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Interview with Christopher Durning|
by Chris Weaver
Hello to the readers of the Saint John High School E-Mail Newsletter. Chris Weaver here, giving you the latest in entertainment news. Didnít that sound cheesy? Oh well, itís the truth.
If you attend Saint John High (which Iím sure you do), you know who Christopher Durning is. And you probably know that heís a singer/songwriter. And what you may not know is that on the weekend of June 21st & 22nd, Mr. Durningís song was aired on the radio.
"... I write about love because it's what I feel and need..."
I conducted the proceeding interview originally to give my father (K100ís Bruce Weaver) information for his introduction of our pal Chris. Then I said to myself, ĎIf Iím conducting an interview, why not show it to the school?í So then the thought of the e-mail newsletter came up and I said what the heck, Iíll send this thing over to Paul. And here it is.
Chris Weaver: First of all, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Christopher Durning: I'm 18 years old, and a graduating student at Saint John High School. I've lived in Saint John since I was 6 years old. I love the city and the people. I write about love because it's what I feel and need, and let's face it, if I was thirsty I'd sing about water. I get a lot of support from my family and friends musically, and am very blessed to attend a school with so much musical talent to draw from. As I leave for Halifax next year, I leave behind family and friends and a wonderful city. Saint John has been kind to me, yet unfortunately not providing. No matter where I go in life my heart will always be here in Saint John. I am vice president of Saint John High School's SRC. I played the role of Javert in the recent musical presentation of Les Miserables. I have been actively involved in SJHS for years, I love being onstage and keeping busy. I have done Shakespeare in my grade nine year, and returned in my graduating year to enjoy it once again. I have held leading roles in all four musicals of my high school career. This summer you can find me working at SJHS as a counselor/enrichment teacher for the Theatre Enrichment Camp Directed by Michelle Hooton. It's open to children ages 7-16. So that's me in a nutshell.
CW: So how exactly did you get started playing and singing?
CD: I began singing when I was 7 years old. I've trained classically my whole life and about 4 years ago began to branch out into various genres. About 2 years ago I began to teach myself guitar. I needed something to accompany my singing and I couldn't carry a piano on my back, so it was an obvious choice. Plus I loved writing music but I needed to be able to play what I wrote. I began writing seriously last summer, with the series of songs that Souls and Ghosts is from, called "SONGS, STORIES, POEMS, AND DREAMS". They're a concept album based upon 3 dreams I had last summer. The story is of love and is very sad and beautiful.
CW: As we can tell from Souls and Ghosts. Now, what is your musical history? Bands, Choirs, Musicals?
CD: Well, I began singing in the Rotary Boys Choir when I was 7 and after a couple of years I began to study privately with Kevin Langford. When I hit grade nine I met some good friends, some of which will be playing on the album, who got me into MANY different styles. My first band was a worship band. That was kind of like my gateway band. From that band I have gone into many different bands of eclectic genres, most of which I just formed to jam with or just to have fun for one show. But I find I can't work really well within a band unless it's a group that really sees my vision for my songs, and so once I began to get better at guitar, I decided to try doing things solo. I find it a shame though, because I LOVE playing live, and as much as I like recording, there's nowhere to play when you're 18 years old in SJ. Next year I'm off to Halifax to study Voice at Dalhousie University on scholarship. I haven't done any bands this year but I'm looking forward to doing some next year in university. I like a good mix, and I'd ideally like a Big band or swing band, a blues-rock band, a rock band, and an acoustic jam band. Not necessarily to perform with all the time, but just friends to jam with to whet my musical appetite
"... I find I can't work really well within a band unless it's a group that really sees my vision for my songs..."
CW: You mentioned that a few of your friends play with you on this album. Which ones are they?
CD: Well I'll be having Matt Higgins playing guitar for and co-producing with me, Nick Lavigne will be featured on bass for some songs, and other musicians from around town will be helping as well, but it's hard to find the right ones, because you need to find someone who can understand my music and do what it is I want them to do. All too often I've found my intentions lost in a song by someone else performing it
CW: Who would you say has inspired you, musically?
CD: That's tough. I take inspiration from so many artists. Hawksley Workman, Leonard Cohen, Dave Matthews, thereís a lot more. One more.... THE BEATLES! Huge influence. Right now in my CD player is Jason Mraz, The White Stripes, Billy Joel, Phish and Hawksley Workman. My heart is in classical music, but when I write pop music I put classical elements back into it. Too many people associate "POP" with bubblegum pop. People forget that "POP" music is just music for the masses. Doesn't mean it can't be weighty subject matter. Or intelligently written. I take a lot of criticism for writing pop music, but I really like playing live, for people, and by writing music that more people want to hear, it draws more. I employ a lot of my classical knowledge and love of blues and jazz in all of my music. I like to think that it's a refreshing sound.
CW: And do you have any closing words for us?
CD: My music is intended to be music you listen to when you're in love or just generally want love.
CW: Thanks for the interview.
CD: No problem.