet. Can you pull it up?

 

Chris Borelli 

Oh, snap.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I got you on the spot.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, no, if you haven’t heard it yet. It’s a vibe. Very excited about it. Oh, here we go.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Oh, yeah, I heard it. Well, I know nobody else has yet. I pray to God that they have anyone listening. If you’ve heard it before, then kudos to you. But if you have it. Let’s get it.

 

Chris Borelli 

Here we go. Here we go. Here we go.  *Plays music*

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I got to show you something. Now that you played that. That is amazing, by the way. I love it.

 

Chris Borelli 

Oh, thank you so much.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I love that vibe. I heard it when you release it. And I was like, this is dope.

 

Chris Borelli 

Thank you. I appreciate that.  Yes. Still hold on wait, wait. Guess what song I still have on my phone. Oh, no. You got to pull some out the archives.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Did you hear? *Plays music*

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah. Wow.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s still on my phone.

 

Chris Borelli 

That’s crazy. Oh, okay. It’s like the first song I ever put out like on a streaming platform. Anything that’s a song. It started something. I can’t believe you still have that.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Yeah, it’s my apple love. I jammed to it. Sometimes it’s still too.

 

Chris Borelli 

That’s so dope.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

It’s so funny, because it’s like, you’re still the same person. But obviously, you’ve evolved through the music. So, I think that that’s a beautiful thing. I mean, listening to that, what you just put like that is so refined. I don’t know how to say it. Like it’s a perfect blend of everything you’ve been talking about tonight, basically. And that’s beautiful. I love that.

 

Chris Borelli 

I thank you so much.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

I love this. What was the inspiration? Besides, we had like lucid.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, I would say that the term lucid sort of came out of nowhere for me, but just the idea of, of being so just fully aware of, of where I’m at, in terms of my message and what I want to get across or get across. I feel like I spent a long time trying to understand what my sound was, what my real message was, it’s sort of evolved over the years, but it’s definitely sort of stayed the same in a lot of ways too. There’s definitely been some common denominators in terms of just being you know, uplifting, motivational kind of stuff, but also very raw and honest and a little bit of politics in there too. A little bit of socially charged vibes, whatever. But, you know, that’s, that’s important to me. And I think that message sort of shines through in different ways on this project. At the same time, I also wanted to create something like I was saying a second ago, how it’s kind of got this vintage vibe to it. And vintage was is the term that I feel sort of carried through this entire process. I also have to shout out my homie Fernando Pino, he actually designed this incredible cover art that you’re seeing. Yeah, no, he’s the homie. He’s another creative mentor of mine and somebody who, you know, I was in a lot of talks with when I was concepting for this entire project. We were you know, concepting the entire look and feel of everything on this, from the colors to the, to the fonts to everything that, you know, came out with this rollout. And that’s the term that we kept throwing back and forth was vintage everything about this vintage from the look to the sound to the, to the everything. And that’s exactly what it was. It’s exactly what I accomplished. And, you know, obviously not without the help of the co-producers, Kevin and Quasi, but yeah, you know, collectively we all really created something that I think shines through. It’s definitely my most cohesive project, I would say. And really, yeah, just blending the worlds of old school sort of vintage vibes and chords and Sonics with the new sort of New Age, hip hop, you know, I mean, you know, the vibes.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So authentic, you know what I mean? It doesn’t sound like you hear samples being played these days. Because that’s like, what everybody’s recycling music left and right, like toy lanes, don’t even get me started. You know, now, it’s like, that just feels so raw, you know, and it feels so authentic. And it’s done in such a unique way that you feel it like, listening to that song. I was like, I was envisioning myself in like a droptop convertible and like Malibu just kind of like, yeah. So I feel it. You know, I think it’s beautiful. So, would you say that that’s your favorite piece so far?

