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The American

Christopher Cross Secret Ladder, the new album, is his most personal yet

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PHOTO ©SANDRINE LEE

hristopher Cross could be said to be the original Lone Star. Born in San Antonio, Texas on May 3rd, 1951, he then lived in Austin. His military doctor father’s job took the family to Tokyo, Washington DC and elsewhere and after 35 years in LA, he’s back in the Lone Star State, in Austin to be near his son Rain. “There’s a lot of music here, but it’s different to my kind of music,” he says. “I’m pretty much a homebody, I work in the studio when I’m not on

34 November 2014

the road doing 60 to 70 dates a year.” The multi-talented musician’s eponymous debut album won five Grammys including an unprecedented ‘big four’: Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Record of the Year and Song of the Year (both for ‘Sailing’). Was that scary? “I’d been doing music since the age of ten in clubs and bars, playing covers, writing my own stuff and trying to get something going with record companies. I hoped to sell

enough records to keep me on the label, maybe eventually have a single played on the radio. Certainly nothing like what happened. But it wasn’t scary, more overwhelming to suddenly be a major touring act. But this business is so elusive, I’ll take it how I can get it! I certainly feel blessed.” Cross has had success as a singer, songwriter, musician, producer, and soundtrack composer. Writing is the bedrock, segueing into production of his records. “Singing is a natural part of the process, and playing live is an extension of it, but if I had to pick one, the most satisfying part is songwriting,” he says. ‘Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)’, the Best Original Song Oscar winner in 1981, was written with Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen. Does the ‘homebody’ enjoy collaborating? “I also wrote ‘A Chance For Heaven’ with Burt for the 1984 US Olympics, and I do a lot with my writing partner Rob Meurer - I’ve known him since I was 16. But in general I’m a pretty solitary writer.” Christopher is generous to his co-workers though. On his website he credits all the musicians he works with - as well as all the equipment used. Is he an easy going boss in the creative process? “I think so. I’m obsessive about the level of quality in the studio, I grew up in an era of record-making in LA, in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, with people like Steely Dan making those polished records. I’m very particular about the sound of my records, but I’m pretty easy-

The American November 2014 Issue 738  

The American has been published for Americans in Britain since 1976. It's also for Brits who like American culture.

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