In our latest exclusive interview with one of our 2020 Artists to Watch, Chris Bandi, he chats about releasing an EP in the middle of a pandemic, how his new single “Would Have Loved Her” has touched fans across the country, and working with fellow St. Louis native, Nelly. Read the full interview below.
March 11th, 2020 was the last time we saw Chris Bandi, which also happened to be the very last show we attended before the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After our Swag Session in New York City, Bandi played a show with Ray Fulcher and Matt Stell on the Everywhere But On Tour at Gramercy Theatre. Fans who were lucky enough to be in attendance that night got to hear some brand new music from the rising artist before anyone else.
Just moments after stepping off stage, Bandi, his band, and the rest of the venue were basically coming to the realization that things would be quite different at least for the foreseeable future as restrictions were put in place and all events going forward were canceled. Like so many other artists, he took to social media to continue to connect with fans and get his music out there. Performing on Facebook and Instagram Lives, he previewed his new music and watched as it began to strike a chord with fans.
“Music is one of those things where you can put your favorite album on and for 45 minutes you don’t have to think about anything other than that music,” he tells us in our recent interview. “You don’t have to worry about the world going on around you, the lack of the world going on around you, it was such a great escape for people.” His EP was originally slated for release in the summer of 2020, but since it was already written and recorded before the pandemic, Bandi, his label, and management team decided to bump up the release to May. Read our full review of his self titled debut here.
With the world on pause, fans were able to really connect differently and listen more intently to the music that was being released, something that was particularly true about Bandi’s next radio single, “Would Have Loved Her”. He tells us that the process of writing this song was important to him, and he knew it needed time and delicate songwriting to convey the emotions he felt. He sat down with Zach Kale one day in a write and brought the title to him, explaining that his grandfather had passed away just six months before he met his girlfriend. Kale shared that his father had passed away before he had met his wife and the connection to the story was solidified. “He and I just started sharing stories about his dad, my grandpa, my girlfriend, and his wife, and it was therapeutic. To air it out and talk about it, have someone who understands,” he tells us.
He sent the demo to his team and they immediately knew it had to be included on his project. Since its release, “Would Have Loved Her” has resonated with so many fans who have lost loved ones and Bandi explains how that has made the song mean that much more. “To see and read the stories, people sharing pictures of that person that meant so much to them, telling us their story. It’s been amazing and as a songwriter, it’s really all you can ask for, people are hearing your song and they are touched by it. “
One thing we were excited to discuss was the fact that Bandi recently had the opportunity to write with hip-hop superstar and country crossover extraordinaire, Nelly. Nelly announced that he will be releasing a “country-influenced” project, Heartland this year and as a fellow St. Louis native, Bandi being able to work professionally with someone who has inspired him for so many years was a dream come true. “It was a full-circle moment for me. Growing up in St. Louis, he was our guy, we had Nelly. Everybody idolized him. People would joke when I was in college and told them I was from St. Louis, they would always ask “Do you know Nelly?” and it’s kind of crazy because now I Do!” he laughs.
The reception from his self-titled EP has been incredible and with “Would Have Loved Her” heading to country radio, Chris Bandi is looking ahead to a better 2021 where he can finally get back to playing shows and meeting fans. “I can not wait to play shows. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years of my life, playing shows and getting out and traveling to the shows, meeting people and last year was just ripped away from us.” We couldn’t agree more that it is something we all can’t wait to go back to normal and we are looking forward to watching his career blossom even more.
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Chris Bandi EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music.