Chris is a "boomer" and proud of it. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico -- when Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of these United States -- to a music-teaching mother and a librarian-turned-politician father.
Growing up in Brooklyn, NY, Chris Owens and his two brothers, Geoffrey and Mitty, could have been a folk or classical ensemble. Each brother played a stringed instrument, percussion and sang. But they also liked to rock ... and pop ... and funk. So, Geoffrey learned guitar (but still plays viola) , Chris traded in the piano, clarinet and cello for an electronic keyboard (but still plays recorders), violinist Millard focused on percussion – and, to start with, they all embraced the Jackson 5 and The Beatles!
During college, Chris focused on cover tunes with a dance band, Rhythm Company. After graduating in 1982, however, he started writing songs and performing solo and as a duo with Geoffrey. Back then, the streets of New York City were full of musicians sharing their talents in the open air … and with an open guitar case to accept your coins and bills.
In 1984, Chris Owens released his album-length compilation of songs, Anyone’s Revolution, which featured cameo roles for his brothers. AR harnessed Chris' frustration with the policies of the Reagan years. Shortly after AR’s release, Chris joined the People’s Music Network for Songs of Freedom & Struggle and was encouraged to continue his “political” songwriting by family friend Pete Seeger, among others. Pete also introduced Chris to singer-songwriter Judy Gorman, and they went on to co-lead the band Midnight Landing. Their performances took place at cultural and political events, including an opening slot for Richie Havens at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. Today, Chris remains an active PMN member.
Chris has performed solo, with his own bands, and with other singer-songwriters and choruses. Chris formed OBB - The Owens Brothers Band in 2014, following the deaths within three months of his father, Congressman Major Owens (D-Brooklyn, NY), South African President and freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, and the one and only Pete Seeger. OBB made its debut during "SeegerFest" at several venues, including Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park (NY).
Today, COVID-19 has created a new world, for better or for worse. Having lost his wife of 28 years to cancer in 2019, Chris decided that COVID needed to create new lives, not just terrorize and take lives. Furthermore, now that the internet rules the arts, it was clear that there are too many performers named "Chris Owens”!
Thus, Chris Oledude has been born. With the recording and release of "My Tower," Chris Oledude starts a new chapter in his life with an "old school" blend of blues, gospel, R&B, rock ... and Broadway. "My Tower" is a catchy condemnation of COVID-19 and is supported by a fun, low-budget video.
Throughout the years, Chris Oledude's music has blended original melodies and rhythms with hot solos, harmonies and topical lyrics to create powerful and memorable songs. Songs like “Man O’War,” “If A Woman Had Made The World”, and “Love Is The Way” are compelling and danceable social statements, while "Black-Eyed Susan" is a ballad like no other.
Chris Oledude will be releasing songs throughout 2020 and beyond. Sit back and relax, or get up and dance. Just like back in the day,this music does it all and you can do it all with music by Chris Oledude. Enjoy!
Chris Oledude's musical influences include Bach, Beethoven, The Beatles, Elton John, Jethro Tull, Prince, all of Motown, Earth Wind & Fire, Kansas, Phil Collins, Parliament Funkadelic, The Ohio Players, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...
Chris Oledude's first piano lessons were on an Acrosonic upright piano bought for his mother, Ethel, by his grandmother, Lena, when Ethel was 16 years of age. That was back in ...
Chris Oledude attended his first real "rock concert" at the old Boston Garden in 1977 and saw Chicago. Prior to that, the biggest concert he had attended was an early Clearwater Festival near Poughkeepsie, NY. There he first heard Arlo Guthrie perform “Alice's Restaurant”.
As a high school student, Chris Oledude performed at Carnegie Hall, singing baritone with the St. Cecelia Chorus. He also played at Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center) as a cellist with the All-City Orchestra.
Which Beatle is Chris’ favorite? Who inspired Chris to start seriously playing music “by ear”? What instrument does Chris love, but could not learn to play? Who is Chris’ favorite jazz vocalist? In what city did Chris make his debut as a rapper performing with tracks? What is Chris’ favorite musical production?