 

Chris Borelli 

I would. Yeah, I would say that. I would say it’s definitely my favorite one. I think you know, and that was another aspect of it, too which is why that’s a great question. Because I also wanted to make sure that it had longevity, you know what I mean? That he would age nicely, because I don’t want it to just be like, I didn’t want it to be the average sort of 2020 drums, 2020 hip hop, trap vibes, whatever. I know that. That’s all the rave right now. And I’m sure I will come back to that eventually. But, you know, in terms of doing something different and doing something that has longevity, and that will stand the test of time. Something that I’ll want to listen to 10 years from now and have it still sounded good. Like, I think that was another aspect of it, too. Sunshine is probably the one song on that project that I think will last the longest because it just sounds like 1985 like you can’t or 1975 really, and that was on purpose. The rest of the songs sort of draw from that sonically. Sunshine is definitely the heart of it. It emulates the sonic vibes that I wanted to get across the most accurately, and then all the other songs around it sort of pull from that, from the chord structures and things like that. But yeah,

 

Pamela Bardhi 

That’s beautiful. What was your most challenging piece today?

 

Chris Borelli 

Hmm, my most challenging piece today? Challenging. I don’t have a whole lot of challenging pieces. But I will say the song that took me the longest piece together. That’s it. Yeah. Because I feel like every song I put together like if it became challenging, I usually just like put it away or give up on it or something, which isn’t always for the better. But sometimes it’s just, it just goes that way. But I would say yeah, I spent the most time on this. What’s it called? It’s one song called Runway. And it was a song I put together maybe like five years ago now. And I will say though, to your point, it was still kind of challenging because it was the only song I put together that I started completely, you know, freestyle in the sense of I literally sat down in front of the microphone, and I sang this melody, and I sang like these, these words. And I just repeated them over and over again and use that as the foundation to what the rest of the song was going to be. And I built the whole song. From that point. Now I feel like I have to find it. But I’m, I’m ready now. I’m ready. I’m ready for this. I spent about, I don’t know, like a month and a half piecing this one together. And I can’t say I’ve ever spent nearly that amount of time on anything, but in a lot of ways. It was sort of like a not a baptism, but it was kind of like a therapeutic kind of thing. Like I literally didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know the energy I was going for I just wanted to create like a Mona Lisa of sort. It’s just something I would mean. I mean just baby for a long time. And it was completely worth it. It was completely worth it. So, I’ll play like a little snippet of it real quick. All right, here we go. *Plays music* Yeah, it’s a lot of vocals and then it basically jumps into a really powerful drum section and just becomes sustaining. Guys, check it out. SoundCloud. It’s called Runway.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Runway.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, took like a month and a half, yo.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

A month and a half.  Wow.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, cause I would just chip away at it. You know what I mean? Like, it was completely a freestyle song, basically.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

But I feel like you’re always challenging yourself musically, though. Like, I feel you always push the limit. So I think that that’s beautiful. That’s why I asked that question. Because like, I know, like, you’re always like, Alright, let me try this. And let me try this different way of doing this. It’s like, it’s funny, because listening to that, and everything you mentioned tonight, listening to Sunshine, I feel like if you emulated like, it’s like you found your vibe.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s sort of like why, you know, that’s where it lucid, the term sort of came from is just like really sort of finding, and seeing things clearly, you know, in a way that’s like, you can’t deny it, it’s undeniably clear, or at least more clear than ever, what I’m trying to get across. And I think that’s what this project gets across. For sure.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Sure, and it’s crazy, cause you’ve been in the game like, so was it 2011 or 2012 when you started?

 

Chris Borelli 

It was 2010. Low key.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

We’ve been in this for a decade. Well, you know, it’s like, I see so many people, I want to get into music, right? And they just think they’re going to become this like, overnight successes, you know what I mean? So, and then they get disappointed when they don’t, you know? So, it’s like, what advice would you give to somebody who’s aspiring to be in the music business? Given that you’ve been in the game for so long? And you’re literally just saying, now you’re like, Alright, now I’ve got like, my full vibe. It’s like, yeah, evolving over the years, and still doing amazing things. But like, I feel like you like this is you at peace like this is what this is why I’m in the, in the music world like, boom.

