Accomplished singer/songwriter, dynamic multi-instrumentalist, compelling vocalist, unforgettable entertainer –Chris Janson has received all of these accolades after only a few years in the business. With a loyal and growing fan base and an impressive list of collaborators, Chris’s humility, work ethic and authenticity remain prevailing qualities – even for a man who’s garnered such shining critical acclaim.
The Perryville, Missouri native was raised on an influential mix of Garth Brooks and Guns ‘N Roses. He started playing the drums at age 10 and began performing for audiences at 11. His first gig was at the local VFW hall, where he accompanied his father's friends on guitar, drums and bass, all self-taught talents. At age 18, Janson followed his gut and left for Nashville, forfeiting the college scholarship he’d been offered.
After just a few hours in town, Janson got right to work, looking for a gig at legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville's famed Lower Broadway. Not discouraged by an initial turndown, Janson begged for a second chance. At 18, he wasn’t legally allowed to set foot in a bar, but his persistence convinced the bouncer to literally lift him onstage – so his feet would never technically be on the floor of the bar – to play a couple of songs for the crowd. After just one song, Janson had booked a year-long, four-show-a-day, seven-day-a-week job that kicked off his career with strong footing.
Virtually overnight, Janson became the talk of the Nashville music scene. Residents and tourists regularly packed Tootsie’s to take in his high-energy and soulful performances of country and rock covers and his natural ability to captivate a room and own the audience just as his idols before him, a compelling and charismatic group of country and rock greats that range from David Alan Coe to the Ramones.
His audience quickly grew to include musical greats, and Janson gained the attention of Neil Young, who heard Janson performing Young's own “Cortez The Killer” while passing by the bar. Young and director Jonathan Demme offered Janson a part in the Young biopic, Heart of Gold, and on Janson’s last night at Tootsie’s, at what resembled an informal summit of Music Row’s finest, Janson was offered publishing, management and record deals from every major label on Music Row. He spent the next two years as the only act on tour with legends Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr.
An accomplished songwriter, Janson was just 18 when he began collaborating with an impressive group of musicians. "I've penned songs with a wide variety of people, from Guns N’ Roses in the rock world, to some of the greatest writers in country music like Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock,” Janson says. “I write songs just because I have something to say and I just recently began focusing on it and have honed into songwriting as a profession. Thankfully, that’s paid off.”
In 2010, Janson released the fast-paced, well-received single, “’Til A Woman Comes Along,” on Sony/BNA Records. The hit was the most added country single for four weeks in a row, but Sony pulled it from radio after just a few weeks. Disillusioned with the business and frustrated with his career, Janson made the decision to ask off his record deal. Determined to make a fresh start, he sold most of his guitar collection, began making other plans and tuned into writing songs. That’s when Janson met Bigger Picture Group Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, legendary producer and songwriter, Keith Stegall, who encouraged him to stay true to himself. “I had given up on the music business and then I met Keith,” says Janson, “and we just hit it off. He approached me about liking my music and what I was doing with it and something just clicked. He really motivated me to move forward.”
Janson was signed to Bigger Picture Group in early 2012 and is currently at work on his first full-length album with the company. Janson is a star years in the making, and the Bigger Picture Group family is thrilled to welcome him. The can’t-miss performer and talented musician with an unmistakably country sound that’s all his own, has finally found a home in the spotlight and is ready to step back onstage and into the hearts of fans everywhere.
These days, Janson's life is full and fulfilling. In addition to his musical endeavors, he supports his passion for hunting by being a spokesperson for ScentBlocker and Mossy Oak. Most importantly, he's committed to family life and cites his wife and children as his biggest writing influences. Janson and Kelly Lynn were married on the Fourth of July in 2010, and have a daughter, Georgia, together. Janson also has two step-children, Graham and Chel, whom he “loves as if they were my own.” “Everything positive in my life is because of my faith in the Lord and the fact that my wife is my best friend. She is the most major strongpoint in my life. I am so blessed.”