One of the best new artists of 2012 is about to make some big waves in 2013. Well, he’s not exactly “new”, but for this article’s sake, you probably aren’t familiar with him… yet. His name is Chris Wallace. No, not the news reporter. The singer. iTunes hails his song and album as one of the Best of 2012, and his song, “Keep Me Crazy” is free on AmazonMP3 (United States only) as a part of an emerging artists series. Question is, who is he? What has he done? Most importantly, how are you not jamming to his songs by now?
27-year old Wallace comes from the small town of Hebron, Indiana. He became the lead singer of The White Tie Affair in 2006, the band was signed by 2007, and in April 2008, their only full-length release to date, Walk This Way, was issued on Epic Records. The first time I heard anything about the band was two months later in June, when I first saw the video for “Allow Me To Introduce Myself… Mr. Right” on the digital channel MTV Hits, which took place at a dirty masquerade ball of sorts. I was about to write it off as a Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco clone type of record, but something was really intriguing about the dance sound of it. It wasn’t the most commercial thing, but I still downloaded it, thinking it would chart. It simply remained a video single; six weeks later, it was out of my personal chart’s New & Active, and I thought that was going to be it for the boys.
A few months later, I started my freshman year of college and quickly became acquainted with the radio station on campus, where I hosted a pop music show. I was digging through a crate of CDs when I noticed a promotional CD from, who else, The White Tie Affair. It was a pressing of their album, and so, I took it back to my room and listened to it. I wasn’t overly enthused with the disc, but there were a few songs I liked, including one that I thought sounded like a cross between hellogoodbye and Boys Like Girls. I put it in my New & Active starting in October 2008, and though it never made my chart, by December, it became the band’s first song to break the CHR chart, eventually peaking in March 2009 at #22. I’m sure you know by now that it was “Candle (Sick And Tired)” that accomplished the feat. It mostly got countdown spins around here, not a lot of regular rotation, and the song quickly fell off the map after it peaked.
A little more than a year later, the band returned with a song entitled “You Look Better When I’m Drunk”, which was far more electronic and less experimental than their previous releases. It quickly made the CHR airplay chart after it was released, but it brick-walled about a month into its chart run (that, or it got pulled) and only ended up at a peak of #34 in June 2010 before vanishing into thin air. I was very surprised as it was my favorite of their three releases. No album followed it despite an opening spot on Lady Gaga‘s tour at the time, and then, things essentially went downhill for the band. That was, until this year.
Being familiar with the trade sites, there was a blind item posted back in the late spring about a new record label that was about to go public, with two music industry vets at the helm. It was around that same time that an adds date was posted for a new song by an artist who I thought I recognized the name of. So, I found a stream of the song, and, man, was I instantly hooked onto it. It was then that I realized that I had heard that voice before. It was Chris Wallace. This was another mainstream pop/dance record but even more melodically driven than “Drunk”. It was a hit, but the label that was printed next to it was a bit of head scratcher. ThinkSay Records. Never heard it. I thought it was one of those pesky small labels that only got a few small-town adds for their prospective single, then, just let it stop like it never happened. I was little bit worried, to be honest. To think that this could be Wallace’s big breakout and there was no support behind it? The horror.
Well, thankfully, I was wrong. “Remember When (Push Rewind)” debuted in the New & Active on my chart dated June 3, 2012, and he became the first act to be promoted by that new label, ThinkSay, officially launched on July 1, with Ben Singer and Brad Davidson leading the charge. Wallace’s record first appeared on Mediabase’s CHR chart on August 12, 2012 when it entered at #49. It climbed into the top 40 within the next two weeks and has essentially been there ever since. Though it hasn’t climbed higher than #32 during any given day, and hasn’t gained more than roughly 130 spins more in any given week, it has managed to spend 18 weeks in the top 50, which is huge for a new label on the block. I should also mention as I’m writing this that Z100, the biggest CHR station in New York City, has just added the song this week, which means that Wallace’s record and ThinkSay should be looking pretty good into 2013. It’s certainly been a long time coming. Just when I thought it was about to get pulled, the song’s doing bigger things than I ever thought it would. As for my personal chart, it peaked at #4 back in August and September. Be sure to look out for it on my year-end chart in a few weeks.
As for a next single from the album, I’m hoping for either “Keep Me Crazy” or “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”. The latter could be even bigger than “Rewind”. In fact, his album, Push Rewind, is chock full of hits. It’s just that commercial and Wallace is completely in his element. It rocks. It’s available for download on your regular digital services like AmazonMP3 and iTunes. It’s very much in tune with today’s pop scene, which will keep it going for a while. While dance-oriented, there are some slower songs and a nice acoustic mix of “Crazy” that’ll keep you satisfied.
Once the single gets on the air in more big markets, the television appearances will roll in and Wallace will certainly be prepared for it. He’s road tested and ready to electrorock ‘n’ roll for the big crowds, which he’s doing right now at a few regional holiday concerts for radio stations. Most importantly, I’m glad that he’s getting a second chance to show his stuff, and Davidson and Singer definitely know what they’re doing with him in terms of a roll-out plan. Push rewind for now. Then, push fast forward. Wallace is racing full speed ahead and you’ll “remember when” he was just starting out on his road to a hugely successful career. –AFS