Chris Oaks is a rapper hailing from Toronto, Canada. His music is ambient and laced with emotion. Having been influenced by a hip hop culture that glorifies drugs and violence, he has found a new passion in impacting youth culture, and he brings fresh sounds to the table that combine both singing and rapping. Oaks is signed to Connverted music label, a new hip hop label whose members consist of people who have transitioned out of criminally inclined mindsets. He has a rap duo project called “Trees & Kings” that is currently on hold in order for Oaks to release his debut solo EP, “In His Heart”. Oaks is looking forward to performing live and continuing to record in the studio.
“Garden” is the latest single by rapper Chris Oaks. The song begins by building momentum slowly before launching into the beat and first verse. The verse is rhythmic, and nicely varied with both singing and rapping interacting together. The chorus is a great hook, and is instantly memorable. The beat has a slower pace to it, showing patience in restraint in the arrangement. The synths in the background are so tasteful and could even be on something like a jazz record. The vocals themselves are well done, and the mixture of both singing and rapping give this song an edge. The narrative towards the end is a unique way to close out a song, and this adds a brilliant poetic atmosphere. There are definitely messages behind these meaningful and soulful lyrics, but they’re ambiguous enough that each listener might walk away with their own interpretation. This is very difficult to acheive, and one of the most beautiful things about music and art in general. Chris Oaks has nailed it with this single, and we’re curious to hear the rest of his EP!
Check out "Garden" here, as well as our exclusive interview with Chris Oaks below!
Take a moment to connect with Chris via the artists website and social media:
Hey Chris, thanks for catching up with us for a bit. Can you talk a little bit about your background and how you first became involved with music and writing?
I was raised in West New York, New Jersey which is where I really got introduced to hiphop. It began when My grade 4 friends and I were in the cafeteria and one of us started banging a beat on the table. We took turns rapping off the top, which eventually developed into writing freestyles. I’ve been writing ever since and professionally recorded my first song in Freshman year of high school.
As a native of Toronto, Canada, how would you describe the music scene there?
There’s a lot of great talent coming from Toronto. But there’s a lot of trap, and there’s a lot of street. I Personally have a heart for youth who have been influenced by drugs, gang violence, peer pressure. I want to be able to present the alternative.
You’re on a desert island, and you can only listen to three artists. Who are they and why?
Sade: Just the sounds, the atmosphere that her music brings out is very relaxing.
Majid Jordan: I enjoy the production. The concepts, and how it’s delivered. This Toronto duo has a lot of talent.
Cory Asbury: I gotta have my worship music, this artist inspired me to pick back up my guitar after putting it aside. Definitely got me through some hard times.
Can you talk a bit about your writing process? How do your ideas get fleshed out into fully produced songs?
I used to just write until it transformed into a song, but I’ve grown to detest the lack of focus and control that gave me. Now I always start off with establishing the purpose and message I want audiences to receive. The rest of the lyrics are informed by this purpose, so as to not deviate.
After the purpose, I normally go for the hook. When I hear the beat, I have to record myself improvising melodies. - the rest is like a game of madlibs where I now fill in the gaps and add substance to the melodies. Here,
I like to speak from experience and conversations had with others.
Finally, we get the track recorded, mixed, masted, and engineered by Decision, my producer up at Whytesound.com
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
Definitely more music with bars, more rapping.