 

Chris Borelli 

Yeah. Oh, man, that’s such a good question. And a great breakdown. Yeah, I would say, you know, two words are patience and persistence, for sure. And just be resilient as well, like you said, I mean, I’ve never stopped really challenging myself with everything I’ve done. And that goes for everything from how I produce to what I produce, to the sounds I use to how I roll things out to my marketing to whatever, everything I do has to be better than the last thing and, you know, 10 years in, it’s like, it’s just been a lot of besting myself. And just like doing my best, you know, I mean, it’s just been a lot of climbing, climbing, climbing and keeping myself as my main competition, which I know is kind of a cliche these days, but it really is true. And in going all the way back to, you know, how music saved my life. It’s like, that is sort of like the underlying thing too. But, you know, to answer your question, I’d say just persistence and patience, like, it’s just not going to happen overnight. And we’re in a world now, where, you know, the music, just music, in general, is very saturated, it’s really easy to put something out and blow up people who are not very talented at all or don’t have any kind of innate, like, skills are becoming extremely famous, you know, overnight, literally. And we all see that happening. And I’ve watched for over a decade now, artists after artists who either just like, I didn’t expect to get there, or I would never have thought they had the skillsets to do what they’re doing. You know, I mean, they all just kind of zoom past me and keep going. And I’m just like, I got it like, but no matter what, you just have to stay your own course, stay your own course. If you compare yourself if you try to do what other people are doing. It’s, you know, one of the best ways to lead yourself to failure, for sure. And I’ve almost fallen into traps like that. And I’m not immune to that to this day. So, but again, yeah, persistence and patience, always better yourself with everything you’re doing. And understand that it takes time. And it always will. But one day, eventually, like we’ve been saying, you know, somebody’s always watching, and you never know who’s going to call you, when they hear, hear what you’re doing, they see what you’re doing, it’s not going to be something you expect. And you know, and that’s okay, that’s the beauty of it. But as long as you just keep your head down, stay persistent, stay patient, you know, I mean, something will happen.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

Absolutely. I love that. And now for the last question to you. What would your older self tell your younger self with what you know now?

 

Chris Borelli 

Man, oh, man, that’s a good one. I feel like I’ve either been asked that before or have always had an answer in my head for that. And I can’t remember what it is. But I would say similar to what I just said, but I would say that you know, it’s not going to happen anytime soon. But don’t give up because people will see it eventually. And the journey will be a slow burn, but you just have to keep the fire lit. You know what I mean? The fire has to stay lit. No matter how dim it gets, even if it’s all the way down to a candlelight size fire like just keep it lit. Keep it lit. It’s a slow burn. But I say this in a song. It’s a slow burn, but it’ll be the hottest one, they feel it no matter what, no matter what, just keep it lit, keep it lit, always keep it lit. And it’s going to be really easy to walk away. It’s going to be really easy to feel like you’re not good enough. But that’s what happens when you compare yourself and you just have to stop and understand your greatness. And don’t let anything get in the way of that. You know?  That’s so dope. Love it. You got to tell the people where they can find you. On your Facebook, where can we find you? I know we can find you everywhere. Let us know where. you know on Instagram. I’m @chrisborelliofficial. I’m not really on Twitter that much. But I think I’m at the CRISPR rally on Twitter. I’m not really on Facebook that much. I’d say Instagram is the main jam. I’m also on all the platforms, Spotify, iTunes, whatever title what have you. I would say that’s the vibe I’m on Soundcloud as well justchrisborelli, that’s the name. If you’re looking for me just type that in Borelli and check me everywhere. We got more stuff on the way we are working on the next one already. Check out lucid. You know I mean? Peak that and let me know how you feel. But yeah, @chrisborelliofficial. That’s the vibe.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

So, I love it, Chris. thank you so, so much for being here today. blessed to have you as a guest, and can’t wait to see what you do next. Next is the Grammys. It’s going to be, you’re going to be on these ways to do all these things. And I can’t wait. We’re going to there’ll be another part two to this. So definitely.

 

Chris Borelli 

There will. There will. Oh yeah, I see it. I see it in the future. I’m going to call you as soon as it happens. Call you soon as it happens. You already know. But thank you so much for having me. Always love, Pam. Always looking out. It’s been an honor. So yeah, I’m excited.

 

Pamela Bardhi 

It’s been an honor to have you, Chris. Thank you so much.

 

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the one and only Chris Borelli!