Downtown New York’s accomplished indie composer Chris Rael of the band Church of Betty celebrates an exhilarating debut month for innovative song posting project CHRIS RAEL 365. Between his many projects and collaborations with numerous art stars (David Byrne, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears, Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Oasis, performance artist Penny Arcade, world music chanteuse Najma, bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, Broadway star Stew, experimental composer Elliott Sharp), Rael has amassed one of the largest and most eclectic catalogs of original music in the US. Some has been widely distributed and recognized; some has barely seen the light of day.
Pondering how to share this vast array of work, Rael created a unique posting project on Facebook and Twitter offering a song a day for the entire year of 2015. 365 is off to a rousing start, garnering thousands of followers instantly. The novelty is consistent accessibility to new music delivered in an unobtrusive manner; listeners may dig in or set aside as they wish.
Few artists have created enough work to populate a project like 365. Variety is critical to continuous engagement; style and collaborators change on a daily basis. 365’s YouTube links are permanent; the daily song is offered for free download for 24 hours. Rael introduces songs in daily notes to his 5-year-old son Sasha, contextualizing experiences inspiring the songs into the arc of a lifetime.
Rael has quietly churned out singular music for decades. A multi-instrumentalist trained in India, his work ranges from rock to world to experimental to orchestral. He has been praised in the New York Times (“irresistible”), Billboard (“brilliant”), Boston Herald (“musical and cultural fusion of the first order”), Magnet (“a voice sweeter than Prince”), Creem (“achieves what George Harrison’s raga noodlings only hinted at”), Village Voice (“a rocking adventure in the canyons of your Maya”), and even Backstage (“achieves the kind of musical bliss that is currently missing on Broadway”). All Music Guide wrote, “If otherwordly rock exists, surely this is as lofty as it gets.”
Rael won Outfest Film Festival’s Soundtrack Award for the film Queer Realities and Cultural Amnesia and the New York International Fringe Festival’s Composition Award for his musical ARABY.