Chris Birkett is an award winning music producer, singer/songwriter, sound engineer and performer.
Collaborations with mega-talents like Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sinead O’Connor, The Talking Heads, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bob Geldof, and Quincy Jones have sold over 100 million dollars worth of music, earning a Polaris Music Prize, a Juno Award, three Juno nominations, and three AMPEX Golden Reel Awards for excellence in the music business.
“Chris Birkett is electric! His powerful, soulful voice is both raspy and smooth at the same time; with a sound that is reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart, and Joe Cocker; but with a rawness and a realism that is uniquely his own.” – Julia Balay
Music has always been his passion. Chris built his first guitar at 8 years old. By age 14, he was playing regularly in London clubs.
London was Music City in those days. Genesis, The Beatles and The Stones were local heroes.
Chris travelled a musical path, and in the beginning, like many musicians, he wound up homeless, sleeping on the mean streets for a while. But that didn’t keep him from playing beautiful music on London stages for enthusiastic audiences, which often included other musicians, like Lennon and McCartney, and jamming with Eric Clapton.
At 21, a band called Montana Red Dog heard of Chris’s reputation as an excellent guitarist, and invited him to join them in Germany for an eighteen month tour.
This crossroad was the beginning of a new musical odyssey, leading him into collaborations with Memphis soul artists, Ann Peebles, Jean Knight Rufus Thomas and King Floyd.
He returned to London two years later, to join the pop group Love Affair whose song “Everlasting Love” was a hit for many months in UK charts.
A couple of years later, he joined a group called Omaha Sheriff, which had just signed a major contract with Tony Visconti, Manager of Good Earth Records, and music producer for David Bowie, The Moody Blues, Marc Bolan and T-Rex..
Tony Visconti introduced Chris to the world of music production, arranging music, and sound engineering.
Before long, Chris was recognized as a talented producer on his own, and the phones started ringing.
In 1993, he moved to France, and opened a recording studio in Bordeaux. There he collaborated with some outstanding music world artists; and also returned to the stage to promote his first album “Men from the Sky”.
A song from that album, “Where do we go from here” was included in the humanitarian album “One Voice, One Love” on Polygram records.
In 2009, he recorded his second album “Freedom” featuring Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tony Visconti, Marc Berthoumieux and André Ceccarelli.
Over time, Chris produced four albums for Canadian artist Buffy Sainte-Marie, including her Juno award-winning album “Running for the Drum” in 2009, and ‘Power In The Blood’, which was a winner of the Polaris Music prize for best Canadian album in 2015.
Buffy and Chris were two of the first international artists to use the new technique of producing music long distance, by sending digital files back and forth between France and Hawaii.
In 2012, Chris moved to Canada, opening a recording studio in Toronto and producing his third album “Be Creative” featuring performances from legendary Canadian artists like Rick Emmett (Triumph) and Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo).
Chris is continually working on new projects, like the Age of Awakening musical stage show, and the latest album from his band The Free Spirits. He’s also forever gigging. You might see him onstage some night, and he’ll treat you to a lifetime of music.
Or you can attend a Chris Birkett Music Production Workshop, where Chris shares his knowledge of music technology, along with stories about the never-ending search for perfect sound.
As one music production student said, “It’s like watching a master at work, while he explains what he’s doing. Being able to hear the process through Chris Birkett’s ears was one of the best experiences I ever had during a recording workshop. Chris is very thorough and patient in explaining the process and technical words we might not know.” – Leonie (production student)
Here are some CAREER HIGHLIGHTS and ALBUM COVERS
HOMELESS written and produced by Chris Birkett. Video Produced and Conceived by Jorge Uzon
Brent Jensen interviews Chris Birkett on his musical journey from homeless to having his name on 100 million worth of records sold. Click on the links below to hear the songs talked about in this Podcast.
OMAHA SHERIFF – YOU GIVE ME LOVE
SINEAD O’CONNOR – Nothing Compares 2 U
MEL BROOKS- The Hitler Rap
Buffy’s video of a song from the new album, THE WAR RACKET.
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – Star Walker from Medicine Songs Album