LA-based musician Chris Wallace came upon the scene back in 2008 when his band, The White Tie Affair, released their album with Epic Records. After being featured on the popular MTV show, The Hills, their star began to quickly rise. A tour with Lady Gaga, summer on the Vans Warped Tour, multiple headlining shows, and a top 20 radio single
“Candle (Sick and Tired)” all helped clench the band’s official race to stardom.
“The first few years of The White Tie Affair was a whirlwind. I was probably on the road 300 days of the year. Waking up in LA for promo and then catching a red eye to Atlanta for another tour stop. It was contained chaos but also a lot of fun.”
By 2010, The White Tie Affair began writing a second album but management changes within Epic sidelined the band until they were released from their contract.
“That was the first time I really got a good look into the inner workings of labels and contracts. To everyone, my band was super successful, but in reality after everyone took their share, I was left with virtually pennies, and had to move back in with my parents. Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for everyone who worked that campaign. The band accomplished a lot of things that no one thought we would do.”
Chris spent the next year getting acclimated to life outside of the industry when a chance encounter introduced him to a new manager who had passion and a work ethic that paralleled Chris’.
“I ended up moving in with my buddy in San Diego and met a manager who only had one artist on his roster. I showed him some of the songs I was working on, and he loved them. He stoked the fire and insisted I put out a solo album.”
Chris ended up signing a record deal with a start-up indie label and once again, had a big radio hit with his single “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.
“I thought that if I went with a smaller label, I could finally have more control over what happens with my career. It was all smooth sailing for about two years, but then it all came crashing down again.”
Issues within the label put Chris’ project on a complete standstill. Frustrated, he parted ways with his manager, and after a long battle, eventually was released from his label contract.
“During my fight with the label, I was literally in musician jail. I couldn’t release any music. My career was on a complete standstill and my bank account was literally at $10. You don’t even want to know how much of my gear I ended up selling on Craigslist just to pay rent.”
“Two really good things came from those experiences though. I spent a year doing nothing but learning Logic and how to produce my own music; which led to me signing a writing/publishing deal with Pulse Music Group in 2016. The other thing was that I now know a lot about the archaic inner workings of the music industry.”
Over the past four years, Chris has made quite the name for himself in the writer/producer world teaming up with Matt Radosevich as the “Young Skeptics” and working on songs for artists like Meghan Trainor, Flo Rida, Sheppard, The Vamps, latin artists including Sebastian Yatra and Reik, and TV shows including XFactor UK and America’s Got Talent.
“Writing for others has been a great job… but it definitely feels like a 9-5 job that never ends. And I don’t find much joy in the endless grind of the pitch and writing game. I had a pretty life-changing 2019. I spent four months working out of the country, my wife got pregnant with our first child, and my father unexpectedly passed away. Then here comes 2020, my daughter is born and a pandemic hits. Like come on, I can’t catch a break.”
So this year, even before the pandemic hit, Chris made the decision to step away from writing music for others and focus one last time on his solo career. He says the change has made a big improvement on his mental and emotional health.
“My wife knows how much I have been missing performing. After my dad died, I wrote a song that I played at his funeral. She has been encouraging me to put it out ever since. So it’s almost like she re-lit the passion to sing my own music and for the first time, in what seems like forever, I’m genuinely happy.”
Chris’ new shot at the music industry, his third time, may truly be “a charm.” – And he’s doing it on his own terms. No management, no label, but a 100% family affair.
“I’ve released six songs since the end of May. I write and produce the songs 100% myself in my basement studio. My wife helps come up with the album artwork, merchandise, and edits any video components, including the one which sparked my recent TikTok success.”
At the end of August, Chris released “Daydreaming” and uploaded a quick edited, 50 second “MTV style” video on TikTok about him and his career thus far. A re-introduction, you could say. It’s become an immediate hit helping Chris find old fans and gain new ones.
Third time’s a charm?♬ Daydreaming – Chris Wallace
“It’s going viral. I mean, in one week that video’s been viewed over 1.3 million times and my song’s been streamed on Spotify over 60 thousand times. It’s unreal. To put it in perspective, all my other releases got about two thousand streams in one week. TikTok is one of the only places where you can have this organic reach into the unknown. This all feels a lot like the early Myspace days — which, ironically, is where The White Tie Affair was discovered.”
Chris admits that eventually #teamwallace won’t be able to keep up with everything if his songs keep growing at this pace.
“I feel like the industry is at a point now where you don’t need a label or huge team behind you to make an impact. Eventually, I’ll probably end up signing another deal, but only if one comes along that caters to me. No more giving others complete control of how my life turns out. Until then, it’s just me, my wife, and our little girl.”
Music Industry Weekly will continue to follow Chris Wallace and his continued success as a producer, songwriter, artist, and devoted family man.