Catch up with singer-songwriter Kris Simeon and listen to "Greyson's Song #2" off his album Kris Simeon & The Lonely Onlies, out now.
What got you interested in music and in songwriting in general?
Kris: I think, since a very young age, I kind of had music playing all around, just growing up or whatnot. I don’t know, there’s something about music that you can kind of take your whole life - it’s not like a sport where you have an x amount of time or that window where it closes - music is just something you can always do; do until you die. It’s just a really cool way to express yourself, and get your feelings out there.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
The first song I ever wrote… No, I do not, but it was probably some cheesy simple poem that I turned into a song. I was really into Blink-182 and all that stuff and I kind of set them as the standard, mostly based on their early, early stuff where it wasn’t even that great- none of their developed stuff. It was just really cheesy love/heartbreak type of songs.
What age were you when you were, as you said, writing these cheesy little poems?
I want to say maybe like 15, but even prior to that I was writing; I was always interested in making stuff rhyme in middle school and all that stuff.
Besides Blink-182, which musicians would you say you have been influenced by?
I think, definitely with all the years that have passed, it’s gone every and which route that it could. I want to say the most influential, if I had to pick one, The Beatles ‘cause, in my opinion, they’re like the greatest band of all time. I kind of got into different things like Incubus. I’ve actually recently just gotten into the older, rootsy country, before it became all like twangy R&B, like it is kind of becoming right now. The acoustics in songwriting type stuff - which really interests me - like all that Americana roots music. Jack Johnson is kind of an influence, like the whole singer-songwriter thing where he kind of performed by himself - and also with the band. Paul McCartney; Jason Mraz; Brett Dennen is a big influence. He’s one of my new guys that I’ve just found that I’m kind of really into right now. I’m kind of all over the place [laughs].
Who is in your playlist right now that you’ve got on repeat?
Brett Dennen actually, most definitely. It’s to the point where my wife kind of gets annoyed when I play him, because it’s been like so much; it’ll be like everyday, at least a couple of songs everyday. Who else…? Bruno Mars’ new album just came out, he’s kind of there in the mix; I listen to Wilco a lot; and The Lumineers, their new album.
Which words would you use to describe your sound?
I think, if anything, versatile, is probably one of the best ways to describe myself. I like just being able to do what I can, when I can, and with what I can; just being really self-sufficient and being able to fit in in any situation. I’m actually playing bass in another band, and guitar in another band, kind of just trying to take as many gigs as I can and being really flexible. I guess musically, I’m into making things pop-y, but not too pop-y, to the point where they’re just really cheesy and kind of corny. I like making people feel something if anything, kind of make people feel good, smile, or whatnot.
Could you tell me more about your new album, Kris Simeon & The Lonely Onlies, and what people can expect to hear?
These are pretty much a collection of songs that are really all about my life; they’re autobiographical. Big inspirations are my family, my wife, and my son. They’re very, I guess, pop-catchy. I don't try to be clever, ‘cause I can’t. I try to keep them short and sweet, and not too draggy. It’s really just to showcase the different styles I’m into. I think, predominantly, it’s very acoustic and sometimes I get to show some jazz influences as well as just the straight pop music. Really, just simple songs that you can kind of hear stripped down. They’re pretty stripped down as it is.
If you had to choose, which track on the album would you call your favorite?
I would have to say “Greyson's Song #2", because it’s pretty much a song about my son. To me, it’s a really important song because it’s kind of like a message to him saying to take care of himself. To share with him how important he is to me. It’s important to me ‘cause maybe, in retrospect in a few years, he’ll be able to look back at it and be like, "wow, my dad wrote this piece of music for me". There’s a lyric at the end of the song where I'm pretty much saying, "Greyson my boy, don’t you ever go away, but if you have to, it’s okay". My wife and I actually were pregnant with a boy of 6 months, we lost him, and that’s kind of my nod at it, or a nod at him to my son Greyson now, saying, like, "hey, if something does happen to you, it’d be the worst thing, but if it did, you know, we’ll get through it". Kind of along those lines, I don’t know if I’m describing it correctly [laughs].
How would you sum up your album in one sentence?
These songs are a snapshot of what’s been going on in my life and reflects what’s been happening in an x amount of time.
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
Sincerity and realness, just being genuine really. I think there’s a lot of music out there that’s really good, but it’s lacking that genuineness. Because being real, being a real song, a lot of it is masked by over production and whatnot. If anything, I just want people to take that these are songs that this guy wrote that came straight from his heart, and took a grassroots approach. I actually recorded it myself in my own home. To me, that was very meaningful to take that approach, as opposed to going into a studio and doing it like I’ve done before, so this is like my first independent attempt, I guess, like completely independent.