Christopher Worth – who performs under the moniker ‘WORTH’ – didn’t start singing until he was 20 years old. Beginning as a stage actor in college, he soon found his voice and ability as a songwriter and performer. After graduating he moved from the bay area back to his hometown of Portland, OR to pursue a career as a musician. Often resorting to busking to make a living, Worth gained most of his style playing on the street. In 2007 he formed the band NIAYH, an acronym for “Now Is All You Have.” NIAYH has since released a full length record and has toured extensively throughout the western US states. While NIAYH is often compared to a modern Pink Floyd, Worth describes his solo music as “bohemian blues hop.” It is simultaneously timeless and new, recalling contemporary influences like Ray Lamontagne, Amos Lee, and D’Angelo and classics such as Otis Redding and Paul McCartney.
The song writing is eclectic and infuses lyrical depth with memorable melodies. Worth has collaborated with Russ Liquid, Saqi, Lynx, Unkle Nancy and Marv Ellis on a variety of recordings and live performances, and he is currently based out of Portland – splitting his time between live performance and recording. His debut full length album, “Six Foot Soul,” was released in Sept. 2012 and he is currently working on a follow up record for release in summer 2013.
Website (includes videos, photos, bio, and links to all other websites)
Album can be streamed on Facebook page or website Free downloads of the first two singles are also available at both these links
1. Top three (or more) tips for new and emerging talent to stay afloat and last long term.
FOCUS ON THE ART. This is all that matters: the beauty and integrity of your statement. There is a lot of conventional industry wisdom that speaks of being your own business person with your music. I think this is a necessity now but can easily get out of hand and overshadow the product. All the business/promotion and marketing you do won’t matter if the product isn’t amazing. Make the songs/albums/live shows/ etc. incredible so that people can’t afford to miss out on the mojo. I like to think of it like building the pyramids – you will play these songs so many times and they will last after you are dead. They’d better be divine.
*As a side note, it is also useful to look at the business side as an art as well. For example: when thinking of how to market oneself, this is really a question of digging deeper into what your art is about and why it matters. The images you use to present yourself emanate from this deep understanding of who you are and what you are doing. Furthermore, they become a part of the art you are doing. At it’s best, the business is a part of your art – they become tied together. The bright side of this perspective is that it avoids a conflict of interest between the two.
COLLABORATE. Mojo grows around other mojo. Writing songs with other artists, playing collabo shows in a scene, etc. – all of these connections enhance your art, give it context, and help spread your name. If you focus on these connections and follow the musical instinct, a family and scene develop. This does more for creativity, marketing etc. than anything you could do on your own.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. One great song and great video will do more for you than many of each.
KNOW YOUR WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTH. Surround yourself with musicians who fill in the gaps. Find the best, best players who also don’t have the ego problem. Your band is a team and brotherhood so the spiritual energy is almost more essential than the chops. Find a balance between the two. At the end of the day, all the music you play on stage is really just a projection of spiritual energy … make that epicenter strong and radiant. Don’t use hired guns – bring people in that have a vested interest in the project. Make it worthwhile to everyone’s career.
FORTUNE FAVORS THE BOLD. Go big or go home. Follow your own path through the swamp that has become the music industry. It is better to be all in all the time, and to do so in a way that is fully true to yourself. You will go farther following your deepest instincts/heart than copying what worked for others or industry advice. Society worships the original, and that is you – by definition – when you are centered in your creative self.
PLAY … remember that this is play. If it doesn’t feel good should you do it? Your art forces you to reflect on your life and your life forces you to reflect on your art. Remember to keep living and enjoying to keep the creative well full – this is even more important than the long hours spent doing the busy work. Something about spiritual energy spreads between people faster and with greater depth …
2. What has been one of the toughest music related experiences you’ve faced?
I formed a band called NIAYH (an acronym for Now Is All You Have) in 2007 with 3 other guys in Portland. They quickly became my closest friends. We toured all over the US in a giant school bus turned tour bus that we built ourselves. Booked all the tours ourselves. Made two albums together. Expanded to 6 guys.
All in all we were together for 5 years. It was difficult but priceless. We learned so much about what it meant to be artists, to create a family around art.
Recently the band has come to an end (very recently) due to many things (including a woman). This band, the music and the brotherhood it represented, were deeply important to me. It was very sad to see it die.
3. How did you get through or deal with it?
This happened very, very recently actually (kind of is happening at this moment). It makes me very sad but also teaches me to let go of attachment. Sometimes the experience alone is all there is – nothing lasts forever. I am indebted to all the members of that band and our journeys together for all they taught me about life.
As I just released my first solo album my current vision is continuing on this solo path. I do much prefer the band of equals mentality, but in the absence of that I will forge ahead alone. And I’m not really alone – I find myself surrounded by lovely and very talented musicians who want to collaborate with me on my songs, so I am focusing on building a brotherhood with them that benefits us all.
Also, it is time to make another album. There is nothing like an uncomfortable time of transition through loneliness to inspire good creativity. Industry is the enemy of melancholy.
4. What did you learn?
This is kind of covered above. At the end of the band, I felt betrayed in my friendship with one member. All along our philosophy was one of the brotherhoods over the band. I still believe in this, even though at the end the failure of friendships in the brotherhood is what brought the band down. To boil it down to a couple lessons:
Don’t be attached to outcomes or other people .. keep moving forward in your creativity no matter what. Go around or through road blocks. Don’t wait on other people.
Cultivate deep awareness and care in your relationships with your band members. This creates fertile ground for creativity. If you are friends and creating beautiful music together, it almost doesn’t matter where the band goes – you are already there. I’ve noticed it is in this space that the best music is made and that the most progress results.
5. What music/entertainment related book, Blog, film or documentary would you recommend to inspire someone and why?
I don’t think anyone would call these music/entertainment books, but they have been the most useful to me in my journey:
1) Impro – a book on improv acting. Surprisingly useful knowledge for how to live life. Say yes to adventures
2) The artists way – a book on keeping your creativity flowing. Very important.
3) Krisnamurti: The beginnings of Learning – the most important spiritual philosophy of all – know thyself